Every Major Superhero Movie Of 2022, Ranked

For years now, there's been consistent chatter about whether audiences are experiencing superhero fatigue. Never has that been more relevant than over the past couple of years, when Marvel Studios began inundating us with superhero TV shows on Disney+ that continue to expand the canon of the Marvel Cinematic Universe alongside the three or four big-screen endeavors hitting theaters each year. Meanwhile, on the DC Comics side of things, fans have grown tired of the rigamarole being played with the continuity of the DC Extended Universe, whether in the form of cries to restore the Snyderverse and release "Zack Snyder's Justice League," or demands to move away from an interconnected universe and embrace the darkness of Todd Phillips' "Joker" with movies that aren't trying to follow in the footsteps of Marvel.

In the end, what matters is that we're getting good cinematic stories from the pages of Marvel Comics and DC Comics, and maybe even stories that don't come from the pages of comic books at all. This year brought an interesting assembly of superhero fare to the big screen and streaming services, and if ever there was a year to make a case for superhero movies losing steam, this might be it. More often than not, superhero movies came up short, but there was still greatness to be found, especially when it comes to Marvel and DC fare. From "Black Adam" to "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever," this year's superhero fare runs the gamut of quality and entertainment, so here's our ranking of all the major superhero movies of 2022, including a handful of surprises you might not have thought of initially. 

Spoilers follow.


Who's that way at the bottom of the list of 2022's superhero movies? It's Dr. Michael Morbius at your service. While "Venom" may have turned into a surprising box office hit thanks to Tom Hardy's unabashedly silly performance as Eddie Brock and the titular alien symbiote that reluctantly befriends him, Sony Pictures certainly didn't find the same kind of success with Jared Leto's perplexingly serious and painfully predictable take on the living vampire known as Morbius. 

"Morbius" feels like a movie that was originally intended to be released in the early 2000s in the wake of the comic book movie boom brought about by "X-Men" and Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man," but an intern lost the film canisters, and it sat in Sony's warehouse for roughly two decades. It's a comic book spin on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, which is a common trope among superhero origin stories, but there's nothing refreshing done with it here. When Dr. Michael Morbius' experimental serum to cure his debilitating illness gives him superhuman abilities, it also gives him an unending thirst for blood, turning him into a deadly creature of the night. Of course, Morbius also has a childhood friend Milo has the same illness, and he's so desperate to cure himself that he injects himself with the same serum, and he couldn't care less about the bloodthirst that forces him to kill for sustenance. This will bring the two to superhuman blows, and unfortunately, that's not the only thing that blows. 

There's nothing engaging, interesting, or remotely cool about "Morbius." Even the colorful, wispy visual flourishes added to enhance the superhuman movement and flight of Morbius and the cliche villain Milo (Matt Smith, tragically stuck in another franchise that's dead before it begins) can only act as a stylish band-aid on a lethal bullet hole. How can anyone be expected to invest in an anti-hero and villain whose VFX transformations simply make them look like Hot Topic versions of the bad guy from "The Mask" with Jim Carrey? This movie is nothing more than a feature-length music video that could have easily been a production from Jared Leto's band 30 Seconds to Mars. Uninspired, lame, and just plain bad, "Morbius" is far from a living vampire that sucks blood. It's a corpse that just sucks. 

Black Adam

After roughly 15 years of gestating, it's a shame that "Black Adam" couldn't come up with something more impressive. Dwayne Johnson had been waiting to play the DC Comics anti-hero for a long time. In fact, Johnson once had the choice between playing either Black Adam or his adversary Shazam! long before Zachary Levi stepped into the role. Sadly, "Black Adam" arrives after a decade and a half of movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it doesn't bring any fresh to the table to compensate. 

Director Jaume Collet-Serra ("Jungle Cruise," "Non-Stop," "The Shallows") takes the helm of the superhero movie that was famously supposed to change the hierarchy of the DC Extended Universe. What better way to redefine the big screen comic book universe than by starting with a flashback sequence that looks like a poor man's "300," introducing a junior varsity team of superheroes for action fodder in the form of the Justice Society of America, and turning the newly introduced most powerful character in the DCEU into the most uninteresting character in the movie? "Black Adam" does it all by giving us a character who is hellbent on delivering justice to the world that turned against him thousands of years ago. The only problem is there's really no reason to care, and the shoehorned human characters who are supposed to provide some semblance of an emotional core fall horribly flat. 

