The Movies of Summer 2022: Top Gun, Thor Love and Thunder, and More!

The Movies of Summer 2022: Top Gun, Thor Love and Thunder, and More!

Going to the movie theater is a staple of summertime, with many of the biggest studios releasing their most popular titles. The summer of 2022 was no exception, with several blockbusters from well known studios, franchises, or directors released. For most, the pressure was on. With the summer movie rush over, how well were these films able to meet people’s expectations? 

Everything Everywhere All At Once

Everything Everywhere All At Once is genius. Originally released in March, the film was met with such critical and audience acclaim it was re-released into theaters on July 29. The movie is the story of a woman named Evelyn who discovers the existence of the multiverse, as well as the capability to jump between universes to access special skills such as martial arts. It may sound like a generic action movie setup, particularly with how oversaturated the multiverse has become as a storytelling device, but the film manages to stand out through its characters. They are all well developed, and they benefit from the ability to interact with multiversal variants of themselves to enhance their character arcs. The relationship between Evelyn and her daughter across multiple universes is particularly well written and acted by Michelle Yeoh and Stephanie Hsu. The film also benefits from using the multiverse to allow for absurdist storytelling and humor. Since new universes are created for every action, inaction, or movement of a particle, there is room to explore universes with a much more nonsensical history. For example, for a quick joke they visit a universe where mankind evolved into having hot dogs for fingers. The interesting aspect of this absurdism is that every one of these one-off multiverse jokes have plot relevance towards the themes and motivations of the main characters, and in the climax the same scenes you were laughing at become gut-wrenching. When I first saw it, I thought the movie went on for too long, but upon a rewatch, I realize every single one of the scenes is necessary in some way.



Top Gun: Maverick

Top Gun: Maverick is exciting. While this film technically is a sequel to the classic eighties movie, it feels like a soft-reboot, recycling major parts of the original film. The basic premise will feel familiar to anyone who saw the first movie. Top pilots train at Top Gun for missions before embarking on a final flight through the danger zone. Many plot points  are reused as well. For example, not only does the son of one of the characters from the original movie play an important role in this one, Maverick replicates several of the iconic scenes from the first one. While having these elements, the story continues on with Maverick’s story and the grief over his copilot’s death. So while the scenarios might be similar, seeing how he reacts differently to them, thanks to his character growth, is extremely interesting. The story also has a much tighter structure than the first film. While the original does not have much in the way of conflict until the third act other than personal struggles, Top Gun: Maverick immediately establishes both external and internal conflict for the characters, and makes the stakes clear. There is also a ton of passion put into it with the use of actual planes rather than CG. So while the story may lean a bit too close to the original, the extra effort put into it makes this the definitive Top Gun experience.



Nope is so close to perfection. Jordan Peele is well renowned in the horror scene, and he delivered a well paced, acted, and directed story here. This film knows what the audience expects it to be and teases the horror and alien elements of it throughout the first act. It uses the fact that the audience is likely aware of the genre’s tropes and uses that fact to catch them off guard. For example, at a moment of heightened tension, the film throws multiple classic horror moments which turn out to be fake jumpscares, to get you more tense for when the actual scary parts happen. It wants you to expect something ordinary before delivering the extraordinary. It says a lot when you go into a movie expecting scary aliens and the most terrifying part of the movie was with a monkey. Nope is also a masterclass of Chekhov’s Gun, a storytelling principle where every element introduced into a story has to be used for a purpose. Every detail introduced in Act One has some sort of relevance in Act Three. There is one exception to this, however, which is the aforementioned monkey. The film opens with a monkey going on a rampage and killing several people, and one of the survivors is introduced in Act One. Being the first scene of the movie, one would expect this to be important. However, the survivor barely gets any development, and the scene is never relevant to the alien abduction plot line besides both of them having the same theme. They may be connected thematically, but the lack of integration between the A and B plots is what keeps this movie from perfection for me.


Thor: Love and Thunder

Thor: Love and Thunder is frustrating. It stars an extremely talented cast of Chris Hemsworth, Christian Bale, Natalie Portman, and Russell Crowe, and with a well known director like Taika Waititi this should have been an easy win for Marvel. However, Taika Waiti’s directing style clashes with the dark tone that this movie should have had. Looking at all the elements individually – Thor’s grief following the events of Avengers Endgame, Gorr losing everything and swearing revenge on the gods, Jane Foster suffering from terminal cancer – all this was screaming a more grounded and serious tone. That is the tone that was used by Jason Aaron’s critically acclaimed Thor comics from which this movie was adapted. But the movie was so comedic that it felt like nothing had any weight, so much so that when a character was gravely injured I said out loud “They’ll be fine.” This is accompanied by a poorly paced story which spends so much time on frivolous fetch quests and not enough on Christian Bale’s fantastic performance as Gorr the God Butcher, the main villain of the movie. Waititi once said in an interview that this movie was originally four hours long, and two hours of it were left on the cutting room floor. Obviously a four hour movie is ludicrously long, but losing two hours of a movie’s content explains the poor pacing and how nothing was given time to breathe. The visual effects were also surprisingly poor by Marvel’s standards, though that may have been impacted by the VFX Artist controversy Marvel Studios has been involved with. While there are some good elements like excellent performances and a strong ending, overall this film feels like a victim of Marvel rushing out their projects. Marvel is coming out with twice as many projects in five years as they had in ten years, and I feel if that continues then many other films will have similar quality to Thor: Love and Thunder.