Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Biggest Film And TV Disappointments Of 2022 - Looper Staff Picks

Whether or not you've made the choice to return to movie theaters or you spent 2022 on your couch scrolling through Netflix until it just says "end of list, please go to bed and don't you dare watch 'Grey's Anatomy' again you psycho," you probably watched at least a couple movies and TV shows in 2022 — and you know that not all of them were winners. We can't have it all, you know; for every "Everything Everywhere All at Once," there's a movie that's nothing, nowhere, and not happening in any place whatsoever. 

If you were thinking about revisiting these big and small screen clunkers that came out in 2022, just take our word for it: Don't. We wasted our time watching them and thinking about them so you didn't have to, and in that way, these fellow Looper staffers are heroes — and because you're reading this and not directly interacting with the writers, you can't argue with that statement. Anyway, here are the biggest film and TV disappointments of 2023.

Caitlin Albers - Thor: Love and Thunder

"Thor: Love and Thunder" is the worst movie in the MCU, and I will die on that hill. It is worse than "The Dark World," "Iron Man 2," "Eternals," "Captain Marvel," and "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" — I know I lost some of you on that last one but let's keep moving. What an absolutely atrocious piece of garbage this movie is. I'll admit, I don't think "Thor: Ragnarok" is a top-tier MCU movie (I'd give it a B), so when I heard Taika Waititi was directing AND writing "Love and Thunder," I knew it was going to be abysmal. But I had no idea it would be this bad. Waititi has no business having that much creative control over an MCU movie, and it shows. Why has Thor (Chris Hemsworth) become the laughingstock of the MCU?

I didn't laugh once in this movie, despite Waititi's attempts to make his audience belly laugh every five seconds. "Love and Thunder" was eye roll after eye roll and a complete disservice to a character. Even Hemsworth knows it was trash, as he said if he ever returned to play Thor, it would have to be a dramatically different take on the character. It's probably because he's tired of playing a goon when he was one of the most admirable and badass characters in the MCU. Sure, everyone has their growth, their arc, their whatever, but how you go from Thor in "Avengers: Infinity War" to Thor in "Love and Thunder" is beyond me.

Christian Bale did pretty well in the movie as Gorr, but we did not see him nearly enough — probably because Powder didn't crack jokes enough, and it would have ruined Waititi's distorted vision. Mighty Thor (Natalie Portman) was laughable; floating Heimdall-kid was embarrassing, and the goats were one of the unfunniest things I've ever seen. Kevin, if you have plans for a fifth "Thor" film, I am begging you, leave Waititi out of it.

Nina Starner - Don't Worry Darling

The biggest crime committed by Olivia Wilde's sophomore effort, "Don't Worry Darling," isn't its relatively underdeveloped plot or its disappointing twist. The biggest crime committed by "Don't Worry Darling" is that, after all of that fuss, it's boring. You probably know the gist by now: Alice (Florence Pugh, who deserves better) lives an idyllic life with her husband Jack (Harry Styles, whose accent travels back and forth across the Atlantic several times throughout the movie) in a gorgeous 1950s suburb, with martini parties every night before the men head off to do ... work of some kind. Alice's illusion starts shattering, blah blah blah, Olivia Wilde is there and also directed the whole thing, Kate Berlant and Chris Pine appear to be the only people who know what kind of movie they're in — you get it.

I loved Wilde's directorial debut, "Booksmart," and to say I was disappointed by "Don't Worry Darling" is an understatement. After all the muss and fuss about the behind-the scenes drama, Wilde and Styles' on-set fling-turned-real relationship, Styles replacing Shia LaBeouf (who, if you've seen the ending of the film, would have made a lot more sense in the role), the movie was just ... fine, and also bafflingly half-baked. Why does Gemma Chan's Shelley stab her husband, Pine's Frank, at the end and say it's her "turn" now? What does that even mean?! If Alice has been in a medically induced coma and, in turn, an artificial reality for an unclear amount of time, doesn't that mean all sexual encounters with Jack inside the simulation are, um, questionable? Also, Alice is a surgeon and nobody noticed she just stopped showing up for work?!? (Harry Styles as an incel also really, really doesn't work.)

The plot holes in this movie are big enough for Thelma and Louise to triumphantly drive straight into, but they're not even particularly interesting — they're just kind of irksome. I wanted "Don't Worry Darling" to be "Cats"-level campy if it was going to piss me off by being bad; I didn't realize boring was even an option.

Kieran Fisher - The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

After years of anticipation, "The Lord of Rings: The Rings of Power" arrived in September and immediately divided viewers. The series was always going to have lofty expectations to live up to; after all, it marked a return to Middle-earth and boasted a blockbuster budget that every other show in the history of television and streaming would kill for. Unfortunately, "The Rings of Power" Season 1 just isn't very good.