Try as Dwayne Johnson might to make Black Adam work on the big screen, the character is weakened by the fact that he can't embody the actor's natural charisma and likability. While that does allow for some deadpan humor involving smashing holes into walls instead of using doors and a misunderstanding of the concept of sarcasm, it does not make for an interesting lead character. In fact, the Justice Society of America would be the most interesting part of the movie if they weren't relegated to merely being adversaries trying to stop Black Adam. Even then, their introduction feels unceremonious and rushed, and the only one who actually turns out to be a truly compelling character is Pierce Brosnan as Doctor Fate, so of course he gets killed before the end of the movie. Beyond the first action sequence that reveals just how strong Black Adam is as he takes out a team of mercenaries, this movie is about a decade late and millions of dollars short


There was a time when Sylvester Stallone would have made quite the comic book superhero. However, when the "Rocky and "Rambo" franchise star was at the top of his game as one of the biggest action stars in Hollywood, audiences were only clamoring for the likes of Superman and Batman, and studios hadn't yet discovered the true box office power of Marvel and DC characters. Stallone has since found his way into the Marvel Cinematic Universe by way of a brief but key supporting role in "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2," but it took a straight-to-streaming movie on Prime Video to turn him into a fully-fledged superhero, albeit one you've never heard of before. 

"Samaritan" follows a kid named Sam (Javon Walton) who lives in the rundown part of Granite City, a metropolis that is succumbing to rising crime rates and diminishing hopes. It doesn't help that the city's superhero, known as Samaritan, was apparently defeated at the hands of his sworn enemy and twin brother, appropriately called Nemesis, who died in the process of taking down his powerful sibling. Presumed dead for years, there hasn't been another hero to step up like Samaritan and give people something to strive for. Instead, a criminal leader named Cyrus (Pilou Asbæk) has taken up the mantle of Nemesis again, and he's inciting violence across the city. But Sam may have just found the one man who can stop him: the weathered and aged Joe, who just may actually be Samaritan secretly living in a nearby apartment and working as a garbage man. 

As a movie that feels like "Last Action Hero" mixed with "Steel" (yes, the DC movie with Shaquille O'Neal), director Julius Avery ("Overlord") delivers an admirable, gritty action movie that has a vibe straight out of the late '90s. Stallone is perfect for playing the grizzled, presumed superhero. He keeps to himself, but the man who calls himself Joe still has heroic tendencies, no matter how hard he tries to avoid them. Though "Samaritan" could have used a bigger budget and a bit more visual style, there's something thoroughly entertaining about the throwback nature of this movie, right down to the tough teen street gang led by Moises Arias ("Ender's Game"). The movie somewhat fizzles out, with an action setpiece that can't quite muster up a satisfying conclusion and an intriguing twist that doesn't feel like it has nearly as much significance as it should, but it's at least something different among a sea of sky portals, flying final battles, and computer-generated climaxes.

Secret Headquarters

Right now you might be saying to yourself, "What?" No, we're not trying to pull one over on you. "Secret Headquarters" is a totally real movie that came out this year. Starring Owen Wilson and "The Adam Project" star Walker Scobell, the Paramount+ original film focuses on a young teen boy named Charlie (Scobell) who has a frustrating relationship with his father (Wilson), who always manages to have a work emergency when they're supposed to spend time together. Little does Charlie know that his father is secretly the superhero known as The Guard, who has been so effective at saving the world that it's starting to tick off a weapons CEO named Ansel Argon (Michael Peña). When Charlie and his friends accidentally stumble upon The Guard's secret headquarters, they have a little too much fun with his various superhero gadgets, bringing Argon and his team of mercenaries into the superhero's home. What follows is a mix of "Spy Kids," "Sky High" and "Home Alone" with a little bit of "Iron Man" tossed in for good measure. 

"Secret Headquarters" is by no means a revelatory superhero movie. It's a little too over-the-top when it comes to some of the kid-centric antics, even if the cast that also includes Keith L. Williams ("Good Boys"), Abby James Witherspoon (niece of Reese Witherspoon), and Momona Tomada ("The Baby-Sitters Club") has commendable chemistry and mostly works, but at least directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman know exactly what they want this movie to be. Granted, there are some poorly conceived logistics when it comes to the concept of The Guard himself, especially when it comes to the various gadgets at his disposal and the scope of his power source. Plus, some of the comedy that comes from Peña's villain argon feels a bit forced and out of place. But a kid-driven, live-action family adventure like this is the kind of movie that studios don't make much anymore. If I were a kid, this is a movie that I would watch over and over again. Then I would revisit it as an adult and realize it's not particularly great, but I would probably still enjoy the good times it provided. 

