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The Most Disappointing Movies Of 2022

The year 2022 was an important one for the film industry. After the haze of the pandemic lingered like a dark cloud over showbiz for two years, 2022 marked the first time when some semblance of normality resurfaced. Finally, people around the world were ready to return to theaters and enjoy the cinema experience, while Hollywood also resumed its usual schedules of production.

Thanks to the backlog of movies that were delayed during the pandemic, the year was extra jam-packed, with huge new releases dropping every week. There was never a shortage of something to watch, as film lovers received everything from the likes of "The Batman" to "Avatar: The Way of Water." At times, it almost felt impossible to keep up with the constant slate of new arrivals.

While there were highlights and welcome surprises, there were also films that failed to live up to the hype. That isn't to say these movies are unsalvageable or should be burned in a fire for merely existing. Instead, it's simply an acknowledgment of how they didn't live up to their initial promise. With that being said, let's take a look at the most disappointing films of 2022.


Filmmaker Joseph Kosinski had an eventful 2022. Within the space of a month, two of his films were released and received major attention from the world. The first, "Top Gun: Maverick," annihilated the box office, bringing in $1.489 billion (via Box Office Mojo), and receiving near-universal acclaim from audiences and critics.

The second release was the Netflix film "Spiderhead." Written by "Deadpool" scribes Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, and starring Chris Hemsworth, Miles Teller, and Jurnee Smollett, this sci-fi-tinged psychological thriller had all the makings of a smash hit on the streaming service. Even the trailers promised something intriguing with this new adaptation of George Saunders' lauded short story "Escape from Spiderhead."

Unfortunately, the movie belly-flopped upon release. Critical approval sat at 39% on Rotten Tomatoes, while the audience rating was even worse at 29%. In the end, it doesn't seem like many people watched "Spiderhead," either, as the film struggled to make Netflix's 10 most-watched films of 2022, as per Polygon. Considering all the talent involved and the reported budget of $100 million, this is nothing short of a massive disappointment.


Look, let's be clear here: No one ever thought Michael Bay's "Ambulance" was going to be Oscar-worthy material. All anyone expected was for Bay to run wild and for there to be more slow-mo and explosions in a 20-minute stretch than most action franchises have across 10 movies. Plus, the premise of an army veteran (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) and his brother (Jake Gyllenhaal) robbing a bank to fund his wife's cancer surgery had all the hallmarks of a modern-day version of Nick Cassavetes's "John Q."

Surprisingly, "Ambulance" became tied with "The Rock" as the best-reviewed Bay film on Rotten Tomatoes. It had an uncharacteristic tightness, switching between total Bayhem and a heart-wrenching story in a cohesive and natural manner. So why, then, did no one watch it? "Ambulance" had a reported $40 million budget, as per Variety, but it labored to a $52 million worldwide gross (via The Numbers). While no one expected the film to reap the same numbers as the "Transformers" franchise, there was an expectation that it would turn a decent profit like "The Rock" or "Armageddon," especially since it cost less to make than all those movies. Unfortunately, despite being one of Bay's better films (if not his best), "Ambulance" struggled to find an audience, and it became a high-profile box office flop.


Disney has been on a drive to create live-action adaptations of its classic animated films. The likes of "Beauty and the Beast," "The Jungle Book," "Aladdin," and "The Lion King" have all received remakes, so it was inevitable that "Pinocchio" — the tale of a man who wishes upon a star for his wooden puppet to become a real boy — would follow suit at some point. In 2022, the live-action version of "Pinocchio" was released. Rather than being a magical experience, however, it felt like Disney executives' noses grew longer, for lying to themselves that this would somehow work.

Directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Tom Hanks as Geppetto and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Jiminy Cricket, it's almost difficult to fathom how this all went pear-shaped, producing wooden performances from all those involved in the film. In /Film's review of "Pinocchio," critic Vanessa Armstrong said, "As a parent myself, if faced with the choice of watching this film again with my child versus caving into her request to watch 'Frozen' for the 35th million time, I would unhesitatingly get ready to hear 'Let It Go.'"

It's universally agreed that Guillermo del Toro's adaptation of "Pinocchio" for Netflix is the far better 2022 adaptation of Carlo Collodi's famous Italian fable.

The Gray Man

Everyone loves a spy movie. Whether it's James Bond, Jason Bourne, or Johnny English, there's nothing quite like watching a secret agent utilizing their combat skills to knock the snot out of villains while dabbling in espionage. On paper, "The Gray Man" had all the makings of the next big spy franchise. Directed by the Russo brothers, written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, and starring Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jessica Henwick, Regé-Jean Page, and Billy Bob Thornton, this was a big movie for Netflix. The streaming giant even committed $200 million to get it made, according to Deadline.

Despite all the pomp and circumstance surrounding the film, "The Gray Man" spluttered like a retread of every spy trope known to mankind. There is hardly anything original about the film or its predictable plot, with the biggest highlight being Evans' mighty mustache, which proves he may have been the right Chris to portray Mario in "The Super Mario Bros. Movie."

