The year 2022 promises to be a massive one for the world of entertainment, especially with OTT platforms aiming to set new records with their latest offerings of the most-anticipated movies. Similarly, filmmakers are also increasingly focusing on theatrical releases with a long list of movies lined up for the big screen.
Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video and HBO, among other OTT platforms, offered unforgettable films, such as Encounter and Tick, Tick… Boom!, in 2021. At the same time, theatrical releases towards the end of the year, including No Time to Die and Spider-Man: No Way Home, reignited the joy of watching films in cinemas.
Half of 2022 is now over and fans got to see some instalments of films loved in the past decades along with quite a few surprise hits.
Top Gun: Maverick has been the most notable of all films released in the first half of the year. Starring Tom Cruise in a role he first essayed over 30 years ago, the film has broken multiple box office records and sits firmly at the top as the highest-grossing film of 2022.
Additionally, as has become the norm every year now for over a decade, multiple superhero films clashed in the first six months of 2022 at the box office. Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) have already seen two outstanding offerings — Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Thor: Love and Thunder headlined by Chris Hemsworth.
Meanwhile, DC Extended Universe (DCEU) fans are awaiting Dwayne Johnson’s appearance in Black Adam in a role that perhaps only he can pull off. But, of course, die-hard fans of the DC comic books loved the non-DCEU film The Batman, in which Robert Pattinson gave a new dimension to the story as the Caped Crusader.
Blockbusters aside, a few low-budget films also managed to impress. These include the critically well-received animated film The Bob’s Burgers Movie and the commercially successful reality comedy film Jackass Forever starring Johnny Knoxville. But it was the Russo brothers‘ produced Everything Everywhere All At Once, which emerged as perhaps the biggest surprise hit of 2022 so far.
The film tells a fantastical story of a Chinese immigrant saving the world from multiversal threats and stars Michelle Yeoh, Jamie Lee Curtis and Stephanie Hsu, among others, in key roles.
Some, however, couldn’t meet expectations. The most notable ones were Firestarter, starring Ryan Kiera Armstrong, and Lightyear, in which Chris Evans voices Buzz Lightyear.
Some prominent films that were earlier supposed to release in 2022 now stand postponed for various reasons. Among them is Keanu Reeves-starrer John Wick Chapter 4, whose release date has been pushed to 24 March 2023 from 27 May 2022.
There is also Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part 1, which will now hit the screens on 14 July 2023, instead of 30 September 2022. Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is now scheduled for a 17 March 2023 release. It was supposed to release on 16 December 2022 but, perhaps, even the sequel to the most financially successful DC superhero film cannot expect to clash with Avatar 2, which releases on the same date.
A highly anticipated film whose release date remains unknown is Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. Starring Daniel Craig, it is expected to release in 2022.
Having said that, there are quite a few very exciting films to look forward to both on the big screen and streaming platforms. Starring some of the most famous names in the industry, the films promise to entertain with their gripping storylines, amazing cinematography and adrenaline-fuelled action sequences.
Release date: 16 September
The Woman King is one of the most-anticipated upcoming movies in 2022 primarily because the period film revolves around the Agojie — a real-life, all-female military unit of the Kingdom of Dahomey, which is today part of Benin.
The Agojie, who the French called Dahomey Amazons, was one of the major inspirations for the creation of the Dora Milaje in the Black Panther comic books and the movies.
The Woman King is set in the Kingdom of Dahomey in the 1800s. According to the official synopsis, the film is inspired by true events and follows General Nanisca (Viola Davis) who is entrusted with recruiting and training the next generation of the Agojie for a battle against an adversary “determined to destroy their way of life.”
Besides Davis, the film stars Thuso Mbedu, Lashana Lynch, Sheila Atim, Hero Fiennes Tiffin and John Boyega.
The Sony Pictures film is directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, whose body of work includes films such as Beyond the Lights (2014) and The Old Guard (2020) and TV shows like Shots Fired (2017).
Release Date: 23 September
Olivia Wilde directs Florence Pugh and Harry Styles in Don’t Worry Darling — why will fans not want to see the film on the big screen?
Everything in the film is centred in a fictional 1950s American town of Victory, which is populated by those who work for the top-secret Victory Project and their families. Alice (Pugh) and Jack (Styles) are a couple who live in the town.
Their lives look absolutely perfect, with the company taking care of their needs and a lively social life involving others living in the town. However, Alice starts discovering that everything is not as it appears underneath the utopian veneer of the town.
The story of the film is written by Carey and Shane Van Dyke, the grandchildren of Hollywood legend Dick Van Dyke, along with Katie Silberman. Gemma Chan, Chris Pine and KiKi Layne are also among the cast. Wilde, too, plays a supporting role in the film besides producing it alongside Silberman, Miri Yoon and Roy Lee.
The film is one of the upcoming movies in 2022 from Hollywood that has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was wrapped only in mid-February after its production was halted twice due to the virus infecting the crew.
Release date: 23 September
Even though Blonde is releasing on the same date as Don’t Worry Darling, both do not seem to be in direct competition. This is because the former will premiere straight on Netflix while the latter will have a theatrical release.
However, Blonde is one of the most significant of all upcoming movies in 2022 as it is about the Hollywood screen goddess Marilyn Monroe.
The film is based on the book of the same name by Joyce Carol Oates. It is not entirely biographical, as it takes a somewhat fictional look into the darker edges of Monroe’s life and career.