DC League Of Super-Pets

Who would have thought that the animated movie about Superman's super-powered pet dog Krypto and a team of misfit pets would end up being the better superhero movie starring Dwayne Johnson this year? Take the family-friendly humor of "The Secret Life of Pets" and the zany superhero style of "The LEGO Batman Movie," and you get yourself the mostly enjoyable "DC League of Super-Pets." 

When Krypton is on the verge of destruction, a baby Kal-El is sent away from the planet just before it explodes, providing Earth with the superhero who the world would come to know as Superman. But in this version of the story, baby Kal-El has a cute little stowaway in the form of a little white puppy who comforts the orphan infant and grows up to become his best friend and a canine superhero in his own right, complete with a cape, freeze breath, laser vision, and all the bells and whistles of being a Kryptonian on Earth. However, Krypto's perfect friendship gets shaken up when Superman (aka Clark Kent, voiced by John Krasinski) decides to marry Lois Lane. But that's not all, because Metropolis is about to get a different kind of shake-up when Lulu, a hairless guinea pig test subject from Lex Luthor's LexCorp labs, gets ahold of orange kryptonite and becomes quite a deadly foe by capturing Superman as well as his friends in the Justice League, all in an effort to dominate the world for her billionaire former owner. 

The biggest asset that "DC League of Super-Pets" has is the fantastic ensemble cast. Dwayne Johnson actually works considerably well as Krypto, and there's just enough of Kevin Hart as his foil, an abandoned boxer dog called Ace, who even has a touching, tragic backstory. But honestly, it's the supporting cast that steals the show, including Vanessa Bayer as a potbellied pig named PB, Diego Luna as a wiry squirrel named Chip, and Natasha Lyonne as the endlessly hilarious nearsighted turtle Merton, especially when they all get superpowers of their own. The dynamic between all these animals makes for a lot of fun, including the villainy of Lulu, voiced perfectly by Kate McKinnon, who channels the energy of the latter half of "Pinky and the Brain" for an excellent vocal performance. However, there's a little too much of a contemporary touch regarding pop culture references and gags, especially regarding the movie's soundtrack, and some of the meta sensibilities at play take away from the rest of the movie's cleverness. The only exception to this are some of the bits involving Keanu Reeves as Batman, who deserves his own movie with his new canine companion Ace.

Thor: Love And Thunder

After Taika Waititi reinvigorated the God of Thunder with "Thor: Ragnarok," it felt like the franchise had a new lease on life, especially when you take into account the character's journey across "Avengers: Infinity War" and "Avengers: Endgame." However, Marvel Studios may have been a little too trusting when it comes to giving Waititi free reign to take Thor on his latest adventure.

"Thor: Love and Thunder" finds Chris Hemsworth getting back in chiseled superhero shape as Thor, faced with reuniting with his ex-girlfriend, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), who has now been imbued with the powers of the God of Thunder, thanks to the reformed shattered remains of Mjolnir. Unbeknownst to Thor, Jane Foster is using the power of the Mighty Thor to keep a terminal cancer diagnosis at bay. At the same time, King Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) and the people of New Asgard are facing a deadly threat in the form of Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale), who is on a mission to wipe all gods from the universe. 

Though the fourth film in the Thor franchise brings much of the same wild energy and humor that made "Thor: Ragnarok" such a refreshing piece of the MCU, it also brings a fractured story that lacks focus, poorly utilizes what should be a much more menacing villain, and doesn't do justice to Jane's story, despite being based on one of the greatest comic book arcs in Thor's history. Though Waititi admirably tries to bring Thor and Jane's relationship to the forefront of the story in an amusing and charming fashion, it never quite reaches the significance necessary to make the tearjerking ending land as firmly as it otherwise should. That's not to say the film isn't thoroughly entertaining, because it does bring plenty of laughs, stunning setpieces, and solid action. It just never comes together to be as good as its predecessor, and that's a shame when you have so much talent in front of and behind the camera. 

The Guardians Of The Galaxy Holiday Special

That's right, we're including "The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special" on this list. It might not qualify as a feature-length film, but we're including it in this year's assembly of superhero movies, especially since it's better than half of the actual superhero movies released in 2022.

James Gunn brought Christmas joy to the Guardians of the Galaxy with this 40-minute holiday special that also happens to be a musical featuring some catchy new Christmas tunes from The Old 97s. The filmmaker has always had a genuine reverence for "The Star Wars Holiday Special," and he brought that love to this special presentation from Marvel Studios. Only a ragtag, misfit crew like Guardians of the Galaxy could make a Yuletide program like this work, and the fact that it's actually a canon piece of the MCU that takes inspiration from a great gag from the original "Guardians of the Galaxy" movie only makes it that much better. 

