The Friendly Film Fan dives into the 2022 releases we're most looking forward to seeing on the big screen.
10. Don’t Worry Darling
Olivia Wilde came out of the gate swinging with her 2019 directorial debut, Booksmart, so we already know she has the potential to be one of the greats a little ways down the line. But, add onto that that this was the film where she met former One Direction member turned actor and MCU-entrant Harry Styles, then paired him with the incredible Florence Pugh for some sort of 50s-set thriller inside a utopian experimental community, and added the likes of herself, Gemma Chan, and Chris Pine to the cast? Now that’s a recipe for anticipation.
9. Knives Out 2
The first Knives Out was not just an awesome return to the world of whodunnits in its storytelling, but also in immense commercial success, and the film’s spinoff/sequel seems to be continuing that same thread, as we once again are paired with a killer’s row of ensemble cast members ready to go to sea. One single gif of Daniel Craig’s Benoit Blanc appearing in front of passengers boarding a boat was all it took to get me even more hyped for the follow-up; that, and the fact that Rian Johnson seems to be one of the only directors in Hollywood right now in active pursuit of anti-normalcy. That is to say, his films take the genres they occupy and twist them into something that elevates the mold. Whatever the case, if this Benoit Blanc adventure is anywhere near as goofy, fun, or successful as its predecessor, it’s sure to be a great time at the movies.
Damien Chazelle is one of filmmaking’s finest craftsman and most accomplished directors. Hollywood storytelling lead him to unparalleled success with La La Land (a movie I still love despite its overall souring in the critical community), so for him to gather the fantastic cast of actors from Margot Robbie to Meryl Streep to Samara Weaving to Brad Pitt to Tobey Maguire to Katherine Waterson and so many more to cover the era of film’s transition to “the talkies” sounds like an ace move. The film is scheduled for a Christmas day release, so one can bet there may be more than a few Oscar chances for it to break through. Whether or not it does, though, the Whiplash and First Man helmer is sure to bring us something really special.
7. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Sam Raimi returns to the Marvel sandbox over a decade after Spider-Man 3’s unexpected sting to mainstream superhero cinema led Sony Pictures to reboot that character twice, and the film he comes back with is a multiverse story about a wizard trying to fix his own mistakes without royally fucking over everyone around him and having to deal with a witch pushed too far – but this isn’t Oz the Great and Powerful. Doctor Strange 2’s multiversal story could fall prey to some of Raimi’s over-reliance on CGI, as with the aforementioned film, but frankly, it’s just nice to have someone working the MCU again whose primary mode of operation is earnestness rather than quippiness (there will still be lots of quips, I’m sure). Still, a multiversal narrative dealing with plot points from various Disney+ shows that Benedict Cumberbatch isn’t here to talk about could get pretty messy if not properly told. Luckily, Raimi knows how to tell great stories.
Following its Superbowl trailer debut, Jordan Peele’s latest feature film, Nope shot from the bottom section of this list all the way to #6, and it’s not hard to see why. Peele’s films have somehow found that niche movie audiences, and especially film enthusiasts have been begging for outside of the MCU – they’re events unto themselves. Get Out was a smash hit about the exploitation and fetishization of Black bodies, Us was a huge success that should have gotten Lupita Nyong’o a Best Actress Oscar win, and now Peele turns his eye towards…well, we still don’t really know yet. The best thing about the trailer (apart from the image of Keke Palmer just hurtling through the sky) is its incredible sense of tone, of an atmospheric terror stemming from not knowing what’s coming. If this one hits as hard as the other two, Jordan Peele may just be one of filmmaking’s greatest auteurs in history.
5. Avatar: The Way of Water
Underestimate director James Cameron at your own peril. The T2, Aliens, True Lies, Titanic, and Avatar helmer has always shown up to bat ready to swing for the fences, and while it’s taken over a decade to get sequels to his highest-grossing film of all time underway, the first of four is ready to release this December. While we don’t know a lot of specific plot details yet, we do know that much of the film takes place underwater, and when Cameron develops new technology just to accomplish making the film he’s envisioned, spectacular visual treats await. You can scream about how Titanic’s love story moves too fast or about how Avatar is just Dances With Wolves on a different planet, but there is no argument regarding either film’s box office takes. The fact is, no one understands film’s visual magic the way James Cameron does, and when he wants to make magic, the illusions are impossible to root against.