Nonetheless, Netflix confirmed "The Gray Man" is getting a sequel and spin-off, per IGN.

Thor: Love and Thunder

Without a shadow of a doubt, filmmaker Taika Waititi breathed new life into the God of Thunder with "Thor: Ragnarok." Suddenly, Thor went from being one of the blandest Avengers to the funniest and most exciting, as Waititi captured the spirit of artist Jack Kirby's cosmic adventures. As a result, the expectations went through the roof for the follow-up film, "Thor: Love and Thunder," which introduces the villainous Gorr the God Butcher while adapting the heart-tugging storyline where Jane Foster becomes the Mighty Thor.

Yet, "Thor: Love and Thunder" proved to be one of the MCU's most divisive films upon release. With a critical approval rating of 63% on Rotten Tomatoes, it's also the lowest-rated "Thor" film in the franchise — yes, even below the forgettable "Dark World."

Writing for CNET, reviewer Richard Trenholm criticized how the film values gags over any form of emotional impact. "'Love and Thunder' is just too flippant," Trenhold wrote. "Why should we feel anything when clearly none of it matters?" The criticism is one shared by many viewers of the film who felt the themes of love and death, in particular, were buried under the avalanche of hyuck-hyuck jokes.


There was an air of anticipation around "Blonde" when it was first announced. Not only was it written and directed by esteemed filmmaker Andrew Dominik ("The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford"), but it starred Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe, Adrien Brody as Arthur Miller, and Bobby Cannavale as Joe DiMaggio. Everything pointed towards it being a fabulous biography of the woman born Norma Jeane Mortenson who changed the course of the entertainment industry. Yet, when the reviews trickled in, the critical response to "Blonde" was divisive. To further illustrate the point, the film was nominated for both an Academy Award and several Razzies.

Many viewers aired their displeasure with "Blonde" and how it seemingly doesn't respect Monroe's legacy. Critics were equally hesitant to embrace the film. Tanya Gold of the New Statesman wrote, "Watching Blonde, it feels like [writer Joyce Carol] Oates and Dominik hate Marilyn Monroe. In this film's telling, she is doomed from the beginning, made of pain." Hardly what fans of Marilyn Monroe want to see, given how much Hollywood and the media capitalized on her struggles while she was alive.

Jurassic World: Dominion

Here's a fact: Putting a dinosaur in a film makes it instantly better. The original "Jurassic Park" franchise lay the marker of what's possible with practical and special effects, while "Jurassic World" continued the legacy of the dino-action in a crowd-pleasing manner. That being said, at this point, no one feels sorry for the humans who can't seem to leave well enough alone and insist on trying to make friends or pets out of apex predators.

"Jurassic World: Dominion" promised to be the big finale, the swan song of the series. It capped off the new trilogy, bringing back fan favorites Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum from the original films. This was the last hurrah, where the humans would scream and run away from the hungry velociraptors and other dangerous creatures. In other words, it was meant to be a good time for everyone except the characters on screen.

While "Jurassic World: Dominion" made bank by earning over $1 billion at the box office (via Box Office Mojo), it's still the lowest-earning film in the new trilogy. It also has the dishonor of being considered the worst-reviewed film in the franchise, with critics only handing it a 29% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Sure, the dinosaur carnage still makes it a fun (albeit mindless) watch, but it wasn't the epic finale this franchise deserved.

Strange World

In years gone by, creating a Disney animated film was the equivalent of printing money. Children and parents would lap up each release and hit the theaters in droves to absorb every single second of these endearing movies. Don Hall's "Strange World" had all the elements necessary for it to become a huge mega-hit as well. A star-studded voice cast? Check. A cute animal? Check. Great animation? Check. A story bursting with huge amounts of action, comedy, and adventure? Triple check.

Yet somehow, "Strange World" struggled to capture the attention of the wider audience, as it was dead on arrival within its first week of release in theaters. According to Variety, the animated feature cost in the region of $180 million to produce, but it only managed to make just over $73 million worldwide (via Box Office Mojo). Due to these shockingly low numbers, it became a huge flop for Disney, losing the studio a significant amount of money. Fortunately, "Strange World" fared far better in popularity and viewership on Disney+ when it dropped on the streaming platform a month after its theatrical release, as per FlixPatrol.


Jared Leto in a comic book movie: What could possibly go wrong? After Leto's Joker in the DCEU became the laughing stock of "Suicide Squad" for his behind-the-scenes method acting nonsense, "Morbius" presented him with a unique opportunity to right the wrongs of the past. He had the opportunity to play Dr. Michael Morbius, a brilliant scientist who becomes the Living Vampire and is one of the coolest antiheroes in Marvel Comics. Considering the fact Leto doesn't seem to age either, this seemed like perfect casting. Alas, that would be both the beginning and the end of the film's "perfection."

