The Best Title Sequences of 2022
In 2022, many of the world’s cinemas reopened after a long hiatus due to covid-19 pandemic restrictions and audiences have returned for popcorn and pomp, albeit slowly. The overarching trend among this year’s Top 10 Title Sequences is a clear response to this hiatus and the last couple of years. A whopping three of the sequences selected below prominently feature dance as an expression of joy and connection. Movement. Togetherness. We craved and revelled in it. Of course, there are also the requisite dark gems, typographic treasures and CGI stunners.
Chosen by Art of the Title’s panel of experts
The panel of judges for 2022 includes: Hassan Rahim, creative director and designer, 12:01; Michelle Higa Fox, Group Creative Director, Experience at BUCK; Nidia Dias, director; Jon Contino, founder and creative director, Contino Studio; Bee Grandinetti, director and designer; plus Art of the Title’s Editor-in-Chief Lola Landekic and founder Ian Albinson.
The list below includes title sequences that were choreographed, designed, shot, animated, composited, scripted, acted, edited and typeset by teams large and small all around the world. So sit back, relax and enjoy some of the most interesting and innovative work to hit screens in 2022.
Art of the Title's Top 10 Title Sequences of 2022
10. Jackass Forever
Title Sequence by Jeff Tremaine, Spike Jonze, Johnny Knoxville, et al.
The earth shakes. Diners on a patio look around, startled. A lapdog whimpers. It’s the opening to Jackass Forever, featuring a lumpy green creature lumbering down a miniature street, its plump undercarriage jiggling in a slow shuffle. Small hairs sprout from its flesh. It shoots lasers from its eyes. It is a penis.
It is, in fact, Chris Pontius’s penis – dubbed “Pontiusaurus” by the crew – as the sequence is relatively quick to reveal, pulling us into the joke. Dongzilla continues its destructive strut through this unnamed metropolis as the film’s cast, including Jackass regulars like Steve-O, Dave England, Wee Man, Danger Ehren, and Preston Lacy, are tossed around in porta-potties, exploded by grenades, flung off marquees and tackled by football players. Johnny Knoxville, having angered the viridescent beast with his tiny human weapons, is smushed against a glass wall. His clay head bursts like a cherry tomato.
The sequence is ostentatious, a hilarious mix of stunts, miniatures, stop-motion animation, and CGI wizardry that is at turns artful and awful, meticulous and messy. Cameos abound from actor Alia Shawkat and director (and Jackass co-creator) Spike Jonze to Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey and skateboarder Tony Hawk. Full of groaners and boners, the title sequence is a microcosm of Jackass as a whole, reminding us that tragedy is comedy and pain is inevitable but humour is always an option.
Titles Designed by Neal Jonas
Ti West’s prequel to X, his other 2022 feature, follows a young woman (Mia Goth) starved for stardom. The first five minutes, over which we see the opening credits, are an introduction to the titular Pearl, her lot in life, and the lengths to which she will go to change it. The soaring music by composers Tyler Bates and Tim Williams, the costumes by Malgosia Turzanska and the visions of super-saturated country life situate the film within the American cinematic landscape. "To be honest, those costumes [by Malgosia Turzanska] go a long way," said director Ti West speaking with The Playlist. "That situates people in the world. Even in the opening of the movie with the title sequence, it was like, 'Okay, here’s the first five minutes of the movie that teach you how to watch this movie.'"
The mood is vibrant, springy, unpredictable and very much in line with hyper-stylized Golden Age classics like The Wizard of Oz (1939) or Gone With the Wind (1939). The tone is further enhanced through credits typography designed by Neal Jonas, who previously worked with West on X (2022) and In A Valley of Violence (2016). The text emulates the hand-lettering often seen in early American cinema trailers and title cards and which is still often used by traditional sign-painters. The sun-dappled imagery and nostalgia are undercut, however, by the brutality of the on-screen action. Pearl pitchforks a goose, all white feathers and innocence and blood. Her name, framed in quotation marks, splays across the scene, large and in charge. An American idyll thrown to the gators.
Title Sequence by Charissa-Lee Barton, Sarofsky, et al.
John Cena, professional wrestler, actor, rapper, and now dancer, stares into the camera, his face blank under a gleaming helmet as he waves his arms and stomps his feet. The opening credits to Peacemaker, the HBO comic book show, take the form of a neon-lit dance routine to the tune of “Do Ya Wanna Taste It” by glam metal band Wig Wam, each moment revealing a new cast member. Whether hero, villain or civilian, the actors all affect a dead-faced expression and shimmy in serious synchronicity. The routine was choreographed by Charissa Barton and it takes place on a dark set – concrete, metallic, and dashed with pink and blue fluorescents. After getting minimal instruction from show creator James Gunn, whose script says merely "Peacemaker does a weird dance", Barton took inspiration from actor and dancer Bob Fosse to develop the steps and also tapped her husband, actor Alan Tudyk, to help visualize some of her ideas. The sequence is jaunty and delightful. It’s capped off by a group tableau, everyone panting and struggling to hold the final pose as the pièce de resistance, Peacemaker’s feathered friend Eagly, lands in the foreground.
