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Media Essays: 2022 in Review

Happy New Year's Eve everybody!

We're now on the last day of 2022 and ready to welcome 2023 the next day. But before we close out this year, I'd like to go over this year in terms of media and what we've been through in 2022.

This year was...not great, I think we can all agree on that. True the COVID pandemic may have died down significantly and far less people are dying from it now, but that doesn't mean things are any better. From real world tragedies to the war in Ukraine to the cost of living crisis caused by said war and too many incompetent idiots in power making a mess of everything and so much more, it's been a rough year for most of us and a year I'm sure plenty of us are keen to move on from and forget about.

In terms of media, we've had some pretty bad lows that can't be overlooked. The Dragon Prince made its three year wait not worth it in the end with a terrible fourth season, Young Justice also had a terrible fourth season and got cancelled (again), Warner Bros. has purged near enough everything they have because they're in terrible dire straits, Black Adam pretty much killed the DCEU as we know it thanks to bombing at the box office, Disney's new CEO was such an incompetent moron that he got fired and replaced by the old one, Disney+ gave us two terrible Star Wars shows that only further proves why Disney shouldn't be in charge of this franchise, The Owl House got cut short because Disney somehow thinks it "doesn't fit their brand", Pixar had a rough year with Turning Red going straight to streaming while Lightyear bombed due to an uncertain audience, Yu-Gi-Oh! lost its beloved creator, Transformers got a new cartoon...and it sucks, Disney embarrassed themselves with yet another pointless live-action remake that was so bad even the critics weren't willing to defend it, Chip N' Dale Rescue Rangers made a comeback in the worst way possible while also insulting the late Bobby Driscoll with no shame whatsoever, Disney's new animated movie bombed hard due to a lack of marketing and sadly, anti-woke YouTubers are still infecting the site and promoting their disgusting hate speech and immoral values with their garbage content with nothing being done to silence them.

But this year also has its pluses from the media too. Doctor Who concluded its recent era on a high note and has wasted no time hyping us up for what's to come in the future, we finally got a good Sonic the Hedgehog game after the disastrous 2010's decade that did him no favours, his movie also got a great sequel and he's got a hit new show on Netflix, England finally managed to take home another trophy after winning the Women's Football Tournament, Ash Ketchum finally managed to become a Pokémon Master after defeating Leon in the recent anime, the Pokémon franchise proved itself ready to evolve into the next step of gaming with Legends Arceus and Scarlet & Violet, Top Gun finally managed to get its long-awaited sequel and broke all kinds of box office records as a result, Guillermo del Toro finally managed to release his version of Pinocchio and has been showered with praise for how good it is, DreamWorks released a sequel to Puss in Boots that defied expectations for how good it is, Disney have been improving a little on their LGBT representation, The Owl House took the world by storm with its huge, impactful second season and so much more!

So yeah, this year has had its ups and downs as any year does. With any luck, we'll have more ups and less downs next time. But for now, let's finish off 2022 with a memorium to those we've lost, a recap on my 2022 experiences and reviews and a taster of what's to come for this blog next year.

Let's dive in...

In Memoriam

This year saw the departure of many beloved celebrities and big name figures in the world. Let us take a moment to pray for them and remember those we've lost in 2022...

Meat Loaf 1947 - 2022 (rock star, singer of "Bat out of Hell" and "I Would Do Anything for love)

Irene Cara 1959 - 2022 (famed singer, singer of "What A Feeling" and "Fame")

Jason David Frank 1973 - 2022 (Power Rangers star, played Tommy Oliver in MMPR)

Robbie Coltrane 1950 - 2022 (actor, known for movies and TV shows such as the Harry Potter franchise, From Hell and Blackadder)

Angela Lansbury 1925 - 2022 (actress, star of Murder She Wrote and voice of Mrs. Potts in Disney's Beauty and the Beast)

Coolio 1963 - 2022 (rapper, singer of "Gangsta's Paradise")

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the II 1926 - 2022 (Queen of England, currently the longest reigning monarch in the UK)

