A comprehensive list of Joseph Kosinski movies ranked, including Top Gun: Maverick, Tron: Legacy, and more
Joseph Kosinski may not have the same household name recognition and notoriety as some of the industry’s most revered directors, but he’s arguably been as important as any of his contemporaries in the last fifteen years when it comes to blockbuster filmmaking. He’s worked with many of the great, recent A-list actors and actresses, made films in the biggest multi-generational franchises, and built a reputation for practical effects that can only be matched by his occasional collaborator Tom Cruise.
And Kosinski has also built a backlog of unique original projects. Although a few of them don’t necessarily work (and you’ll see that below), they’re always big swings. A new Joseph Kosinski movie now has some meaning and heft, and his upcoming set of projects – notably a Formula One film starring Brad Pitt – are about as enticing as anybody’s in the business.
Which makes this whole exercise really funny because I’ve actually been pretty lukewarm about Kosinski’s past filmography. He’s got two movies that are among my favorite “big” dramas of the last fifteen years, and a bunch of meh. They all have a very distinct style and flavor, but their final results are usually a bit muddied. I think he’s working out the kinks of operating with a massive budget as consistently as he is (and molding to different franchises and tinkering with lore), so I’d need to see a couple more misfires before I start to really worry.
But that’s an exercise for another day. This exercise is about ranking the Joseph Kosinski movies, which I found rather easy in practice. His top two are clear top two’s, and then the other three kind of just fell into place. I can’t wait to revisit this about a decade from now and see what he made (possibly reuniting with Cruise, Miles Teller, and Glen Powell for Top Gun 3?) and slot them into a new ranking among these films.
For now, though, this is how I’d rank the Joseph Kosinski movies from worst to best:
5. Oblivion (2013)
4. Tron: Legacy (2010)
3. Spiderhead (2022)
2. Only the Brave (2017)
1. Top Gun: Maverick (2022)
Years later, Top Gun: Maverick still feels fresh – for its direction, for its acting, and for its precise attention to emotion and payoff. Every moment feels important and finely tuned, and every actor and actress fits perfectly within this nostalgia-laden juggernaut. A real hit, and one of my favorite movie theater experiences of all time. Top Gun: Maverick review
View a Letterboxd version of this list here.
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