It’s been a strange couple of years for movie releases. But as we manifest positive vibes only moving forward, 2022 promises to be absolutely stacked with amazing new films. From giant blockbusters we’ve waited years to finally watch to the independent darlings that trailers have us hyped for–all movies deserve to be seen in a cinema now that we’re out and about once more.
Keep in mind that release dates are still a little fluid nowadays and prone to change, but that shouldn’t lead to any tapered excitement levels. We’ve also kept films like Martin Scorsese’s Killers Of The Flower Moon and Damien Chazelle’s Babylon–which are ‘maybe’ being released this year–off this list to avoid a collective upping of hopes.
Grab your large popcorn and drink combo because these are our most anticipated movie releases of 2022.
Where The Crawdads Sing
For those who aren’t familiar with the award-winning book, it was originally released back in 2018 by Delia Owens. It went on to sell nearly five million copies, topped The New York Times Fiction Best Sellers of 2019 and The New York Times Fiction Best Sellers of 2020 for a combined 30 weeks. Then Reese Witherspoon, who has an excellent track record of book to big screen adaptations, featured it in her Hello Sunshine Book Club and snagged the movie rights.
Set in the small country town of Barkley Cove in North Carolina, US, the story follows the life of Kya Clark, also known by locals as the Marsh Girl. Taking place across two time lines—the 60s and 70s—we follow Kya’s journey from abandoned child, left to survive in a shack on the edge of the marshes with nothing but the birds to keep her company, to a beautiful but mysterious woman who gets entangled in a relationship with two very different men. The really wild part? When a murder takes place in Barkley Cove, Kya is the number one suspect.
Most importantly though, the film stars rising newcomer Daisy Edgar Jones (who you know from Normal People and more recently, Fresh) as Kya and features original music from Taylor Swift. Where The Crawdads Sing is slated for a July release in cinemas.
From Michael Keaton to Christian Bale and Ben Affleck to George Clooney—the lineup of actors who have played Bruce Wayne reads like an absolute who’s who of Hollywood. And we’re somehow not tiring of it one bit with Robert Pattinson now stepping up as mysterious billionaire and nighttime vigilante Bruce Wayne in the latest adaptation from Matt Reeves (director of the modern Planet Of The Apes trilogy). In what looks to be a darker, almost neo-noir version of the timeless comic book story, Batman will pair up with Catwoman (Zoë Kravitz), facing off against The Ridler (Paul Dano) and The Penguin (Colin Farrell).
Release date: March 2022
After taking us on wild, disconcerting rides with films like The Witch and The Lighthouse, director Robert Eggers has set his sights on a Norse epic called The Northman. The 10th Century-set Viking revenge thriller follows Nordic prince Amleth’s (Alexander Skarsgård) lifelong quest for revenge after the murder of his father. Definitely check out the epic and violent trailer, with a cast that includes Anya Taylor-Joy, Willem Dafoe, Björk, Ethan Hawke and Nicole Kidman.
Release date: April 2022
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
In case you hadn’t noticed, Nicolas Cage is having a moment of returned relevance, and we’re all the way here for it. If you missed it, make sure you check out his performance in last year’s Pig as a lonesome truffle farmer hunting down the person who stole his beloved pig. In 2022, the enigmatic actor is back in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent playing a financially ruined version of, wait for it, “Nick Cage”. This amazing premise finds Nick Cage (again, played by Nicolas Cage) accepting a celebrity appearance gig for a wealthy fan (Pedro Pascal) before being recruited in a dangerous CIA operation.
Release date: April 2022
Top Gun: Maverick
As we tick over into 2022, we’ve now waited three years since the initial promised released date of Top Gun: Maverick. If you read those words and a very famous film score started playing in your head, then you’re also likely praying that we finally get the sequel to Tom Cruise’s 1986 classic this year. In this highly anticipated blockbuster, the ageless action hero is back as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, this time training a crop of new talented pilots. Val Kilmer is also back as “Iceman”, alongside a fresh cast that includes Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Glen Powell and Jon Hamm. We’re expecting dangerous stunts, big egos and shirtless beach sports–strap in.
Release date: May 2022
Dr Strange: In The Multiverse Of Madness
And thus begins the slate of MCU films we are insanely excited to experience in 2022. And the return of Dr Strange is especially anticipated if you, like the rest of the world, saw Spiderman: No Way Home. We won’t spoil specifics if you’re yet to watch the most recent Spidey movie (c’mon, seriously), but several multiverse questions will be addressed in the sequel to the Dr. Stephen Strange story. Of course, Benedict Cumberbatch is back as the (former) Sorcerer Supreme, alongside Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), fresh from a spell through her own obscured dimension reality on Wandavision. Get ready for some mind-bending action–this one has significant implications for the Marvel universe.