Olivia Newton John 1948 - 2022 (actress and singer, played Sandy in Grease, singer of "Hopelessly Devoted To You")

Gilbert Gottfried 1955 - 2022 (actor and comedian, played Iago in Disney's Aladdin)

Raymond Briggs 1934 - 2022 (author, writer of The Snowman and Father Christmas)

Kazuki Takahashi 1961 - 2022 (manga artist and writer, creator of the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise)

Bearnard Cribbins 1928 - 2022 (actor and singer, known for Doctor Who and The Wombles)

Nichelle Nichols 1932 - 2022 (actress, known for the Star Trek franchise)

James Caan 1940 - 2022 (actor, known for movies such as Elf and The Godfather Parts 1 & 2)

Ray Liotta 1954 - 2022 (actor, known for movies such as The Goodfellas and Field of Dreams)

Ivan Reitman 1946 - 2022 (film director, director of movies such as Ghostbusters and The Kindergarten Cop)

Kevin Conroy 1955 - 2022 (voice actor, known for voicing Batman in various DC medias)

Carlo Bonomi 1937 - 2022 (Italian voice actor, known for providing all the voices in the original dub of Pingu)

May these people never be forgotten for the impact they've had on pop culture and our media over the years. May they all rest in peace.

Now the sad part's out of the way, let's recap the year and go over what medias I've indulged in and reviewed for 2022...

Media I've Reviewed

This was quite a year in terms of media and a welcome return to the cinema for me after COVID threw a wrench in those plans in the previous two years. For 2022 media, I've seen and/or reviewed...

Pokémon Legends Arceus: Pokémon's next big step into open-world gameplay. The game is easily Pokémon's best title since Pokémon Platinum thanks to offering a more unique gameplay experience, an engaging story that is beyond your typical Pokémon story, more challenging difficulty and explorative gameplay that makes for a fun playthrough. Some lacking graphics and underdeveloped characters hold it back slightly but not enough to ruin the experience. Read my review here.

The Book of Boba Fett Season 1: A show that had so much promise, yet failed to deliver. A premise as cool as "a show about Boba Fett" is sullied by poor writing, VERY strange story-telling priorities, an undignified portrayal of Boba Fett himself, wasted use of fan-favourite characters such as Cad Bane and slow pacing. It also manages to ruin prior shows with its developments such as The Mandalorian Season 2. The only thing it has going for it is great cinematography (barring the poor chase scene in one episode), fantastic costume design and CGI and a cool climax in the last episode. Oh and the theme song is awesome too. Definitely NOT a book worth reading if you ask me. Read my review here.

The Batman: Probably the best movie I've seen all year. It's another worthy addition to the Dark Knight's legacy thanks to the fantastic cinematography and direction from Matt Reeves, a suspenseful story that keeps you on the edge of your seat, dark tone, multi-layered world-building that shows a lot of thought went into crafting this movie, intense action scenes, a focus on the detective side of Batman that most other adaptations forget to include and a powerful performance from the cast with special mention going to Robert Pattinson as Batman. The story is held back a little by a few too many characters and a long pace that makes it feel like it's going on longer than it needs to and also The Riddler feels more like Anarky or Hush than The Riddler in this film. Still, the movie is not only the best movie of 2022, but one of the best Batman movies ever. Read my review here.

Turning Red: One of my favourite movies of the year and one of the best Pixar movies in recent years. Turning Red is yet another example of Pixar excelling in taking weird ideas and making them work with a story that is not only funny and enjoyable to watch, but able to talk about things like puberty and periods in a child friendly way and goes over how growing up can be a challenge but it's nothing to be scared of and you should embrace the changes in yourself. The plot is a tad recycled with many similarities to Encanto and Brave and the stuff around Tyler is a big no-no from me but overall, Turning Red is another Pixar classic and a highly recommended watch. Read my review here.