The writing is the biggest issue with "The Rings of Power." While similar in tone to J.R.R. Tolkien's works and Peter Jackson's movie adaptations, it doesn't pack the same inspirational punch. That's not to say that all of the writing is bad, but lines like "The dog may bark at the moon, but he cannot bring it down" seem more suited to an old episode of "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys" than a fantasy adventure of this magnitude. Maybe Amazon should have broken off a chunk of that billion-dollar budget and ponied up for some decent scribes.

The first season of "The Rings of Power" hasn't made me hopeful that the series will compel viewers to stick around for 50 episodes, either. A huge part of me respects the creators for abandoning the rules of Tolkien's lore and bringing their own ideas to the table, but some of their decisions have been questionable and confusing. For example, connecting mithril to Simarils feels forced and diminishes the Elves' legacy as immortal beings. Furthermore, storylines of this ilk are a reminder that "The Rings of Power" doesn't have a lot of substantial source material to mine — its based on the appendices of "The Lord of the Rings" rather than "The Silmarillion" — which really just opens the door for more awkward filler subplots moving forward. Come on guys, you broke the bank to secure these rights and you didn't even get the right book.

Pauli Poisuo - Andor

The Disney+ side of the "Star Wars" universe has been pretty great. "The Mandalorian" is one of the most entertaining shows in recent years. "Obi-Wan Kenobi" expands on the Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor)-Anakin (Hayden Christensen) dynamic in a fun way. Temuera Morrison and Ming-Na Wen have been killing it for years, and I'll sit through any project that's writing their checks.

I was actually pretty hyped about "Andor," the years-spanning, warts-and-all story of the galaxy's most important good guy faction. It's easy to see why people like the series, too. Objectively, it's great TV, with all the loom, doom, and gloom you'd associate with a prestige show. It has an excellent cast that includes personal favorites like Stellan Skarsgård and Fiona Shaw. It has serious intrigue, all sorts of grown-up themes, and surprisingly huge stakes for a show with an entirely predetermined outcome.

And as this all unfolded in front of me, I had the hardest time staying awake.

I can't quite put a finger on why "Andor" disappointed me so badly. I suspect expectation management has a lot to do with it, since while I do enjoy "Star Wars," I tend to watch out of a vague sense of duty instead of the kind of genuine intrigue I had going into "Andor." Projects like "Rogue One" and "The Mandalorian" have managed to pleasantly surprise me in the past. Apparently, being excited in the beginning of a "Star Wars" thing works the other way around. For "Andor" Season 2, I guess I'll try to overcorrect the course, and tune in with the same amount of fervor I brought to "The Rise of Skywalker." If that doesn't work, it's probably time to admit that my first port of call for grounded drama just isn't a franchise known for its somersaulting space wizards.

Kim Bell - The King's Daughter

Plenty of things come out under my radar (kick flares, for instance), but they're not usually films whose progress I've been following for years. Five minutes in, "The King's Daughter's" unceremonious arrival made perfect sense. Here is, or was, a movie with limitless potential — as in, an enormous budget, piles of production time, narration by Julie Andrews, a strong female protagonist, Pierce Brosnan as Louis XIV, a freaking mermaid, and the actual Palace of Versailles and, more importantly, killer source material. The film is based on Vonda McIntyre's "The Moon and the Sun," a brilliant historical fantasy that beat out "A Game of Thrones" (let that sink in) for the 1997 Nebula Award. This thing could, and should, have been f****** magical.

It isn't.

Forget about the visible "fixes" to its erratic script, the rotted-out story scaffolding, the icky father-daughter sexual tension, the abominable CGI, the comedic slow motion, and the everything else in it, and focus, for a moment, on what should've been its redemption: the aesthetic. This film mismanages its Versailles setting to a degree that would make the literal King of fund mismanagement, the real Louis XIV, gasp. Worse yet, the men are dressed in what can only be described as "Rumours" album cover cosplay (you're right, that does sound cool, but again, it isn't), while the women are forced into a grotesque collection of Y2k-tacky-meets-Filene's-Basement-Fire-Sale-Chic. The best that can be said about their costumes is that they undoubtedly kept some dying mall's dimly-lit formalwear store in business. It's all the worst kind of anachronistic: arbitrary, inconsistent, and ugly as hell. In other words, completely in-keeping with the script, which boasts all the subtlety, believability, and sense — yet none of the charm — of a child's long-winded fib. (None of us believe your sister's hamster just fell into your back pocket and died, Brian, but points for having more narrative cohesion than "The King's Daughter").

The film itself doesn't particularly have a thesis, but its sheer terribleness — and the fact that so much time, money, and energy went into that terribleness — delivers one anyway. If you love something, burn it.

Aahil Dayani - Laal Singh Chaddha

Considering the original's strong cross-cultural footprint, it wasn't surprising to me when an Indian adaptation of "Forrest Gump" was announced.

Spearheaded by Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan, whose films have historically been box office juggernauts (especially in China), the adaptation titled "Laal Singh Chaddha" was shaping up to be something truly special. Known among cinephiles for being particular about the scripts he chooses, Khan is always focusing on quality over quantity — or rather that's the image he's been trying to portray over the last decade.