Drax (Dave Bautista) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff) try to cheer up a depressed Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), still reeling from the loss of Gamora (Zoe Saldana) in the aftermath of the events of "Avengers: Infinity War" and "Avengers: Endgame." In a stroke of genius, Gunn sends the two back to Earth to retrieve Quill's longtime "Footloose" idol Kevin Bacon, played by the real "Hollow Man" star Kevin Bacon. Sure, it's a bit hokey, but that's exactly what makes it a holiday special. However, because the Guardians spend most of the runtime split up, it does't quite have the same charm as a full-fledged installment of the Marvel franchise where the group dynamic is the driving force of the story. But it still has its heart in the right place with a fair share of funny and heartwarming moments, including a wonderful deepening of the surprisingly touching relationship between Quill and the late Yondu (Michael Rooker). It's a kooky, fun, cosmic, Christmas adventure that could only ever work in the hands of an oddball like James Gunn, and he even manages to get some throwback rotoscope animation in there for a truly retro vibe. 

Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness

Though some might argue that Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has become a bit of a fractured mess of storytelling, "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" gets the honor of digging into the darker side of the multiverse with mostly satisfying results. "Multiverse of Madness" is far from a perfect movie, and it doesn't reach the greatness of "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse," but with director Sam Raimi at the helm, it certainly has style to spare, and it even gives a bit of a backhand to the fan service that Marvel has been criticized for in recent years as the MCU has expanded to include the largest roster of characters a film franchise has ever seen. 

Let's be clear, "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" isn't without problems, especially when it comes to the 180-degree turn that Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) takes following the lesson she learned in Marvel's "WandaVision" series, not to mention the use of America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) as more of a plot device for Wanda's villain rather than a three-dimensional character. But the way Raimi brings the multiverse to life is just twisted enough to be entertaining, especially when it comes to having Benedict Cumberbatch playing multiple versions of Doctor Strange. 

Sure, the parallel universes that we spend the most time in could have been a little more creative (Green means stop and pizza is balls! Wow!), but "Multiverse of Madness" also has the job of introducing us to the Illuminati, featuring alternate universe versions of familiar characters, such as Captain Carter (Hayley Atwell), Black Bolt (Anson Mount), Professor X (Sir Patrick Stewart), and even the introduction of John Krasinski as Reed Richards. However, all that fan service is given a devastating blow as the Scarlet Witch hilariously kills every single one of them without prejudice. Though the presence of these characters may feel like a tacked-on sequence full of fan service, the fact that Raimi brings them into play just to tear them all down is the kind of twisted fun that makes "Multiverse of Madness" such a rollicking good time. Combine that with the flourishes like the battle with the tentacled, one-eyed monster Gargantos, the cartoonish music fight between Doctor Strange and Dark Strange, and the totally metal mayhem of Dead Strange and a Cloak of Levitation comprised of the souls of the damned, and you've got a sequel that delivers an immense amount blockbuster fun, even if it's in a messy package. It's not called the "Multiverse of Neatness," is it? 

Werewolf By Night

Since we included "The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special" on this list, we have to bring in Marvel's first Special Presentation that arrived just in time for the spooky season this year. "Werewolf by Night" digs into one of Marvel's more obscure comics for a one-shot story that takes inspiration from the classic horror movies of the 1930s and 1940s. With a black and white visual style reminiscent of Universal Monsters movies like "The Wolf Man" and "The Invisible Man," director Michael Giacchino (composer for "Star Trek," "Lost," and "The Incredibles") delivers a contained story that doesn't need the mythology of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to sustain it. 

Following the death of the revered Ulysses Bloodstone, five experienced monster hunters, including Jack Russell (Gael García Bernal), are summoned by Ulysses' widow, Verussa, to Bloodstone Manor, where they are instructed to participate in a competitive hunt to determine the new leader who will wield the powerful Bloodstone. Little do they know that Jack actually knows the monster being hunted quite well, and he's actually looking to help the mossy creature escape. But that's not the only secret being held by Jack, who also happens to be a werewolf. 

Economical, atmospheric, and thrilling, Marvel's "Werewolf by Night" shows the great potential of stories within the MCU when there aren't any shoehorned connections or fan service to existing characters and elements. There are zero characters in this special we've seen before, and we don't need to know much about them in order to experience a satisfying story. Furthermore, the special also ventures outside of the rather sterile visual style that Marvel Studios has been criticized for over the years, allowing for a little more creativity behind the camera. And if there were ever a case to be made for less CGI and more practical effects, the final werewolf transformation would make for substantial evidence. Overall, this was a fulfilling detour to a new corner of the MCU that demands even more exploration. 

