Movies & TV

The Most Anticipated Movies of 2022

There's big action tentpoles (welcome back, Ethan Hunt!), superhero blockbusters, and smaller, more provocative fare from heavy-hitter directors, all on the way.
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The new year is only a couple of weeks old, but it’s time to toss those Best of 2021 movies, books, and TV lists in the trash and look ahead to the next 12 months. Even with multiplexes half full last year due to the endless Covid pandemic and its hydra-headed arsenal of variants, Hollywood and its indie off-shoots still managed to serve up some instant classics. Looking ahead, the the slate for 2022 looks just as promising, if not more so. There’s big action tentpoles (welcome back, Ethan Hunt!), superhero blockbusters, and smaller, more provocative fare from heavy-hitter directors.

Here’s a quick look at 15 we’re already drooling to lay our eyes on. And as the months go on, we’ll be back to update this list with new titles as we seen them. Or, at least the ones we loved and think you’ll love too. So here we go…

Death on the Nile (February)

Already delayed a couple of times by the pandemic, this follow-up to 2017’s whodunit Murder on the Orient Express will again star the outrageously mustached Kenneth Branagh as everybody’s favorite persnickety Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot. I liked Orient Express just fine, but have significantly higher hopes for this outing thanks to its exotic Egyptian setting and the fact that its Agatha Christie source material was already made into a first-rate murder-mystery in 1978 with Peter Ustinov sleuthing beneath the ‘stache.

The Batman (March)

Can we all agree that Ben Affleck wasn’t the right guy to play the Caped Crusader? Sure, no one is going to match Christian Bale’s intensity in the Christopher Nolan trilogy, but I suspect that the latest man to don the cowl, Robert Pattinson, will at least one-up Affleck in terms of Method-y madness. Directed by Matt Reeves (Cloverfield and two of the better Planet of the Apes flicks), this looks to be a darker-than-dark DC outing abetted by that always-welcome loose-screw Paul Dano as the Riddler.

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The Northman (April)

I was sold on indie auteur Robert Eggers after his creepy 2015 pilgrim-horror debut, The Witch. And 2019’s The Lighthouse made good on his promise as a singularly off-beat storyteller. With The Northman, the director sets a revenge tale in 10th-century Iceland, starring Alexander Skarsgard as a Viking prince (nice casting, that). Will there be better movies in 2022? Perhaps. But this should be the best-looking movie of the spring.

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (April)

Welcome to the latest entry in the Nicolas Cage renaissance. And this time, everybody’s favorite loony toon goes meta, playing a stylized version of himself in a funhouse-mirror comedy about Nic Cage becoming a CIA informant to take down one of his fans. This feels like the closest thing 2022 has up its sleeve in the vein of Being John Malkovich.

Nope (July)

Photo by UNIVERSAL PICTURES.

Any time Jordan Peele steps behind the camera is an event in my book. And while his last film, Us, didn’t quite measure up to Get Out (then again, what could have), something tells me this will be one of the summer’s best antidotes to tentpole-mania. Very little is known about Nope, but this much we do know: It’s a horror flick and Get Out’s Daniel Kaluuya stars alongside Steven Yeun and Keke Palmer. That’s more than enough for me.

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Bullet Train (July)

Photo by MATT WINKELMEYER / GETTY IMAGES.

Brad Pitt shifts into action-star mode in what sounds like a giddy, action-packed cross between John Wick and Snowpiercer. Yes, please. An adaptation of Kotaro Isaka’s satirical novel from last year, Pitt plays an assassin on a speeding train with four other contract killers, all after the same target. And only one will make it to the end credits alive. I think we can all guess who’s left standing, but the journey should be a hell of a lot more kick-ass than the destination on this one.

Mission: Impossible 7 (September)

Photo by IMDB.
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I know, I know, Tom Cruise is divisive for some. But no major star in Hollywood gives more to his craft than he, which is why this series has become the gold standard when it comes to smart blockbusters. We pay to see Cruise risk busting his neck (or worse) while doing his own stunts. 2022 has two big Cruise projects on tap between this and Top Gun: Maverick, but this is the one I’ll be at on opening day. Hot take: The Ethan Hunt M:I franchise has now officially become better than the Bond series. Discuss.

Don't Worry Darling (September)

Olivia Wilde proved that she was a natural behind the camera with 2019’s Booksmart. And now, as her sophomore assignment, she’s helming this provocative thriller about a ‘50s married couple (Florence Pugh and Harry Styles…yes, that Harry Styles) who join a commune in the middle of the California desert. This feels like a sleeper definitely worth keeping an eye on.

She Said (November)

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If you’re looking to fill out your Oscar ballot way too early, this feels like a good bet. Take one teaspoon of Spotlight and add a dash of All the President’s Men and you might get something like She Said—an investigative procedural centering on the two New York Times reporters (Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor) whose reporting brought down Harvey Weinstein. Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan star.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (November)

Photo by MARVEL.

We’ll all have bittersweet feelings going into this one due to the still-fresh tragic death of Chadwick Boseman. Directed by Ryan Coogler and said to honor the late star, Wakanda Forever has a lot to live up to. But something tells us, Marvel is going to do everything it can to knock this one out of the park.

Avatar 2 (December)

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Wow, that was fast! Just kidding. James Cameron has been talking about, tinkering with, and teasing us with the release of this big-budget follow-up to his year 2009 sci-f spectacle since, well, 2009. Cameron is one of cinema’s undeniable masters. But you can’t help but wonder if Avatar’s target audience has moved on in the past 13 years. I think this can go only one of two ways: It makes a billion dollars…or it’s the biggest bomb of 2022.

Babylon (December)

Photo by PARAMOUNT PICTURES.

I flipped out over Whiplash and La La Land, so I’m pretty much in the tank for anything that Damien Chazelle slaps his name on. But even if I wasn’t, this Christmas-day release sounds promising thanks to a cast that includes Brat Pitt and Margot Robbie and a story about Hollywood stars trying to navigate the motion-picture industry during its transition from silent movies to talkies.

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Knives Out 2 (TBD)

Photo by CLAIRE FOLGER/LIONSGATE/KOBAL/SHUTTERSTOCK.

The ensemble cast is different from the first time around and so is the case to be solved. The one thing that will remain the same from the 2019 original is Daniel Craig’s Foghorn Leghorn sleuth solving a twisty crime. Netflix backed up the money truck to get Rian Johnson to stretch his hit murder-mystery into a franchise, so expect both razzle and dazzle. But I’d be lying if I said we wouldn’t miss Ana de Armas.

The Killers of the Flower Moon (TBD)

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Martin Scorsese. Robert De Niro. Leonardo DiCaprio. Enough said. Based on the runaway bestseller about the mysterious Osage tribe murders in the 1920s that led to the birth of the FBI, The Killers of the Flower Moon is the closest thing you can get to an automatic, capital-E Event. And if just a fraction of the people who have been spotted reading David Grann’s book in coach class over the past couple of years see this thing, it will be a hand-over-fist smash, to boot.

FromEsquire US

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