The Bad Guys: A surprise hit from DreamWorks that was a lot better than it had any right to be. The story maybe predictable (especially with its twist villain) but it makes up for that with some charmingly likeable characters, gorgeous animation that manages to be pretty and fun to look at, absolutely hilarious comedy that makes for an enjoyable watch and a sweet and relevant message on how people shouldn't be judged by who they are and that they can be capable of doing good. Not my favourite thing I watched all year but definitely one of the most fun films of 2022. Read my review here.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2: The first movie ended up being surprisingly good. But the sequel, to no one's surprise, ended up being even better. This film felt more like a legitimate Sonic movie thanks to the inclusion of Tails and Knuckles and much of the game's lore with the Master Emerald and such and the story manages to be a fun, exciting adventure story with a growing friendship between Sonic and Tails, some awesome action scenes, Jim Carrey at his Jim Carreyest, some cool looking CGI and some decent comedy. It's not all great as we have that dumb GUN subplot that should've been dropped entirely, Rachel and Maddie steal Tails's thunder at one point and it doesn't juggle all its characters all that well. Still, this sequel is a huge improvement over the first Sonic movie and I hope all other Sonic movies going forward will follow its example. Read my review here.

Top Gun Maverick: The highest grossing movie of 2022 and a high-flying sequel to Top Gun. The sequel flies high in the sky thanks to a good story that follows on from the original while also paying tribute to it, meaningful fan-service that can feel rewarding to long-time fans, some intense action scenes involving the high flying action we expect from a Top Gun movie, an enjoyably retro soundtrack, great looking cinematography and a welcome return from Tom Cruise himself as the main man of the franchise. It's also one of those rare modern sequels that respects the original too. It has some minor flaws like suggesting it has an old vs. new message only to drop it really quickly, very few returning characters with Maverick's old love interest not even getting a mention and not all the new characters are memorable. But regardless, I think Tony Scott would've been proud of this sequel and I know that it's a movie both fans and non-fans can enjoy. Read my review here.

The Owl House Season 2: The Owl House was already great from Season 1. Season 2 just made it even better. The story gets more engaging than before thanks to more focus on world-building and character development, the characters become more complex and have surprising revelations that can change the way you'll see them forever, the development of Luz and Amity's romance continues to be adorable and feels ultimately satisfying when they finally kiss in the end, episodes that sound like filler yet they end up being important to the plot, a lot of heart and some enjoyable comedy. Season 2 truly expands on what came before and improves on it to make something even greater. It does have some issues like the scrying spell plot point that went nowhere, some characters that didn't get anywhere near enough focus and The Collector just being the new villain with a lack of build-up to establish him beforehand. But Season 2 remains a very strong outing for The Owl House and I can't wait to see how it ends. Read my review here.

Jurassic World Dominion: The third instalment of the Jurassic World movies and a semi-solid conclusion to the trilogy. What could've been an interesting movie about dinosaurs living in our everyday lives is held back by weak world-building that suggests we were going to get that kind of story but instead it's just a set piece for the dinosaurs to get caught up in action scenes with and it instead ends up being another heist movie with not much to offer. Also they ret-con Maisie's backstory from the second movie which only ends up making me ask what the point was and it retroactively ruins Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom as a result. And also Lewis Dodgson is a weak as all hell villain. As is, the film manages to be somewhat entertaining thanks to some cool action scenes and great fan-service with the return of Alan Grant, Ellie Settler and Ian Malcolm and a great mix of the old and the new working together with neither side outshining the other. But still, this movie could've been even greater if it delivered what it promised. Read my review here.

Lightyear: Pixar's other movie they released in 2022...and it's certainly not as great as Turning Red. The movie has some merits to it like Pixar's usual trademark beautiful animation, some cool action scenes in space, a good message on how you shouldn't be so overly focused on fixing your one mistake and you shouldn't take things in life for granted and it has some cool concepts. Also Sox is the star of this movie, try and change my mind on that. =P But all that is sullied by a predictable paint-by-numbers plot, an overly preachy message on fixing mistakes, a lame twist with Emperor Zurg and some comedy that's not all that great. Lightyear is by no means bad, but it could've been so much better. Read my review here.

