Netflix’s Most Popular 2022 Movie Was A Critical Disaster

Netflix's The Gray Man was the most popular movie of 2022, but it was a miss with critics, as it has a 46% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

By Britta DeVore | Updated

netflix the gray man

It’s pretty safe to say that no 2022 Netflix film had more hype surrounding it than The Gray Man. With a star-studded cast backed by the legendary directorial eyes of the Russo brothers, the book-turned-film was a sure-fire hit, but according to the critics at Rotten Tomatoes, the film isn’t worth the buzz. The film currently sits on the rating site with a devastating 46% critic approval rating, and the Chris Evans and Ryan Gosling-led film may have been a hit for audiences, but it was a major miss for critics.

Netflix’s on-screen take on Mark Greaney’s book The Gray Man centers around two former CIA peers with one on a sinister mission to snuff out the other. The man on the run, known as “Sierra Six,” (Gosling) has stumbled upon a slew of dark secrets and atrocities carried out by his ex-coworker, Lloyd Hansen (Evans). As Sierra Six tries to escape from under Hansen’s thumb, a trained crew of assassins is on the way to make sure the agent breathes his last breath. 

Along with Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans, the film also stars Ana de Armas, Jessica Henwick, Dhanush, Regé-Jean Page, Julia Butters, Wagner Moura, Alfre Woodard, and Billy Bob Thornton. Known for creating mega-blockbusters including Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Avengers: Endgame, Anthony and Joe Russo, known collectively as the Russo brothers, were an easy decision on behalf of Netflix to make The Gray Man come to life. And, while the film didn’t exactly knock it out of the park for critics, viewers flocked to see the story’s events unfold. 

the gray man chris evans

Netflix’s The Gray Man quickly catapulted itself, becoming the most-viewed film in over 80 countries, soon earning the bragging rights of raking in more than 253 million hours of streaming time. Giving the fans more where that came from, Netflix quickly jumped on the idea to make the story into a franchise. So, if you disagree with the critics and enjoyed the Russo brothers’ latest action flick, you’re in luck because both a sequel and spinoff are on the way. 

It was a good year for Netflix subscribers as, all things The Gray Man aside, the streamer had several other big hits smash onto the platform. The Shawn Levy-helmed, Ryan Reynolds-led sci-fi drama The Adam Project performed incredibly well along with Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum’s teen romance, Purple Hearts. And fans of true crime couldn’t get enough when Netflix dropped their binge-worthy series The Tinder Swindler all the way back in February. 

Netflix will also be banking on the Russo brothers to provide them with two more productions over the next two years beyond any The Gray Man offshoots. The duo has signed on with the streamer to create both Extraction 2, which is due out in 2023 and a new sci-fi adventure film titled The Electric State, which will become available at some point in 2024. Like The Gray Man, both films will feature an all-star lineup of talent and storylines penned by some of the biggest names in the biz. 

In Extraction 2, Chris Hemsworth will reprise his role from the 2020 film as black ops mercenary Tyler Rake. While little is known about the film, we can expect more butt-kicking action in the next installment. Another book-turned-feature, The Electric State will star the likes of Millie Bobby Brown, Chris Pratt, Ke Huy Quan, and Stanley Tucci and will center around the story of a girl who’s sent a robot by her missing brother to help locate him.