2022 pushed the envelope for the medium of animation.
2022 was a great year for animation, with the medium soaring to new heights with fantastic productions from around the world. While Disney and Pixar are usually the leaders in the space, 2022 saw several creators and studios move past those usual suspects to produce some of the year's best films. Animation isn't just a genre for children, as the medium often explores mature topics with a deft hand and emotional resonance.
While several animated films were adored by critics this year, they also struck a chord with fans, reflected by their scores on IMDb. Some of these animated movies stand as the highest-rated films on the platform, and they will surely still be discussed for years to come. Even legendary filmmakers such as Guillermo del Toro use the medium to explore fantastic new worlds with this unique filmmaking tool.
The Bad Guys are a group of animal criminals, each with a unique talent. Led by the cunning Mr. Wolf (Sam Rockwell), the gang regularly commits robberies until they are finally arrested. They are given a chance to be released by engaging in a rehabilitation program, thus becoming "The Good Guys."
The Bad Guys is an entertaining and funny heist movie that people of all ages will enjoy. Rockwell is joined by a talented voice cast that includes Awkwafina, Anthony Ramos, and Zazie Beetz, each bringing life to an assortment of unique characters in this underrated movie from Dreamworks.
Cultural icons of the 1990s, Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe brings the two beloved slackers into the 21st century. The movie finds the duo still living in 1998: through a series of disastrous events, they find themselves as astronauts who get sent through a wormhole into 2022, with predictably chaotic results.
Do the Universe is a loving revival of the characters and harbors the same juvenile humor it contained over twenty years ago. While this form of comedy is not for everyone, those who enjoy it will find plenty to love in this throwback to the age of The Great Cornholio as the two teens keep trying and failing to score.
Another beloved TV show that received a feature film in 2022, The Bob's Burgers Movie catches up with the Belchers as they are forced to contend with a large sinkhole in front of their store. As Bob and Linda try to keep the restaurant operational, the kids investigate a mystery hidden within their town.
The movie serves as a bridge between seasons 12 and 13 of the show and functions as an extended episode of sorts. All the humor and heart that the show is known for are on full display, meaning fans are in for a treat. It also serves as a good entry point for newcomers, as no prior knowledge of the series is needed to enjoy it.
A revival of the classic cartoon from the late '80s, Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers is a meta-comedy that follows the titular characters in the aftermath of fame. Relegated to has-beens, Chip and Dale must begrudgingly reunite to save an old friend of theirs after he becomes the victim of a kidnapping plot.
Functioning like a 21st-century Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Rescue Rangers is a visual wonder as animated characters, both 2D and 3D, mingle on-screen with human actors. It is packed full of recognizable characters in cameo roles, and half the fun is spotting each new character as they swiftly appear in the background.
Mei Ling is your typical teenage girl. She has a great group of friends, is obsessed with music, and transforms into a red panda whenever she gets excited. As Mei grapples with this new revelation, she tries to be a good daughter while wishing for the freedom to explore her needs.
Turning Red is another success from Pixar, and it sets itself apart from the studio's long list of great movies by focusing on the scary monster that is adolescence. It is a time period that everyone must endure, sans panda transformation, so it results in a storyline that everybody can relate to in one way or another.
Set in a world where sea beasts wreak havoc against humanity, hunters regularly set out aboard their ships to hunt down the creatures. The most famous of these ships is the Inevitable, and a young orphaned girl named Maisie stows aboard the ship as she yearns to be a hunter, throwing the lives of the crew into turmoil.
Proving to be both a hit with critics and viewers, The Sea Beast quickly became the most successful animated movie to launch on Netflix. Thus, a sequel has already been announced, hopefully carrying on the original's mix of dazzling visuals and heartfelt humor.
While focusing a film on the pets of DC superheroes seems like a strange decision, the result is one of the best superhero movies of 2022. The plot follows Krypto (Dwayne Johnson), Superman's loyal dog who springs into action after his owner is kidnaped, recruiting a group of shelter pets who all gain superpowers.
DC League of Super-Pets is a great family movie as it combines an amusing script with cute animals that everyone can enjoy. The jokes land more often than they miss, and Johnson is supported by a great voice cast that includes Kevin Hart, Kate McKinnon, and Keanu Reeves as Batman, which proves an inspired choice.
Pitched as a Netflix special that accompanies Kid Cudi's album of the same name, Entergalactic is a story about love. When aspiring artist Jabari (Cudi) shares an encounter with his photographer neighbor Meadow (Jessica Williams), he immediately falls for her, and the film showcases their relationship.
It is rare to find an animated romantic comedy, and Entergalactic explores the sweet chemistry between Jabari and Meadow through a dazzling art style. Inspired by the likes of Into the Spider-Verse, Entergalatic has fun with the medium as it serenades its love story with unforgettable visual wonder.
Directed by the Academy Award-winner himself, Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio is a dark fantasy take on the famous story in classic del Toro fashion. Set during World War II, the film presents Pinocchio's story through stop-motion as he is created by a grieving father who begins to raise him as his own son.
Like most del Toro movies, Pinocchio was met with critical acclaim at its release, as it gives a new heart to the legendary tale in a way that Disney's recent remake failed to do. While it may be a little too dark for younger viewers, it is a wondrous work of art as del Toro puts his heart into what has been a passion project for decades.
One of the biggest surprises of 2022, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is an instant classic and the highest-rated animated movie of the year. Picking up after the events of the Shrek movies, Puss (Antonio Banderas) is still living as a carefree outlaw until an almost fatal encounter causes him to seek a fabled treasure that will bring back the eight lives he has lost thus far.
Arriving 11 years after the first movie, nobody expected The Last Wish to be as good as it is. But rather than pumping out a sequel fueled by nostalgia, the film showcases a fantastic animation style as it pits Puss and friends against a new wave of memorable foes in a fairytale mash-up with a lot of humor and a lot of heart.
KEEP READING: 10 Best DreamWorks Animated Movies, Ranked by Rotten Tomatoes
Ty is an Australian writer who enjoys horror movies, listening to the same bands he did fifteen years ago, and all the dogs. Yes, he would like a bite of your food, thank you.