Elvis: It's about time we had a biopic on Elvis Presley and they really made a big show about it. The story is the kind you'd expect from these biopics about famous singers and it doesn't do anything new or creative with the plot and it also suffers from being too over-the-top and in your face with all the visuals and music so the viewing experience feels more exhausting than enjoyable as a result. But it was still an interesting watch as it delves into Elivs's life, the struggles he had to go through and they make the musical moments a show-stopping highlight at least. All this and some great acting from Tom Hanks and Austin Butler make for a fun biopic about one of history's greatest singers. Read my review here.

Young Justice Phantoms: Young Justice was a great cartoon in its Cartoon Network days and its return was welcome...and then we watched it and now we wish it never came back. Outsiders got us off to a bad start and Phantoms only made things worse. The story is a series of four-parters or five-parters focused around a different character and all this results in is an unfocused mess of a season that is spinning way too many plates at once and ends up failing to deliver on multiple fronts as a result. Some of the arcs such as Zatanna's, Kaldur'ahm's, Rocket's and Nightwing's barely even feel like they're ABOUT them! The story also has a lot of predictable outcomes, namely Superboy turning out to be alive in the end or Cassandra Savage being the spy, and wastes a lot of potential developments for characters like Mary Marvel or Beast Boy. Also it keeps the slow pacing of Season 3 in how the plot still feels like it hasn't gone anywhere yet. With how bad it was, it honestly feels more like a blessing than a curse that the show got cancelled a second time. Read my review here.

Obi-Wan Kenobi Season 1: If you thought The Book of Boba Fett was disappointing, this show manages to be even more so. Obi-Wan Kenobi Season 1 had no business being as bad as it was. As is, the show is just like The Book of Boba Fett in how its premise is held back by poor pacing, questionable story-telling priorities, weak characters and some really dumb moments that hold it back from being good. The story is riddled with plot-holes and continuity errors that don't match up with other Star Wars media and also gives us one of the worst villains ever in the form of Reva who gets an out-of-nowhere redemption arc...because. Aside from some good visuals and great acting from Ewan McGregor, this show is not strong with the Force whatsoever and again proves why Disney shouldn't be in charge of Star Wars. Read my review here.

Black Adam: The latest instalment in the DCEU and sadly the one that's killed it for good. It's a pity the film didn't do any better as it truly was a cool watch with some entertaining and awesome action scenes, creative visuals and cinematography, great acting from Dwayne Johnson, Pierce Brosnan and others, a near spot-on portrayal of Black Adam and some world-building that remains true to DC lore. Also Henry Cavill's Superman makes a cameo. That's a plus. XD But it also suffers from poor pacing, an underdeveloped status quo that should've been the focus of the movie yet it isn't, a tone where it can't decide if it wants to be a dark superhero action flick or a comedy and the plot itself is pretty standard as far as superhero movies go. Still, Black Adam was an enjoyable watch and really deserved better in my eyes. Still, hopefully the DCEU can go in a good new direction with James Gunn in charge. Read my review here.

The Dragon Prince Season 4: How did they spend THREE years working on this series and somehow have it turn out as badly as it did? The Dragon Prince Season 4 returns on such a low note with a plot that is sullied by an unnecessary time skip, a wildly inconsistent tone that over relies on humour, an overstuffed plot that has too many characters to juggle at once, poor pacing that is brought on by said overstuffed plot, a subplot that feels more like filler, character interactions that SHOULD be happening being left out and a LOT of dumb things happening because of the characters being complete morons. This season really had no business being as bad as it was and will forever be a black mark on what was otherwise a really damn good show. Hopefully Season 5 will be an improvement but I'm not holding my breath... Read my review here.

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet: Legends Arceus walked so this game could run. These games finally give us the open-world Pokémon experience fans have been asking for since the jump to 3-D and it makes for a fun and enjoyable Pokémon adventure that truly feels like the franchise has entered the 21st century. True the games feel more like your standard Pokémon fare which might feel a step-back from Legends Arceus but I enjoy them for the open world gameplay, the story that's actually pretty interesting and has above average writing for a Pokémon game, fun new characters, cool new Pokémon designs and some pretty looking scenery. But the games are held back a little by technical issues that make it feel like a rush-job, low difficulty, no level scaling and a Champion that doesn't even try to be challenging. As is, Scarlet and Violet are great Pokémon games and I hope we continue going in this direction for the franchise going forward. Read my review here.

Strange World: Disney's latest animated movie...and one of their blandest outings at that. It's easy to see why they barely marketed this thing because of how not-interesting it turned out to be. The main thing it has going for it is a creative looking alien world, a clever twist with said world, actual good LGBT representation for once (which is saying a lot coming from Disney) and some gorgeous animation that is typical of Disney films but all that is let down by a painfully generic plot, an inconsistent tone where it tries to be three different things at once and fails as a result, a dysfunctional family dynamic that's only hurting the story instead of enhancing it and a lot of annoying clichés that make it tedious to watch. It had so much potential to be a fun action adventure movie but the annoyingly cliched plot just holds it back like so and it made for one heck of a bland viewing as a result. Read my review here.

And now for some media I haven't reviewed yet but have experienced in 2022:

Doctor Who: The Power of the Doctor: It was a flawed but fun conclusion to the Chibnall era of Doctor Who that had some lovely fan-service, great visuals, great acting, very funny moments and a heartfelt send-off for the 13th Doctor. Could've been better, but I would say it's a decent enough finale.

LEGO Star Wars The Skywalker Saga: It's a LEGO game that shows much promise and has the usual fun stuff we expect from a LEGO game but it falters thanks to poor retellings of the stories of the Star Wars movies and being riddled with glitches that ended up being a pain to deal with and soured the gameplay experience for me. Full review will come next year.

Sonic Frontiers: I'm still yet to play the game in full but I've seen all the cutscenes so I at least know what the story is like. And as far as Sonic games go, the story is the best we've had since Sonic Unleashed and Sonic and the Black Knight. It has a lot of neat call-backs to the franchise while also addressing criticisms of the 2010's era of Sonic and building story on it while delivering a meaningful message of how things change and people move on but it doesn't have to be a bad thing. Also everything about Sage is so good. Full review will come next year.

Freedom Planet 2: The long-awaited sequel to the hit indie game Freedom Planet finally gets here and while I haven't played it, I've seen the cutscenes so I can comment on the story for now. And the story is genuinely an improvement over before. With a more balanced tone, even focus on the four main leads, a more complex plot that has major surprises and big reveals for us, multi-layered world-building that expands on the original world set up in the first game and some damn good comedy, the story of Freedom Planet 2 is a riot and I enjoyed watching all the cutscenes. The constant betrayals and twists on who's really a villain do get old real fast though, Spade is completely irrelevant and only exists to give Lilac a convenient excuse to explain her origin story and Aaa is just annoying. But the story is still solid and I hope to play the game itself in the future. May review it when that happens.

There's some 2022 media I haven't seen yet but still plan to watch such as Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio, Sonic Prime, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish and Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi. Reviews on them may come in the future.

Plans For Next Year

2023 will be a new beginning for many of us and this blog is no exception. I thank you all for reading, following and commenting on this blog over the year and I hope you've enjoyed my work on it and all the content I've provided for you to indulge in.

So what's coming for 2023? I do have a few ideas cooking up inside my head right now. I'll be checking out any new shows, games or movies that catch my eyes next year of course, more fanfics will be coming to the blog with a sequel to Knights of Galar: A Pokémon Shield Nuzlocke coming up soon, more essays and countdowns will be on their way and above all else, I will also be celebrating Disney's upcoming centenary anniversary. Yes, the company turns 100 next year and I'm not missing out on that! I will be providing more Disney related posts and I'll give you all a monthly essay series titled "100 facts about Disney" with each essay containing 10 facts until we reach 100. And of course, I'll celebrate the occasion with a review on Disney's new movie they're making to celebrate said centenary year with Wish.

I hope you'll enjoy what's to come for next year and I hope to see all of you again throughout 2023. Thank you all for joining me in 2022 and I hope you all have a Happy New Year. See you in 2023 everyone!

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