"Morbius" isn't the worst superhero film ever made. It gets a lot of unnecessary flack for cardinal sins that even the MCU commits, but it fails to build upon Sony's Spider-Man Universe (which seems to be devoid of Spider-Man anyway). The Daniel Espinosa-directed film doesn't have the charm or appeal of "Venom," and it also seems unsure of where it fits into the continuity of anything, really. It's simply there, without any rhyme or reason for its existence.

The best thing to come out of "Morbius," though, is the memes it inspired. "It's Morbin' time" could lay claim to being the ultimate catchphrase of 2022, while Lucien's random dance in the middle of the film should be remembered in the same vein as Peter Parker's evil street swagger in "Spider-Man 3."

Halloween Ends

Oh, boy! The fans who were upset about "Halloween Kills" were not prepared for this finale at all. As the last entry in David Gordon Green's trilogy, "Halloween Ends" is meant to serve as an exclamation mark on the franchise as a whole. It's the final battle — the last dance — between Laurie Strode and Michael Myers, where only one of them will walk out alive. In theory, "Halloween Kills" does deliver on this premise, but it's everything before the climactic end that upsets many viewers.

Instead of focusing on the Strode family or even Michael himself, the story makes Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell) the central protagonist of the movie. The Haddonfield outsider has an encounter with Michael in the sewers and survives. Corey doesn't embrace the fact he's alive or that he lived to tell the tale, but he somehow becomes inspired to become a murderer after looking into Michael's eyes. At one point, they even team up to kill a couple, because ... reasons. Reviewers and fans alike were left scratching their heads at the decision to close "Halloween" with this peculiar narrative angle. The Hollywood Reporter's David Rooney said, "This is a sloppy movie whose principal new inspiration feels bogus." While the "Halloween" series is notorious for occasionally throwing a curveball into the mix, "Halloween Ends" takes the cake.


Whenever Damien Chazelle releases a film, bet good money on it securing at least one Oscar nomination. "Babylon" continues this trend; however, it might be the filmmaker's most polarizing effort, judging by the 56% critical approval rating and 52% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. Costing $78 million to produce, as per Variety, "Babylon" is also Chazelle's most expensive picture to date. Unfortunately, it could only crawl to $31 million worldwide (via Box Office Mojo).

Hollywood loves nothing more than films about Hollywood, and that's exactly what "Babylon" is. It showcases an era of Tinseltown in which depravity and indulgence ran rampant — well, at least more so than now. At over three hours in length, though, not even Margot Robbie or Brad Pitt could attract the audience to watch this self-indulgent film about the world's most self-indulgent industry. In a review of the film, entertainment reporter Jackie K. Cooper hilariously dubbed it "Blah Blah Land."

But why did it disappoint so many fans? Maybe, just maybe, the audience doesn't want to pay to watch an elephant defecate on screen.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

To be fair, the lead-up to "Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore" was riddled with more controversy and plot twists than an episode of "Days of Our Lives." "Harry Potter" creator J.K. Rowling came under fire for her repeated anti-trans statements, Ezra Miller went on a crime spree in Hawaii, and the producers had to recast the role of Gellert Grindelwald as a result of Johnny Depp's ongoing legal troubles.

Unfortunately, the actual movie itself lacked the gusto or panache to excel in spite of all the drama. Making just over $400 million, as per Box Office Mojo, it's the lowest-grossing film in the Wizarding World series. Critics weren't enamored by it, either, as it sits with a less-than-stellar score of 46% on Rotten Tomatoes. In TheWrap's review of "Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore," critic William Bibbiani wrote: "There's little magic left in this sagging franchise."

After the low box office performance and largely unenthused reception towards the film, Warner Bros. Discovery pumped the brakes on any future entries in the series, as per Variety. Rather than rush ahead with planned sequels, the studio chose to carefully consider what to do next with the Wizarding World as a whole.

Black Adam

Fair play to Dwayne Johnson: Before "Black Adam" was released, he proclaimed on Instagram that the status quo of the DC Universe was about to change. It was a gutsy move to ignite interest in the film, and he even managed to secure Henry Cavill's Superman to return for a glorious cameo — which cost Warner Bros. Discovery a pretty penny. Unfortunately, the studio turmoil and constant game of musical chairs in the executive boardrooms didn't inspire much confidence in the film from the start. While the comic book movie was a dud with critics, who only gave it a 39% critical approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the fan reaction was far more positive, with most viewers embracing it as a fun popcorn flick. After all, how can anyone not like the fact Johnson's Teth-Adam uppercuts a guy into the clouds?

Money is all that matters in Hollywood, though, and "Black Adam" didn't make enough of the green to satisfy the studio's accountants. With the production costs a reported $260 million, per The Hollywood Reporter, the film only managed to make $393 million worldwide (via Box Office Mojo). In the end, "Black Adam" didn't kickstart a new era in the DC Universe, as Johnson announced on Twitter that his character will not be a part of James Gunn and Peter Saffran's first phase of the DCU.