4. The Northman
In the same way that Jordan Peele’s films are mainstream events for moviegoing audiences, Robert Eggers films have become something of an event for cinephiles and critics the world over. This time around, the filmmaker who brought us The Witch and The Lighthouse – two masterpieces in their own right – sets his sights on the Nordic to craft a tale of Vikings. Bloody, brutal, and little surrealist, The Northman’s awesome trailers shows us that it looks to be yet another film where the world Eggers builds is entirely its own: unlike anything we’ve seen before, yet somehow intimately connected to every kind of epic we’ve previously witnessed. The cast is packed to the gills with talent, including Ethan Hawke, Anya Taylor-Joy, Björk, Claes Bang, Nicole Kidman, and Willem Dafoe, all led by the criminally underrated Alexander Skarsgård. Who denies a Viking in a hat made of a wolf’s head that can catch a spear in mid-air? Fools, I tell you. Fools!
3. The Batman
The soonest to release on this list, we are mere days away from The Batman’s opening weekend, and my excitement could not be more thorough, though not for the reasons you might think. Superman is actually my favorite superhero of all time, and for as cool as Batman is, he’s easily the most overrated superhero to use in almost any comic book adaptation – but not when he’s paired with a director like Matt Reeves. Reeves found success with viral marketing sensation Cloverfield, then again with his horror remake Let Me In, and proceeded at last to deliver two of the greatest sci-fi action blockbusters of the past two decades with his two Planet of the Apes films, rounding out the most underappreciated and underdiscussed movie trilogy perhaps in the entire 21st century. He is a master of tone and of storytelling, so pairing him with a beginner’s version of Batman may have been a stroke of genius on the part of WB once Ben Affleck decided he wasn’t going back to that well. Robert Pattinson’s career has had a massive resurgence following his appearances in films like Good Time and The Lighthouse, and the cast is stacked top to bottom with talent the likes of which comic book movies just don’t get this often. Zoë Kravitz as Catwoman, Paul Dano as The Riddler, Jeffrey Wright as Commissioner Gordon, and an unrecognizable Colin Farrell as The Penguin? I’m in.
2. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Part One)
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is not only one of the finest animated films ever made, it actually is the best Spider-Man movie, bar none. Reuniting the team that fostered that stunning innovation to make not just one sequel, but one that had to be split into two parts for just how expansive and detailed this is all likely to be? I cannot wait to experience what that all means. The film’s initial first look showed off once again a stunning transition from art styles with which we’re familiar to styles with which we aren’t, and Oscar Isaac joins the cast of characters we’ve all come to know and love. Whatever this multiversal story ends up being, if it’s anywhere near as good as its predecessor, it might just end up being the greatest animated movie ever made (but it doesn’t have to be).
1. Killers of the Flower Moon
If you’ve followed my writing around film for any length of time, then you’re already familiar with the work of my favorite director, infamous Marvel hater Martin Scorsese. There’s not a film the man has made that I haven’t at least found interesting, and he has more masterpieces or near-masterpieces on his resume than just about any other filmmaker in history. Even his least seen material – like the phenomenal Silence – is so brilliant, leaving his films anywhere off anticipation lists is a fool’s errand, and with Killers of the Flower Moon, he reunites with BOTH of his muses – Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro. Add to that Lily Gladstone and newly-minted Oscar nominee Jesse Plemons leading the film, as well as appearances by Brendan Fraser and John Lithgow, plus a $200 million budget for an epic Western for Apple, who just won Best Ensemble for CODA at the SAG awards? Don’t just count me in. Put me in the best seat, in the biggest theater, at the soonest opportunity, and bring me Scorsese!
And those are our Top 10 Most Anticipated Movies of 2022! What are you looking forward to seeing this year? Anything not on this list (or below) that you’re looking forward to? Drop those titles in the comments section below, and thanks for reading!
- The Friendly Film Fan
Other Films to Look Forward to in 2022: