This year promises to bring more of what Hollywood excels at — superheros and sequels, sequels, sequels. But scan a little further and you’ll find original offerings from some of the best in the biz and a few totally out-there concepts we have to see for ourselves.
Here are 22 films worth watching in 2022.
“Come on, vengeance. Let’s get into some trouble.” The new Batman is a vibe. From the director of Cloverfield and Planet of the Apes, the latest reinvention focuses on a young Bruce Wayne looking to define himself. Robert Pattinson and his black eye shadow are the main attraction, but don’t discount Zoë Kravitz as the cat burglar who always lands on her feet.
In theatres March 4
First director Domee Shi won an Oscar with her adorable short Bao. Now, she’s doubling down on her Chinese-Canadian background with a Toronto-set story about a young girl who hulks out into a giant red panda. With voice work from Sandra Oh and Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, Turning Red looks like a blast.
Premieres on Disney+ March 11
The Lost City
In what seems like a modern-day update of Romancing the Stone, Sandra Bullock stars in this jungle adventure about a hapless author and her Fabio-like cover model played by Channing Tatum. The pair also run into a rugged Brad Pitt while trying to find a hidden city. It’s been a while since a major studio launched a rom-com with this much star power. But after roles in Bird Box and The Unforgivable, this takes Bullock back to doing what she does best.
In theatres March 25
Everything Everywhere All at Once
Imagine Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, but make it the Michelle Yeoh-verse and you get a sense of what to expect in the latest from directors Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert. The pair were responsible for the off-the-wall buddy film Swiss Army Man. Everything Everywhere All at Once continues the insanity with what looks like a manic Kung-Fu adventure in which Yeoh plays an immigrant who holds the key to saving the universe. Bonus points for the inclusion of Jamie Lee Curtis, who looks like she came straight from the latest Halloween sequel.
In theatres March 25
Learn to Swim
Described as a hallucinatory blur of experiences, the debut film from Toronto’s Thyrone Tommy immerses us in the jazz scene with Thomas Antony Olajide as the saxophone player haunted by a failed romance. Learn to Swim made a big splash at TIFF and looks to wrap its melody around audiences this spring.
In theatres March 2022
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
In a movie so meta you’d assume Charlie Kaufman wrote it, Nicolas Cage stars as Nicolas Cage in this comedy where the movie star agrees to meet with a superfan played by Pedro Pascal. The script made waves on the Black List (a place for film and TV writers to share their work with people in the industry) years ago, and if there’s one actor who will commit to the concept, it’s Cage.
In theatres April 22
The Bob’s Burgers Movie
While animated shows turned into movies don’t have a great track record (looking at you Simpsons), I’m willing to give Bob’s Burgers a shot just for 90 minutes of Gene jamming out on his keyboard. The film finds the Belchers dealing with a growing sinkhole and possibly an alien incursion.
In theatres May 27
After the success of Blood Quantum and Night Raiders, the Indigenous sci-fi revolution continues with Slash/Back, a horror film about an alien encounter in which a group of Inuit teens fight back. Filmed in Pangnirtung, Nunavut, I can’t wait to see what Canadian filmmaker Nyla Innuksuk has created.
In theatres June 2022
If anyone can capture the pelvis-pumping, outrageous excesses of Elvis Presley, it’s director Baz Luhrmann, the man responsible for Moulin Rouge and personal fave Strictly Ballroom. Come for Tom Hanks with another ridiculous accent as Col. Tom Parker, and stay for the remarkable Kelvin Harrison Jr. as B.B. King.
In theatres June 24
Thor: Love and Thunder
While I worry the Marvel-Verse may have lost its mojo after Avengers: Endgame, Thor: Love and Thunder could be the bolt of lightning it needs. Taika Waititi returns to direct a story that brings back Natalie Portman and perhaps a version of Lady Thor of Marvel comics. With the ’80s hair metal esthetic and Russell Crowe as Zeus, Love and Thunder looks to be a wondrous odyssey indeed.
In theatres July 8
There’s not much to say about Nope other than Jordan Peele, the director of Get Out and Us, has a way of exposing modern fears and inequalities like no other. Nope stars Daniel Kaluuya and Steven Yeun and Keke Palmer. Looks ominous. Get ready.
In theatres July 22
Who needs Murder on the Orient Express when you have Bullet Train, a film about a group of fast-moving assassins starring Sandra Bullock, Brad Pitt, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Zazie Beetz, Michael Shannon, Brian Tyree Henry and Bad Bunny. All aboard!
In theatres July 15
If you know Billy Eichner best from Billy on the Street, get ready for another side with Bros, a rom-com billed as the first major studio film with an all-queer principal cast playing heterosexual roles. With producer Judd Apatow on board, Bros could be the comedic summer smash we need.
In theatres Aug. 12
Don’t Worry Darling
In 2019, Olivia Wilde transitioned from actor to director with Booksmart, a fleet-footed look at growing up as a modern teen. Her followup film shifts the action to the 1950s and features Harry Styles and the White Widow herself, Florence Pugh, as a husband and wife in a utopian community that’s beginning to crack.
In theatres Sept. 23
Mission: Impossible 7
While I don’t feel a pressing need to see Tom Cruise climb back into the cockpit for Top Gun: Maverick, there’s something about the Mission: Impossible franchise that keeps me coming back for more. Maybe it’s Cruise’s desire to continually top himself with extreme stunts or the quip-tastic dialogue from Simon Pegg as Benji. Either way, the mayhem returns this fall.
In theatres Sept. 30
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Part One)
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse from 2018 wasn’t just one of the best Spider-Man movies; it was one of the best superhero films of all time. While the concept of parallel worlds doesn’t seem as fresh (Damn you, Doctor Strange), I’m looking forward to seeing which Spider-People join Miles Morales. (Come on Supaidaman!)
In theatres Oct. 7
Even in Zack Snyder’s grim and grumpy Justice League, Ezra Miller’s take on the speedster the Flash was a breath of fresh air. Just imagine what he can do with a whole film. With both Ben Affleck and Michael Keaton somehow appearing as Batmen, expect more multiversal shenanigans.
In theaters Nov. 4
Kenneth Branagh’s Bee Gees biopic
In today’s high-concept Hollywood, if a movie isn’t a sequel or a remake, it may as well be a biopic. The success of Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman demonstrated the appetite for movies about musicians, and the jive-talking men of the Bee Gees seem tailor-made for director Kenneth Branagh. From Cinderella to Belfast, the once-Shakespearean actor is one of the industry’s busiest filmmakers. Here’s hoping the Gibb brothers and Branagh make beautiful music together.
In theatres Nov. 4
From Damien Chazelle, director of La La Land, Babylon promises another sumptuous look at the movie biz. This time it’s set during the difficult transition from silent films to talkies. No Ryan Gosling, but Margot Robbie and Brad Pitt will bring the glamour. Oscar attention is guaranteed.
In theatres Dec. 25
Sarah Polley, the director of Take This Waltz and Away From Her, took a break from filmmaking for a few years. Now, she’s back with what promises to be a powerful story about a religious community confronting a string of sexual assaults. Featuring the talents of Frances McDormand, Rooney Mara, Sheila McCarthy and Ben Whishaw, Women Talking looks like a welcome return to form.
Knives Out 2
Daniel Craig and that finger-licking accent? Where do we sign up? The continuing adventure of Benoit Blanc features a new murder mystery and ace cast, including the witchy Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr. and Janelle Monáe. But don’t go looking for this one in theatres — the sequels were snapped up by Netflix.