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Most Satisfying Movie Endings of 2022, From Babylon to The Batman

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Most Satisfying Movie Endings of 2022, From Babylon to The Batman

2022 has well and truly come to an end, and that means there’s no better time to look back on the best movie endings the year had to offer. It’s sometimes best to wait a short while after the end of a year anyway when it comes to a best-of ranking. After all, some of the year’s greatest movies are awards contenders that only get a limited release for the year they’re in competition, and then get a wide release in the early months of the following year.

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With many great movies released in 2022 came many great endings. These aren’t necessarily the best movies of the year, but they do represent some of 2022’s greatest and most memorable conclusions, highlighting the films that went out on a high note, whether they did so boldly, provocatively, or emotionally (or a bit of each).

This list contains spoilers for the movies discussed.


10 ‘Babylon’ – Cinema’s past, present, and future collide

Much of Babylon feels like a non-stop party, but it’s also a greatly bittersweet one. For all the hilarity, debauchery, and entertaining chaos, there’s a deep sadness to the film, given it’s a farewell to an era in Hollywood history (the silent film era) and also deals with the way people’s lives are destroyed in the pursuit of entertainment.

The film concludes with its central character, Manny, sitting down in a cinema to watch Singin’ in the Rain approximately 20 years after he left the film industry behind. He’s flooded with emotional memories, and though the musical’s parallels to his own life initially hurt, he also realizes he’s contributed to history. Through a montage, he then sees where cinema began, and where it will go in the coming decades. It drives home the eternal, ever-flowing, cyclical nature of film itself, and shows what the various characters in the movie – many of who are shown passing away before their time – ended up devoting their lives to.

The Menu - 2022 - ending
Image via Searchlight Pictures

The Menu is a broadly satirical comedy/thriller about a group of pretentious elites dining at a very unusual restaurant on a small island. Things seem a little off right from the get-go, with the head chef (Ralph Fiennes) clearly hiding things from the diners… though his plans are complicated when he realizes Anya Taylor-Joy’s character, Margot, isn’t like the other patrons.

Things get explosive when it’s revealed that the restaurant is to go up in flames, taking everyone with it. Taylor-Joy – and her cheeseburger – is the only one spared, with the final image of her digging into said burger while watching everything burn proving to be a memorable one.

8 ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ – Coming to terms with loss

Letitia Wright as Shuri in the end of Black Panther Wakanda Forever
Image via Marvel Studios

Making Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was always going to be an uphill battle after the series lost its main actor, Chadwick Boseman, in 2020. The loss of Boseman and his character, T’Challa, becomes the main through line of Wakanda Forever, and even if it’s not a perfect movie, its emotional high points undeniably hit hard.

The main character becomes Shuri, who not only has to deal with the passing of her brother, but also the sudden death of her mother and taking on the mantle of the Black Panther. It all hits in a quiet final scene, featuring Shuri remembering those she’s lost and taking the time to process what she’s been through. It’s amazingly acted, and made bittersweet when shortly after, she meets T’Challa’s son, Toussaint, who’s been living in Haiti with Nakia.

7 ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ – The power of family

Sam Worthington and Zoë Saldaña in 'The Way of Water'

Some may feel like the long-awaited Avatar: The Way of Water is too long, at over three hours. However, few will deny that it didn’t at least build to something spectacular, with a thrilling final hour packed with action and references to past James Cameron set pieces (most notably Titanic and The Abyss).

RELATED: ‘Avatar 2’ & Other Movies That Had Multi-Year Delays

It’s also an emotionally satisfying one, with the Sully family dealing with a great loss before coming together, working as a single unit, and living to fight another day. It’s a bittersweet but satisfying ending, concluding the epic-length film well while also leaving room for future Avatar sequels.

6 ‘Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery’ – Burning down the house (again)

The Mona Lisa on Fire in Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
Image Via Netflix

Like The Menu, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery sets its sights on ridiculing the rich and arrogant. Benoit Blanc’s second cinematic outing has him doing less intricate sleuthing than the first time around, mainly because the answers to the film’s mysteries were lying in plain sight, and mostly come to light because of the central antagonist’s stupidity.