The remake follows the same broad strokes as "Forrest Gump," making economical changes to recontextualize the film for Indian audiences: Laal finds a captivated audience on a train instead of a park bench and Gump's stunt in Vietnam is replaced with the Kargil war between India and Pakistan, for example. These changes make the film engaging enough, with consistent commentary on how the conservative and divided India is blossoming into a progressive state.

Unfortunately, the film is just fine.

"Laal Singh Chaddha" features a borderline offensive performance from Khan, failing to capture even a quarter of the empathy and nuance Hanks exhibited as the character. Perhaps the film's biggest sin is that it doesn't take many risks, feeling like a Mad Lib of "Forrest Gump" that replaces Indian happenings with American events. Laal simply isn't an intriguing character, lacking the soul and heart that made the original film such a cultural touchstone. We should expect more from some of India's biggest creatives, and the fact that this one didn't live up to its cross-cultural potential stings extra good. The remake is ultimately watchable — highlights include stunning views of India and a brilliant soundtrack — I just can't help but feel disappointed that a great idea was bogged down by a mediocre performance and a script that feels like the worst version of the "let me copy your homework" meme.

Tom Meisfjord – Picard Season 2

Imagine that you had this friend, someone who you loved, enough that you still thought of them fondly even after you hadn't hung out in like, 20 years. You grew up with them. You looked forward to hearing about their adventures and their perspectives on life, because they helped to inform your own views. That's how much you admired them. You would never admit it, but you even had a doll of them that you would play with when they weren't around.

Time passed, and then one day, against all odds, that friend announced that they were coming back after decades of absence. You got jazzed. This could be the last time you'd ever see them. Precious memories were about to be made, and a punctuation mark would be placed at the end of a crucial paragraph in your personal development.

Then your friend started swearing a lot and wouldn't stop talking about how much they loved their dead coworker.

Then your friend introduced you to their new friend, who killed her husband and then said that she did it because aliens made her crazy.

Then your friend said that he went to robot heaven and also that he was a robot now and that his old nemesis sent him back in time to fight cyborgs and ICE because secretly he loved your friend so much that he wanted your friend to kiss girls more.

Then your friend forgot that they had already met Whoopi Goldberg.

Anyway, maybe Season 3 will be better.

Russell Murray - Black Adam

Dwayne Johnson has long touted the comic book supervillain-turned-antihero Black Adam as an underrated powerhouse who deserves the same cultural significance and focus as Superman. Though I admittedly scoffed at his braggadocious claims of changing hierarchies, the WWE-esque marketing campaign, and the dismissive conflation of various cultural identities, I have to admit that he was actually right. Black Adam has potential no other DC character has — and there are moments in this very movie that prove that.

Granted, Johnson isn't right for the right reasons. It's not Adam's strength or power that make him potentially groundbreaking, but the people and conflict he could represent. As Sarah Shahi's Adrianna Tomaz scathingly dresses down the Justice Society of America, the movie comes dangerously close to asking a profound and engaging dramatic question: What would happen if a country, subjected to years of foreign occupation and asymmetrical warfare, found their own Superman? Forget the hierarchy of the DC Universe — Black Adam could unveil truths about the dark, unjust hierarchies of the real world, while imagining a future beyond those systems of power.

It's the sort of premise great movies are made of — but perhaps not those existing explicitly to further the career of an American actor who markets himself as unflinchingly patriotic and pro-military. As he grunts and broods with an almost comical American dialect to an ensemble of mostly SWANA actors — while they in turn are tragically forced to pretend like he's their ancient deity — "Black Adam" can't help but seem like an extended pro-wrestling sketch. The sort of lazy entertainment that has a bizarre fascination with relevant ideas, but can't engage with them beyond the strongmen in tights. "Thor: Love and Thunder" was a close second, though.

Nick Staniforth - Moon Knight

While Marvel Studios deserves some credit for trying to brave bold new territory with the shows and movies they're dishing out post-Endgame, the debut of "Moon Knight" was more strong proof that some of their stories on the small screen just don't work. The tale of Steven Grant (Oscar Isaac) discovering that his head was home to various individuals felt like one of the comic book adapting behemoth's bravest endeavors, and unfortunately, they just weren't up to the task. The fist of Khonshu in the comics is a tougher, edgier protagonist among super soldiers and friendly neighborhood Spider-Men, and the show didn't reflect that. Like Steven Grant and Marc Spector, it was totally off balance trying to keep a complex world rife with characters of a similar nature steady, even committing the egregious crime of revealing one of Marc's other personalities in a post-credits scene.

Currently, there's no solid confirmation that we're getting a second season of "Moon Knight," but we can only hope that if we do, our hero and the creative team behind him will provide a far more balanced follow-up. Steven Grant's superheroic side is as tough as Daredevil and as brutal as Blade, but the debut season we got didn't demonstrate that. Crescent moon blades crossed that if Moon Knight rises again for a second season, we get a show that doesn't leave our heads spinning and works with what it has — a fantastic three-man show for the price of one.