It’s another swinging entry in Gunn’s growing collection of song-and-dance title sequences which also includes the openings to Guardians of the Galaxy volumes 1 and 2 and, most recently, the Holiday Special. The typography design comes care of studio Sarofsky, who provided the title graphics for the Guardians franchise as well. The Peacemaker sequence functions much like the previous Gunn intros, grounding the show in his trademark cheekiness.
7. Bad Sisters
Titles by Peter Anderson Studio
Five sisters and a funeral are at the center of the darkly comedic series Bad Sisters created by Sharon Horgan (who also stars), Brett Baer and David Finkel. The title sequence that introduces each episode was created by UK-based Peter Anderson Studio (Good Omens, Sherlock) and it features a fascinating contraption. First the eye of a badger, stuffed and mounted, pops out of its head and sets in motion a room-sized Rube Goldberg machine with parts that spin and cut, parts that push and shoot. It is made up of axes and apples, toy boats and pistols, family photographs and flame, and all tethered together by tight red yarn.
The song running alongside is “Who By Fire,” a minimal composition originally penned by Leonard Cohen and recorded anew by composer Tim Phillips and PJ Harvey. It creates a mood of warm mystery and thrilling tension, asking again and again questions that are central to the series. Who’s done it? And how?
The title sequence contains clues but no real answers. It does, however, reward repeat viewings. Like any good mystery, its imagery takes on new meanings as the story of the sisters and their deeds unspools. Everything’s there, if you know where to look.
6. Triangle of Sadness
Titles Designed by Albin Holmqvist
Despite having been the chiseled face of a successful perfume campaign, Carl (Harris Dickinson) is back doing castings. When we meet him in the opening of writer–director Ruben Östlund’s stormy satire Triangle of Sadness, Carl is lined up with dozens of other shirtless models, being interviewed by a smarmy fashion journalist while waiting to be evaluated. The journalist cajoles the group into posing for the camera. “Hashtag friendship!” he yells. “Hashtag everyone is equal!” The group laughs, performing as desired. Finally inside the casting room, Carl stands upright as the jury flips through his portfolio, eyeing him critically.
“Can you relax your triangle of sadness?” one casting judge asks. “Like between your eyebrows here? A little bit more. And open your mouth so you look a bit more available.” Carl does what he’s told. He walks. He looks a bit more available. The models wear swimming briefs bearing an American flag motif as they're hosed down with red, white and blue paint, the track “Born Free” by M.I.A. blasting. Bare-bones minimalism and chaotic excess are smash-cut together. Credits designed by Albin Holmqvist appear in flashes of white text on black.
“The lead-in scene with all the models in a neutral-colored room creates the perfect backdrop for the quick and energetic punk rock blast of color and personality that caps this off,” says Top 10 judge Jon Contino. Altogether, it's a spacious and stylish intro to the hyper-commodified lifestyle that Östlund goes to great lengths to skewer.
5. After Yang
Title Sequence by Kogonada, Celia Rowlson-Hall, Teddy Blanks, et al.
“So much personality here,” says Top 10 judge Bee Grandinetti after watching the dance-fueled opening credits to After Yang. In the introduction to Kogonada’s 2022 science fiction film, parents Jake (Colin Farrell) and Kyra (Jodie Turner-Smith) along with little Mika (Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja) and her synthetic sibling Yang (Justin H. Min) cut a rug in front of the television. It coos commands and announces the elimination of thousands of other families, all moving in tandem. Choreographed by Celia Rowlson-Hall (who also played a role in 2022’s Aftersun) and assistant Marla Phelan, the sequence has an infectious energy – an air of joy. The conviviality is short-lived, however, as someone puts a foot wrong, the family is “terminated” and Yang malfunctions. So begins a mission to repair Yang, a vital member of the family and Mika’s best friend.
The credits, in wide outlined text, were designed by Teddy Blanks (who also contributed to another sequence on this list). Much like designer Pablo Ferro’s hollow white letters for Dr. Strangelove (1964), the typography sits over the footage without obscuring it. The sequence was a hit with several of the judges this year including Nidia Dias who appreciates that it “went from the main family in their living room to a color-coded background for each family.” Likewise, Jon Contino says that “the combination of multi-colored backdrops, the consistent uniform and the outlined type paired with a not-so-tight choreographed dance sequence really gives a great sense of perfect versus non-perfect.”
4. Fire of Love
Titles Designed by Kara Blake, Sara Dosa, et al.