In any event, it means another fiery and bombastic ending with a small moral victory against the villain, even if not much will change in the long run. Still, it’s fun and satisfying to see Edward Norton’s character taken down even just a little, as anything is better than nothing.

5 ‘Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio’ – Everyone dies, but life goes on

Sebastian J. Cricket in Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio
Image via Netflix

Those most familiar with the old Disney version of Pinocchio might be surprised by how dark Guillermo del Toro’s stop-motion animation adaptation gets. Right from the start, Geppetto’s backstory is a tragic one, and the version of Pinocchio he creates goes on adventures darker than many viewers might expect.

Things end relatively cleanly, before the epilogue, at least. It’s the film’s final scene which ends up being emotionally potent and genuinely sad, with Pinocchio’s family and friends all passing away, leaving him one by one. It almost feels like a stop-motion version of Six Feet Under’s iconic finale!

4 ‘White Noise’ – Dancing in the supermarket

Adam Driver as Jack shopping in a grocery story with Greta Gerwig as Babette and their children in White Noise
Image via Netflix

A strange mix of psychological horror and dark comedy, White Noise is an unusual movie, to say the least. It’s easy to point at certain scenes and single out what they’re trying to do, but other parts of the film feel deliberately oblique, and things continuously dart back and forth between quirky and flat-out incomprehensible across its 136-minute runtime.

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One of its undeniably winning sequences, however, is the final scene, which then segues into the end credits. It’s an extended music number, with people dancing around a supermarket to the ridiculously catchy “New Body Rhumba” by LCD Soundsystem. What does it mean? Or does the “what” even matter when the song is so good and the scene’s energy so infectious?

3 ‘Bones and All’ – True love consumes (literally)

Timothee Chalamet and Taylor Russell as Lee and Maren in Bones and All
Image Via MGM

Bones and All might not be a great date movie, but it’s certainly one of the best romance movies of 2022. It mixes in a coming-of-age story with surprisingly heartfelt romance, thanks to the excellent chemistry between its leads. It also just so happens to be about cannibalism.

It’s this horror angle that becomes particularly prevalent in the film’s gory and tragic climax. To explain it would make it sound more horrific than anything else, and it is undoubtedly horrific… but it’s also sad and strangely moving in its own way, even if what’s literally being shown on screen would sound exclusively shocking – and not exactly tearjerking – on paper.

2 ‘The Northman’ – Naked sword-fighting beside a volcano

Fjolnir as the base of the volcano in The Northman.

No one can fault The Northman for being audacious. It’s a huge movie packed with big performances and violent action scenes that are as brutal as they are exciting. It shows what filmmaker Robert Eggers can do with a decent-sized budget, and the results are often spectacular.

Its brazenness comes through in full force during the finale, which sees the protagonist and antagonist fighting a duel to the death. This duel happens next to a volcano that’s spewing lava all around. Also, they’re naked. It needs to be seen to be believed, but it somehow works 100%, delivering exactly the kind of huge and memorable climax that a big movie like The Northman essentially requires.

1 ‘The Batman’ – From inspiring fear to hope

The Batman - 2022 - ending
Image via Warner Bros. Pictures

Playing into neo-noir tropes more than any movie about Batman before it, 2022’s The Batman is long, less action-focused than expected, but utterly absorbing. Bruce Wayne/Batman here feels like a tortured film noir protagonist of old, narrating parts of the film and generally having a jaded, cynical outlook on life.

That does change towards the end though, where it becomes clear that this version of Bruce Wayne has undergone a huge character shift. He inspires nothing but fear and rules by force in the film’s opening scenes, yet by the end, has realized that inspiring hope may be better than fear. He selflessly saves lives in the climax, rather than solving things purely through blunt force, making for an emotional and surprisingly hopeful conclusion for Robert Pattinson’s first movie as the Caped Crusader.

NEXT: Movies That Took Their Sweet Time Coming to An End

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