Release date: May 2022
In case you missed it, Oscar-nominated visionary filmmaker Baz Luhrmann has been working his magic on a movie about the life and music of Elvis Presely. Starring Austin Butler as the King of Rock and Tom Hanks as Colonel Tom Park (Elvis' amanager), the film is locked to dive into their complicated relationship with each other. The aesthetic of the film is typically Baz but it's also been headed by a team that previously worked on the likes of The Great Gatsby, Moulin Rouge!, Mulan and Australia—in other words, you can expect nothing less than one hell of a production.
Release date: June 24
Thor: Love And Thunder
Whether you’re an MCU fan or you just caught Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok as a fantastic standalone blockbuster, there’s some serious excitement around the latest in the Chris Hemsworth-led Thor saga. Waititi (Jojo Rabbit, Hunt For The Wilderpeople) is back at the helm with the unique brand of quirky Kiwi humour that gave the MCU a much-needed fresh vision. Filmed in Sydney, Thor: Love and Thunder brings back familiar faces like Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie, a few Guardians of the Galaxy and even the return of Natalie Portman as Jane Foster from Thor: The Dark World. Plus, Marvel newcomer Christian Bale will star as the film’s villain, Gorr the God Butcher–easily one of the greatest bad guy names of all time. Do you even need plot details to be excited about this movie? Good, because we have none.
Release date: July 2022
We know very little about Nope, and yet we’ll blindly and joyously walk into a cinema the day it’s released with still as much information. That’s mostly to do with the fact that the upcoming fantasy/horror comes from director Jordan Peele, the modern master of suspense. After releasing 10/10 movies Get Out and Us, we’ll happily trust anything released by Peele. That’s without even mentioning that Nope sees a returned collaboration with Academic Award winner Daniel Kalyuua, alongside Steven Yeun (Minari) and Keke Palmer (Hustlers).
Release date: July 2022
Mission: Impossible 7
How is it possible that these films are getting better? After the mind-bending, edge-of-your-seat ride that was Mission: Impossible – Fallout, with bathroom fights and helicopter battles aplenty, we’re seriously jazzed for the return of Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt in 2022. Never mind that Cruise is about to turn 60 and is still flying around doing his own stunts (leading the ageless action-junky to breaking his foot while filming the last movie). We don’t know much about plot details yet, but we’re expecting to see Cruise again alongside Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, and Vanessa Kirby.
Release date: September 2022
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Okay, we promise this is the last MCU movie we’ll include on this list. But how on earth could we leave off the follow up to Black Panther, the Best Picture nominated cultural phenomenon that took the world by storm in 2018. Once again (sorry), we don’t know exactly what expect from this film, except that the story will likely now centre around T’Challa’s sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) after the tragic passing of actor Chadwick Boseman in 2020. Thankfully, Ryan Coogler will return to direct the sequel and further explore the world of Wakanda.
Release date: November 2022
Remember when Avatar was the biggest movie in the world? It’s been a hot minute since 3D films were actually a thing, but holy smokes, this sequel has been a long time coming. In fact, director James Cameron started writing Avatar 2 (working title) in 2012 and began filming in 2017. The long-awaited sequel will delve further into the Na’vi, world, with Jake (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) since settling down and starting a family. Plot details have been carefully guarded for this one, but we’re told to expect more human antagonists and beautiful world-building, with technology coming a long way since the 2009 box office monster.
Release date: December 2022
Everything Everywhere All At Once
Representing darling independent filmmaking company A24 in our lineup of 2022 movies is Everything Everywhere All At Once, with a non-MCU story about multiverse travel. From innovative directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (known as 'The Daniels'), this action-comedy-fantasy follows an unassuming Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh) through infinite multiverses, roles and adventures. You have to experience the wonderfully weird and gripping trailer that has us very hyped for this movie—especially if you’ve seen Swiss Army Man, The Daniels’ first feature film about the oddly touching friendship between a stranded Paul Dano and the dead, farting corpse of Daniel Radcliff. An American release for their latest movie has been confirmed for March 2022, but we’re still waiting for an official Australian date.
Release date: N/A
Knives Out 2
All we know for certain after watching the highly entertaining Knives Out is that we want more of Daniel Craig as Benoit Blanc. Never mind that the French-named, British-played character sports a comedic Southern American drawl; we’ll pay anything to see the Agatha Christie-inspired Blanc solve murder mysteries again. And thanks to returning director Rian Johnson, that’s a reality in 2022 (we hope, as dates are not yet confirmed, but we had to include it anyway). We know the sequel will be in no way tied to the story or characters from the original other than Blanc. Instead, the new stellar cast includes Dave Bautista, Edward Norton, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr., Janelle Monáe, Kate Hudson and Ethan Hawke.
Release date: N/A
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Image credit: Sony Pictures