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Following the tragic passing of Chadwick Boseman, it's an understatement to say that the "Black Panther" sequel had a supremely difficult uphill battle. Director/writer Ryan Coogler wasn't even aware that his franchise star had been diagnosed with a terminal illness, let alone that he would pass away before cameras even started rolling, forcing a page-one rewrite that would change the trajectory of the Marvel superhero entirely. Miraculously, Coogler crafted a sequel that not only manages to pay tribute to the legacy of Chadwick Boseman, but provides an emotional and cathartic follow-up that allows the entire ensemble cast to grow and fill the gap left by the actor's absence. 

"Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" has a lot of moving pieces and a large roster of characters with significant screentime, but it never feels overstuffed or lacks focus. The sequel wastes no time with the heartrending passing of T'Challa, leaving the advanced African nation without its king or legendary protector. But it doesn't rush to push someone else into the suit. In fact, "Wakanda Forever" deserves plenty of credit for being patient by letting T'Challa's sister Shuri (Letitia Wright), mother Ramonda (Angela Bassett in an award-worthy supporting role), and their closest confidantes grieve and slowly recover from this painful development. We see Wakanda truly vulnerable for the first time ever, and it leaves them open to attack from the previously unheard-of underwater nation Talokan, led by the godlike Namor (Tenoch Huerta, in a stirring breakthrough performance). 

The beauty of Talokan cannot be understated, and Coogler does a masterful job of turning Namor and his people into a civilization you can empathize with, even when they threaten to wipe Wakanda off the face of the Earth. The escalating tension and intense battles between these two nations make for the best blockbuster action in any superhero movie this year. "Wakanda Forever" again gets an assist from a breathtaking score by Ludwig Goransson, who takes the music in hypnotizing new directions to represent the people of Talkokan. There's also the gorgeous cinematography that lets the beauty of both Wakanda and Talokan shine. And that's all before we even mention the introduction of Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne), a character who could easily have been shoehorned into the MCU but actually has an important part to play in helping Wakanda stand up to this new threat. 

Making "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" without Chadwick Boseman was already a tall order, but delivering a sequel that's as good as this after going through such a harrowing development process is truly a miracle. "Wakanda Forever" may stumble a little bit in the third act that has you feeling the nearly three-hour runtime, but the emotional core is strong, putting it on the higher end of Marvel's sequels and easily the best installment of Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 

The Batman

After Christopher Nolan gave us the definitive big screen version of the Caped Crusader with the Dark Knight Trilogy, there was a lot of doubt surrounding a new version of Batman, especially when "Twilight" franchise star Robert Pattinson was announced to put on the cape and cowl. But anyone who has watched Pattinson's career in the aftermath of "The Twilight Saga" knew that the actor wouldn't take on such a high-profile role in a massive blockbuster franchise unless there was something worth sinking his teeth into. That's where "War for the Planet of the Apes" and "Cloverfield" director Matt Reeves comes into play, combining the gritty realism of Christopher Nolan's universe with the pulpy crime of DC Comics and just a pinch of "Batman '66."

Robert Pattinson gives us an emo, alt-rock Batman still coping with the darkness and vengeance instilled in him by the death of his parents, but thankfully, Reeves has the sense to refrain from showing us this in flashback form all over again. It's the kind of Batman who would wallow in grief by punching a hole in the wall while cranking Nirvana in his Walkman headphones, which is exactly why the band's song "Something in the Way" permeates the film's soundtrack, as well as the score by composer Michael Giacchino. This Bruce Wayne has no interest in trying to balance life as a member of high society with his nights spent moonlighting as a vigilante. He's still bitter and angry, and he's taking it out on the criminals terrorizing the citizens of Gotham City each night. But there's a bigger threat that Batman has been blind to thanks to his privileged position in Wayne Tower, and it gives the Dark Knight a new perspective on justice when all is said and done.

With "The Batman," Matt Reeves manages to give us a Batman movie that feels like David Fincher's "Se7en" (and "Mindhunter") but still manages to bring some comic book and noir style to the proceedings, especially when it comes to Colin Farrell's crime boss portrayal of The Penguin and Zoe Kravitz's femme fatale take on Catwoman. Then there's Paul Dano's turn as The Riddler, which is truly chilling as the product of a corrupt contemporary society pushing the underprivileged just a little too far into the annals of a broken, corrupt city government. There's a compelling mystery, a homemade feel to Batman that isn't afraid to linger in the shadows, and a new take on the Dark Knight that manages to feel refreshing despite the fact that we've been inundated with Batman for years now. The Batman is back, and we couldn't be more thrilled to see the signal shining in the sky again.

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