Blonde is set in the 1950s and 1960s, the period when Monroe (Ana de Armas), who was born Norma Jeane, was at her peak. Everything, from her relationships to failed marriages and her aversion to constant media attention, is explored in the film.
Besides de Armas, the film stars Bobby Cannavale, Adrien Brody, Julianne Nicholson, Sara Paxton, Lily Fisher, Dan Butler and Xavier Samuel, among others.
Brad Pitt serves as one of the film’s producers while Andrew Dominik, who directed the critically acclaimed The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007), is the director of Blonde.
Release date: 21 October
Dwayne Johnson joins the DC Extended Universe to become the super-powerful Black Adam — the nemesis to Shazam. In 2020, the wrestler-turned-actor was named the highest-paid celebrity in the world by Fortune. He is known for his action films, but Black Adam is his first in the crowded superhero space.
In a video posted on Instagram in July 2021, Johnson said, “The hierarchy of power in the DC UNIVERSE is changing.”
Black Adam is an anti-hero whose powers come from the same source as that of Shazam. He will be presented as a being who has returned after 5,000 years of imprisonment following the devastation across Kahndaq — a lost kingdom in the present time.
Others in important roles in the film are Noah Centineo as Atom Smasher, Aldis Hodge as Hawkman and Quintessa Swindell as Cyclone.
One of the most-anticipated Hollywood movies of 2022, Black Adam also stars Pierce Brosnan. The Irish actor, best known for playing James Bond, will be seen in his first film as a superhero — the wizard Doctor Fate.
Release date: 4 November
Its all-star cast is one of the biggest reasons why film lovers think that Amsterdam could be one of the best upcoming movies in 2022.
Sample this: Christian Bale, Margot Robbie and John David Washington are joined by Taylor Swift, Anya Taylor-Joy, Zoe Saldaña, Andrea Riseborough, Alessandro Nivola, Mike Myers, Matthias Schoenaerts, Michael Shannon and Chris Rock. Add to that, acting icons Rami Malek and Robert De Niro, and the anticipation for this film goes through the roof.
Not much is known about the film except that it is about a doctor, an attorney and a nurse getting entangled in a murder mystery. According to 20th Century Fox, Amsterdam is an “original crime epic about three close friends who find themselves at the centre of one of the most shocking secret plots in American history.”
Even though the trailer, which was released on 6 July, is two-and-half minutes long, no one gets an idea what that piece of American history is.
However, no cinema connoisseur would doubt the writing and direction of David O. Russell, whose works have landed him five Academy Award nominations in multiple categories.
Release date: 11 November
The tragic demise of actor Chadwick Boseman in 2020 came as a shock to not just MCU fans but also to the acting world. Boseman was an excellent actor who seamlessly glided into his roles and received plaudits for his performances. However, he will be remembered for immortalising Black Panther, one of the finest superhero characters of all time.
As a tribute to Boseman, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the 30th film in the MCU and one of the most-anticipated titles of 2022, will not feature the character of T’Challa. Nearly all other prominent characters return for the film — Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Angela Bassett, Winston Duke and Martin Freeman.
It is speculated that the most-anticipated film will focus on Wright’s character Shuri, who is T’Challa’s sister and the brain behind many of Wakanda’s technological marvels. The film, whose first teaser was released on 23 July, has been written and directed by Ryan Coogler, who earned acclaim for Black Panther (2018) — the first superhero movie to be nominated for an Oscar in the Best Film category.
Release date: 16 December
Even after more than a decade, Avatar (2009) remains the highest-grossing film in the world. And why not? James Cameron presented a world beyond imagination.
Populated with blue-skinned aliens whose culture, traditions and society thrived amidst unique life forms, the tranquil utopia was rudely disturbed by war-mongering humans with their destructive weapons.
Cameron hasn’t directed a single movie since Avatar but is now reportedly ready with a series of films to extend the franchise through 2028. This is why Avatar: The Way of Water is perhaps the most-anticipated Hollywood movie of 2022.
The film will star Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana as Jake Sully and Neytiri, respectively — the two main Na’vi characters on planet Pandora from the previous film.
Other actors, including those reprising their roles and new faces, are Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Kate Winslet, Vin Diesel, Michelle Yeoh, CJ Jones and CCH Pounder.
Release date: 21 December
The sequel to the DCEU film Shazam! (2019) would certainly be high on anyone’s list of upcoming movies in 2022. The superhero movie brings back teenage Billy Batson (Asher Angel) on the path of discovery of his incredible powers as he transforms into Shazam (Zachary Levi).
The plot of the film is not known, but a trailer released by Warner Bros. at the San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) on 23 July gives some idea.
Shazam faces the Daughters of Atlas — Hespera (Helen Mirren), Kalypso (Lucy Liu) and Anthea (Rachel Zegler) — who accuse him of robbing the powers of gods and, therefore, want them back. The rest of the trailer shows how Batson shares his powers with his adoptive siblings for what appears like a combined battle against the Daughters of Atlas.
David F. Sandberg, who directed the first Shazam! returns to help with the sequel. Among returning cast members are Jack Dylan Grazer, Adam Brody, Ross Butler, Meagan Good, D.J. Cotrona, Grace Caroline Currey, Faithe Herman, Ian Chen, Jovan Armand, Marta Milans, Cooper Andrews and Djimon Hounsou.
(Main and Featured images: Courtesy of 20th Century Studios/Courtesy of 20th Century Studio – © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved./IMDb)
This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Kuala Lumpur
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