Netflix churns out dozens of original films a year, with some of its 2022 entries standing far above the rest in terms of critical appeal.
The upcoming release of The Gray Man has Netflix subscribers everywhere excited. Over the last several years, the streaming giant Netflix has worked diligently to bolster its own original content to compete with that of television networks and big-time movie studios. As such, the streamer releases dozens of films from all over the world each year.
2022 has been a major year for Netflix, which has released many films in the first half of the year alone. While not every Netflix original film has been a critical success, certain entries into the streamer’s catalog have proven to stand above the rest, especially according to the Internet Movie Database.
Against the Ice is a historical drama starring Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Charles Dance, and Heida Reed. The film is based on the true story of a troubled voyage around Greenland, as told in Two Against the Ice, a novel written by Captain Ejnar Mikkelsen, whom Coster-Waldau portrays in the Netflix original film.
Critics and fans were divided on Against the Ice, with praise directed at the performances therein, but with the film ultimately feeling rather derivative of other survival stories. Nevertheless, the film contains enough heart-racing scenes of near-death to keep the audience intrigued throughout its runtime.
Metal Lords is a coming-of-age teen drama about a group of high schoolers who start a heavy metal band with the intent of winning an upcoming music competition. Written by Game of Thrones‘ D.B. Weiss and starring a host of fresh faces, the film was released exclusively on Netflix on April 8th, 2022.
The well-received Metal Lords joins the musical coming-of-age genre which, though oversaturated, never quite gets old with audiences. While the film may not be a cinematic masterpiece, it boasts enough heart and humor to provide a quick and breezy good time for any interested audience members.
The sci-fi hit The Adam Project is the second team-up between Ryan Reynolds and director Shawn Levy. The film explores the nature of fatherhood and maturity as Reynolds portrays an older version of protagonist Adam Reed. The film sports a talented cast that includes Walker Scobell, Jennifer Garner, Mark Ruffalo, and Zoe Saldaña.
While The Adam Project inevitably draws comparisons to Reynolds and Levy’s previous film Free Guy, it stands on its own as a testament to unique storytelling with a basic premise and an abundance of emotion. Scobell in particular is able to keep up with his seasoned scene partners, marking the beginning of what is sure to be a long and prosperous career for the up-and-coming actor.
The Invisible Thread, also known as Il Filo Invisibile, is an Italian-language film about a boy who comes to a new level of self-discovery regarding himself and his seemingly perfect family after embarking on a journey to understand certain prejudiced views in the world.
The film weaves together elements of political and social commentary while also attempting to be a heartfelt family drama. These themes inevitably clash, leaving many audiences uninterested in the film, which has failed to gain traction on Netflix since its release in February.
After an award-winning run at the Busan International Film Festival in 2021, Penyalin Cahaya, also known as Photocopier, hit American Netflix in January of 2022. This Indonesian crime drama tells the hair-raising tale of an abusive voyeur’s victims as they attempt to get to the bottom of their criminal activities.
This film received great praise during its film festival run, winning a dozen Citra Awards during its time at the BIFF. Though the movie struggled to find its audience in America, it remains a record-setting indie film, especially in its country of origin.
After premiering at the BFI London Film Festival in 2021, Munich: The Edge of War hit Netflix earlier this year, telling the story of a pre-WWII Germany and the rise of Nazism. With a screenplay adapted from the Robert Harris novel of the same name, Munich sports a cast of brave characters, played by recognizable actors, including the great Jeremy Irons as British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain.
Critics generally praised the film upon its release, particularly for the steady direction of Christian Schwochow. Irons also turns in a memorable performance as Chamberlain, with his costars managing to admirably fill in the gaps. Ultimately, the film manages to capture the rise of Nazism in Germany, leading to the outbreak of the Second World War.
The House is a British dark comedy anthology film following three separate stories all taking place in the same house. The movie is filmed in stop-motion and stars an expansive cast, including the talents of Mia Goth, Miranda Richardson, Helena Bonham Carter, and more.
The House received nearly universal praise from critics, who lauded the absurdity of the tales therein, which somehow never seemed to lose their sense of wonder despite the strange nature of the script. Fans proved to be slightly more divided on the film than critics, however, with mixed reviews signaling that not each of the three storylines resonated equally with audiences.
Rescued by Ruby joins the long list of films based on true stories about a dog and its people. The film’s plot revolves around a man who longs to join the K-9 search-and-rescue team of state police, finally achieving his dream after partnering with the titular dog, Ruby. The film stars Grant Gustin and Scott Wolf, alongside Bear the dog as Ruby.
Rescued by Ruby flew under the radar of many viewers, failing to pick up much of a following after its release, yet garnered mostly positive reviews from critics. The film may not reinvent its genre, but it does suffice as a heartfelt story with plenty of canine fun for the dog-loving viewers at home.
Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Adventure is an animated film taking place just before Apollo 11’s moon landing. A young boy, Stanley, fantasizes about being whisked away on an adventure as exciting as that of Apollo 11’s, imagining himself as the first man to land on the moon. The film stars an impressive voice cast, which includes Jack Black and Zachary Levi.
This received mostly positive reviews from critics upon release, who praised the direction of Richard Linklater. Apollo 10 1/2‘s emotional and fantastical storytelling was also the subject of critical praise, though the film ultimately slipped under the notice of Netflix’s general audience.
Adam Sandler continues his pivot to drama with Hustle, wherein he portrays NBA scout Stanley Sugarman who works tirelessly to help a talented young man, played by Juancho Hernangómez, achieve his dream of playing basketball professionally. The film also includes cameos from several real-life NBA players and a star-studded cast.
In the weeks after its release, Hustle received widespread acclaim, particularly for Sandler’s performance, with the comedian proving to be the film’s most crucial asset. The movie has also proven to be quite popular, garnering a remarkable following only one month after its initial streaming release.
NEXT: Adam Sandler’s 10 Best Roles, Ranked From Most Comedic To Most Dramatic
Jordan Iacobucci is an avid reader and movie fan, and has been since childhood. Jordan is known among his friends as the Marvel and Star Wars nerd, and even wrote a thirty-page college dissertation about Spider-Man! He is currently obtaining an English degree and lives outside Raleigh, North Carolina with his family. His other interests include working with children, reading, and music.