Few people would consider 2022 a bad year for movies. It might not stand tall as one of the greatest in recent memory, but it certainly delivered in a lot of areas. That being said, there will always be disappointments when you’re a movie fan. It’s easy to get excited about the latest blockbusters or the next big Oscar contender, and as a result, not everything is always going to fall into place.
This article will discuss the ten most disappointing movies of the year. Instead of focusing solely on big blockbusters, we’re going to look at a wide array of movies. Anything that had solid potential is fair game.
As always, if a movie didn’t show much promise to begin with, it will be excluded from this list. Morbius, for example, never seemed destined for greatness, so its low quality was hardly surprising. While there is definitely going to be variance when it comes to just how disappointing each film on this list is, the entries have nevertheless earned their spots.
Over sixty years after her death, Marilyn Monroe continues to be one of the most fascinating celebrities. Her ups and downs have been documented by countless people, leading to a staggering number of works about her. Some of these works, like My Week with Marilyn, provide a sensitive, introspective look into the pop culture icon’s life. Andrew Dominik’s Blonde does no such thing.
Blonde is a misguided, exploitative insult to Monroe’s legacy. Even if we accept the fact that it’s a heavily fictionalized account of her life, it still comes off as an insulting mess of a movie. There isn’t a nice way to say it; Blonde is irredeemable.
For one, it paints Monroe as a battered, emotionally unstable ditz, but that’s not enough. It delights in showing her going through hell for nearly three hours. This version of Monroe is beaten, raped, emotionally manipulated, and basically everything else under the sun. The utter lack of subtlety means that audiences have to watch it all unfold in the most melodramatic way possible. It’s not a sensitive portrait of one of the world’s most influential figures; it’s a shameless, borderline misogynist, slice of torture porn.
Even if this was about a fictional character, it still wouldn’t be worth watching. It’s not fun to watch someone get abused on-and-off for multiple hours. It’s even less fun when the screenplay fails to say anything substantial.
A lot of films on this list are okay to sit through during a rainy afternoon. They’re not great movies, but they’re technically fine. Blonde, on the other hand, should be avoided at all costs. It’s an insipid, amateurish piece of filmmaking that should be buried alongside the worst Netflix original films.
2. Empire of Light
Early Oscar predictions labeled Empire of Light a potential Best Picture contender prior to its release, and it’s easy to see why. Mendes’s last film, 1917, picked up ten Oscar nominations, including Best Picture. On top of that, Olivia Colman has consistently found a way to be the secret ingredient to Oscar success. When you factor in big names like Roger Deakins and Trent Reznor, it’s no wonder why so many people assumed Empire of Light would be such a knock-out.
Unfortunately, Mendes is not as good of a writer as he is a director. Empire of Light looks and sounds great, but it’s a muddled assortment of ideas that rarely develop into anything meaningful. There’s simply too much going on in this half-hearted period drama, and because Mendes fails to adequately address anything fully, viewers never have the opportunity to dig deeper.
It’s a romance movie. It’s a meditation on race relations. It’s a movie about movies. It’s a lot of things, and that’s its ultimate downfall. Maybe Empire of Light would have worked as a miniseries, but as a sub-two-hour movie, it’s frustratingly unfocused. Academy Award voters seem to agree, as it only managed to garner one measly nomination.
3. Thor: Love & Thunder
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is at its best when it brings on directors with clear, creative visions. That explains why Thor: The Dark World and Thor: Ragnarok received such wildly different reviews. Thor: The Dark World was a generic fantasy flick with a forgettable villain, while Thor: Ragnarok was an idiosyncratic action-comedy with likable characters and distinct visuals. Taika Watiti managed to bring his signature style to the MCU, and he gave viewers one of the best films in the massive franchise.
Thor: Love & Thunder is an anomaly. Watiti may remain in the director’s chair, but the film still lacks the magic of better Marvel movies. Although it has Watiti’s quick-witted humor and quirky characters, the storytelling is sorely lacking.
The MCU has always had a villain problem, and unfortunately, Love & Thunder continues that. As great as Bale can be, his appearance as Gorr the God Butcher feels like a total waste. The audience gets so little time to care about the character that the epic climax ultimately feels like a waste. When you consider the fact that nearly everything else is just as underdeveloped, you begin to wonder if Marvel is losing its touch.
Controversy aside, David O. Russell has proven to be an incredibly competent director throughout the years. His ability to get game-changing performances out of talented actors shouldn’t go unnoticed. It has, after all, resulted in a plethora of Oscar nominated roles.
At the same time, the director has always had issues when it comes to telling streamlined stories. American Hustle may have featured a stellar cast, but it also featured an overstuffed narrative filled with far too many tangled webs. It proved to be a worthwhile crime movie, but its lack of focus didn’t go unnoticed.
Amsterdam, David O. Russell’s first feature length film in seven years, features everything that makes the director’s work divisive. As always, you’ll find an A-list cast, but alongside that A-list cast is miserably zigzaggy writing featuring unlikable, borderline cartoonish characters. The cast tries to make an impact, but with such a sloppy screenplay, they’re fighting an uphill battle.
It’s hard to figure out who Amsterdam is supposed to appeal to. Even O. Russell’s defenders will have a hard time finding anything worthwhile. It’s not offensively terrible, but it’s overloaded with wasted potential.
5. Jurassic World: Dominion
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom may have earned tepid, if not outright negative, reviews, but that didn’t stop the enthusiasm for the latest entry in the series. As always fans of the franchise wanted to dub Fallen Kingdom a fluke, but unfortunately, Dominion is about as worthwhile as the previous film. Sure, it may reunite Colin Trevorrow and an all-star cast, but it’s still an overstuffed, unoriginal summer blockbuster.
Beyond the fact that certain plot points just don’t make sense, the most recent entry in the Jurassic World series suffers because it’s so uninspired and vapid. The characters behave like robots, the storytelling mindlessly checks off checkmarks, and the massive setpieces fail to stand out. The magic is gone, and hopefully a hiatus will allow this franchise to recover.