Every Major Movie Sequel That Came Out In 2022, Ranked

List Rules
Vote up the sequels that lived up to - or surpassed - the originals.

Every cinematic year brings its share of sequels. 2022 was no different. If anything, we get way more sequels these days than ever before because studios have largely abandoned original stories in favor of franchises and IP-driven projects. They would rather spend money trying to make lightning strike twice - or two, three, or four times - than risk trying something new and unproven. Safe bets have become the name of the game in Hollywood.

Obviously, just because a movie is a sequel doesn't necessarily make it bad. Some of 2022's sequels were as good as, or even better than, the originals. Others were the worst case scenario - pictures that proved to be little more than pale retreads of their predecessors. The following list looks at every major movie sequel of the year. Reboots (like Confess, Fletch) and movies that are part of a bigger franchise (like Black Adam) don't count, just pure sequels.

  • Top Gun: Maverick is the rare sequel that's even better than the original. The 1986 Top Gun was a huge hit and is massively entertaining, but it's admittedly thin in the story department. Maverick has a much more cohesive plot with a better arc for lead character Pete Mitchell (played, of course, by Tom Cruise). The film relies on the oft-used idea of the student becoming the mentor. Mitchell is called back to Top Gun to prepare a new group of recruits for a nearly impossible-to-pull-off mission.

    Seeing the character go from rule-breaking hotshot to rule-breaking leader is deeply satisfying. Top Gun: Maverick also has a strong love interest for him (courtesy of Jennifer Connelly), dazzlingly authentic flying scenes, and a touching reunion between Mitchell and former rival “Iceman” (Val Kilmer). Even if the whole movie follows a well-worn formula, it executes that formula to the highest degree possible. Top Gun: Maverick absolutely owned the summer movie season, grossing more than $700 million domestically.

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  • 2
    478 VOTES
    Photo: Hulu

    No one truly cared about the Predator franchise since the 1987 original. That hit movie spawned multiple sequels and spinoffs, none of which made any significant impact at the box office or on pop culture. The studio kept trying to revitalize the franchise - with Predator 2, Predators, The Predator, and two Alien vs. Predator movies - only to be met with audience apathy. Prey finally turned things around, despite bypassing theaters and debuting on Hulu. 

    Amber Midthunder gives a star-making performance as Naru, a Comanche warrior who believes some kind of alien creature is lurking around the Great Plains. Her male counterparts dismiss her concerns. Of course, unlike her, most of them get eaten. Prey is filled with exciting action sequences, and by setting it in outdoor locations, even in a time period hundreds of years ago, the movie achieves a feel that's faithful to the original. The movie got people talking as soon as it hit the streaming service. It has the highest approval rating of any of the Predator movies on Rotten Tomatoes

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  • 3
    340 VOTES
    Glass Onion
    Photo: Netflix

    Rian Johnson's Knives Out was a good old-fashioned all-star murder mystery, albeit one with a distinctly sarcastic sense of humor. It was such a massive hit that Netflix offered Johnson a $400 million deal for two sequels. The first of those is Glass Onion. Because of the original's popularity, Netflix did something unusual, giving the movie a one-week theatrical run in just under 700 theaters in advance of its streaming debut. Even in semi-limited play, it cracked the box office top five for the weekend.

    Daniel Craig returns as detective Benoit Blanc. This time, he's on a Greek island, to which billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton) has invited a group of friends and associates. Miles is supposed to be the victim in a murder-related game, but the situation is thrown into chaos when someone else is murdered for real. The pleasure of Glass Onion is that, while considerably more over-the-top, it's just as entertaining as Knives Out was. Johnson creates a new set of characters who are every bit as colorful and memorable as those in the original, and he's crafted another mystery that's worth getting wrapped up in. Whereas many sequels fail to live up to their predecessors, the critical consensus was that this one does. 

  • When Marvel and Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson parted ways, the studio turned to the man who brought one of the first blockbuster Marvel films to the screen, Spider-Man's Sam Raimi. Since the plot for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness contains some creepy elements, Raimi - who cut his teeth on the Evil Dead series - was a natural choice. He amps up the horror factor, helping give the movie its own distinct identity while still fitting squarely into the MCU.

    The film's most divisive scene gave fans what they'd been clamoring for online for months, namely John Krasinski as Mr. Fantastic. YouTube and social media were flooded with videos of audiences going berserk for the cameo. Critics were less enthusiastic, though, pointing out that the scene - which features several other cameos, including Patrick Stewart as Professor X - brings the story to a screeching halt. Whether you love that shameless fan service or hate it, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness manages to deliver the MCU requisites while using its horror components to carve out an individual personality. 

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  • Minions: The Rise of Gru is a rare breed - a sequel to a prequel. More specifically, the first Minions was a prequel to the Despicable Me movies, and this one is a sequel to Minions. Got that? Either way, the film brings us Gru (Steve Carell) as a child, yearning to find a way of fulfilling his dream of becoming a supervillain. After trying and failing to join a villains group, he proceeds to outsmart them by stealing a valuable artifact they have in their possession. Gru's little yellow helpers aid in his efforts to avoid being captured once they get wind of his theft.

    The Minions are extremely popular, and there are no signs of them slowing down. Minions: The Rise of Gru was the highest-grossing of any of the Despicable Me-related movies. Much of that is due to the film's joyful silliness, best exemplified by a scene which finds the creatures hilariously posing as pilots to take control of an airplane they don't know how to fly. Their antics are just as funny as ever, appealing to adults and kids alike. The film was one of the summer's biggest hits.

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  • James Cameron's Avatar: The Way of Water isn't a simple rehash of the characters and events from the original. It's a rare sequel that expands upon those things. Colonel Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang) has been cloned as a Na'vi and is out to destroy Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and his family in retaliation for the defeat they handed him in the first film. The Sullys are forced to flee, taking up residence with a tribe of “sea people” led by Tonowari (Cliff Curtis) and his wife Ronal (Kate Winslet). There, they learn how to ride sea beasts, breathe underwater, and use new weapons. All of those things come in handy. Sigourney Weaver co-stars as Kiri, Jake and wife Neytiri's adopted daughter, who was borne from Grace Augustine, the character Weaver played in the first Avatar.

    Boasting visual effects even more breathtaking than those in its predecessor, Avatar: The Way of Water is a feast for the eyes. The many underwater sequences, in particular, are dazzling when viewed in the 3D format. You get immersed into the world of Pandora. But Cameron also has a story to tell, and he takes ideas introduced the first time and advances them to their next logical stage. Even if a few parts are a little corny or predictable, they work because he stages them in a highly entertaining fashion. Action sequences deliver all the excitement viewers expect from a Cameron film, with the final hour delivering non-stop thrills.