“If I could eat rocks, I'd stay in the volcanoes and never come down,” says scientist Maurice Krafft in Fire of Love, the sensational 2022 doc from filmmaker Sara Dosa. Krafft is articulating the pure fascination and passion that drive him and his partner, Katia, to explore the searing edges of the earth. In the film's opener, the pair struggle and trek through a frozen wasteland before arriving at a fountain of glowing red lava. The gentle voice of multihyphenate Miranda July (Me and You and Everyone We Know, Kajillionaire) and the dulcet tones of a flute float in, guiding the viewer forward until a helicopter drops into frame and with it, an electrifying guitar riff. Composed by Nicolas Godin, the music kicks off the thrill of the Krafft’s work: hunting and exploring the fiery heat buried and bursting from deep within our world.
The title sequence, with typography designed by Kara Blake, introduces the film’s stars: Katia, Maurice, and the volcanoes Mauna Loa, Nyiragongo, Krafla, St. Helens, Piton de la Fournaise and Una Una. “I love, love, love everything about this one,” says Top 10 judge Bee Grandinetti. “How the narrative is constructed, the song, the edit, the credits, the fact that they list the volcanoes as characters in the movie. The personality and charm is so captivating!”
Main Titles by Elastic
The opening titles of Pachinko, the Apple TV+ series based on the novel of the same name by Korean-American author Min Jin Lee, are a joyous celebration of kinship. Brightly lit by the gleaming game parlour, the all-ages cast including Soji Arai, Yuh-Jung Youn, Minha Kim, Yuna, Jin Ha, Lee Minho and Steve Sanghyun Noh boogie between the machines, doing high kicks and twirling one another, floating in bliss.
"It was meant to be uplifting as so much of the series revolves around the main family’s hardships," says Nadia Tzuo, creative director at Elastic, the studio that designed the opener. The sequence is carried forward by cheerful rock song “Let’s Live for Today” by The Grass Roots, a carpe-diem anthem about pushing worry and ambition aside in favour of love and seizing the moment. Notably, this is the second project in the Top 10 to have Kogonada, who directed half of the show’s episodes, onboard and to feature dance in its titles.
Showrunner Soo Hugh told Entertainment Weekly that she relied on two words to guide the creation of the title sequence. "We said that it had to be 'joyful.' It had to be a celebration of life," she said. The second word was "exuberance." "We said, 'No matter what, remember that word: Exuberance.'" Every spritely step, strut, strum and cut is beautifully placed, culminating in a glorious preamble to a story determined to keep hope in its heart.
2. The Peripheral
Main Titles by Antibody
In the opening title sequence to The Peripheral, towns gleam and shapes stretch, sweeping in strokes of burnt gold, slate grey and steel blue, pixels bleeding like a machine’s idea of a landscape painting. We see a bridge, a row of homes, star Chloe Grace Mortez’s face, all melded across time and space, the features tugged taut, the focus pulled foggy and strange. A gossamer-like tether stretches from one part of the world to another, bringing forth giant statuesque forms looming over a city, traffic zooming brightly throughout.
The Amazon show is an adaptation of William Gibson’s 2014 novel of the same name and also the first adaptation for the screen of the author’s work since the 1990s. Its beautiful opening sequence is the latest collaboration of Emmy Award winners Patrick Clair and Raoul Marks, working as studio Antibody, who previously created the slam-dunk titles for True Detective (2014), Halt and Catch Fire (2014) and Westworld (2016). Rounded out with a mysterious and menacing theme by composer Mark Korven, who also scored 2022’s The Black Phone, the sequence is a solemn and sleek introduction for this rural-tech thriller.
Main Titles by extraweg, Teddy Blanks
“So incredibly surreal and unnerving,” says Top 10 judge Jon Contino about the opening credits to Severance, the thrilling Apple TV+ series centered around Mark Scout (Adam Scott), a man who has surgically separated his work and home lives. Called “outies” and “innies,” these selves spend the intro stumbling through snowy parking lots and stark corporate hallways. They melt through walls and furniture, become trapped in versions of themselves, get sucked up through a syringe and liquify into a suffocating ooze. “The movements all feel very organic and familiar and yet frighteningly unnatural at the same time,” adds Contino. The uncanny animation was created by Oliver Latta, aka extraweg, a CGI artist based in Berlin whose work often focuses on the human body. Stretching it, dismembering it, multiplying, squishing and squeezing it. The figures are paired with minimal typography featuring a simple overline designed by Teddy Blanks (who was also behind the titles of 2022's Catherine Called Birdy) and matched with music by composer Theodore Shapiro.
The sequence has made a splash, creating not only a memorable brand for the show but also winning the Emmy Award for Outstanding Main Title Design. It was a clear favourite among the 2022 jury panel. In the words of judge Michelle Higa Fox: “It won the Emmy for a reason.”
...and that's a wrap!
There are so many amazing title sequences we weren’t able to include in this top 10 but you can check out recent notable sequences in our 2022 titles list.
Love our choices? Disagree with our picks? Did your favourite title sequence not make the cut? Join us on Twitter at @ArtoftheTitle and have your say.
Thanks for joining us in celebrating title design. Here’s to an exciting year ahead!
Editor-in-Chief, Art of the Title
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