The Most Anticipated New Movies of 2022 – Paste – Paste Magazine

The fears, both for safety and for lost profits, of the film industry made 2021 a relatively light year for blockbusters. Sure, there were a slew of great streaming and indie offerings, but for the most part, there were more kerfuffles around things going straight-to-streaming than there were bonafide box office hits. 2022 is where most of those would-be financial bangers were bumped, leaving a ton of superhero properties, AAA adaptations and big-name directors in the lurch. Now 2022 is here and, well, things aren’t exactly as solid as we’d like.
But those films are on the calendar still, accompanied by a number of exciting movies from established “time to get amped for them” filmmakers like Jordan Peele, Gina Prince-Bythewood and the Daniels. Oh, and Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese. Y’know, those guys. Add in some of the more exciting IP turns in a while with new Batman and Spider-Man films, and there’s something for everyone here—even those that simply want to get randy for Florence Pugh and Harry Styles.
This list is of course not set in stone, as release dates shift in accordance with new variants of COVID and the degree to which the populace/government takes them seriously—something that, this week alone, has already pushed back a pair of movies and moved the Sundance Film Festival to online-only.
But for now, here are Paste’s Most Anticipated Movies of 2022, listed by release date:
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Release Date: March 4
Director: Matt Reeves
While superhero fatigue is rampant, and Batman fatigue is almost as prevalent as Spider-Man fatigue (and they only usually give us one Batman per movie), I still can’t help but want to see what Matt Reeves and Robert Pattinson do with Bruce Wayne. Zoë Kravitz and Paul Dano as Catwoman and the Riddler definitely add to the experience, but I’m a sucker for emo-skewing detective stories anyways. If the lead sadsack investigator dresses up like a big bad bat, so be it. Besides, Pattinson and Reeves have both showed enough ability (those Planet of the Apes movies are good, as were basically all Pattinson’s performances from the last decade) that any collaboration between the two should be exciting.
Release Date: March 25
Director: Daniels
Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert won my attention for life with the essential bit of relationship body horror/comedy that is Swiss Army Man. Now, the eccentric filmmaking duo is back pushing boundaries with a multiverse-spanning Michelle Yeoh vehicle. The mindboggling trailer for Everything Everywhere All at Once sees the star navigate endless realities, using all her skills to battle a multidimensional evil. Big fight scenes, singing racoons, really long fingers, and googly eyes—nobody’s making movies like Daniels and I for one am thankful for that.
Release Date: April 22
Director: Robert Eggers
The Witch and The Lighthouse’s Robert Eggers has definitely been playing some Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, as the first trailer for The Northman teases a pure Viking revenge epic. A great cast of returning collaborators (Willem Dafoe, Kate Dickie, Ralph Ineson and Anya Taylor-Joy) and exciting newcomers (Ethan Hawke, goddamn Bjork), all grimy as can be, looks to make this more than a bloody action movie. I mean, I’m sure it’ll be bloody, but it’ll also be cool and weird. Y’know, like Vikings and Alexander Skarsgård’s abs.
nope-inline.jpg Release Date: July 22
Director: Jordan Peele
Us was a strange and ambitious follow-up to Get Out, which makes Jordan Peele’s next directorial effort even more exciting. What the hell is Nope going to get up to? All we’ve got is a poster and a cast. Even if we didn’t know it’d star Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer and Steven Yeun, horror fans should agree that in Peele we trust.
widows-inline.jpg Release Date: September 16
Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood
Viola Davis is a general with The Underground Railroad breakout Thuso Mbedu as her young recruit in Gina Prince-Bythewood’s upcoming historical epic. If that’s not enough, perhaps its story of military resistance to oppression and slavery might excite you. If that’s not enough, maybe you should remember that Lashana Lynch and John Boyega are supporting these leads—one of whom is Viola freakin’ Davis, playing a badass general. If that still doesn’t intrigue you, there’s nothing else I can do until a trailer drops. Until then, I’ll be over here reading about the Kingdom of Dahomey.
dont-worry-darling-inline.jpg Release Date: September 23
Director: Olivia Wilde
Olivia Wilde’s follow-up to her much-loved debut Booksmart, Don’t Worry Darling will not be a relatably silly and raunchy teen comedy. Instead, it’ll be a psychosexual thriller with stars whose very names may cause you to get hot and/or sweaty: Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Chris Pine, Gemma Chan. A ‘50s-set production about secrets in a utopian community, the film’s a rarity: An original, adult-oriented, woman-directed drama. That’s enough to get me in the door, and that cast is enough to keep me glued to the screen. Here’s hoping it rules.
spider-man-across-the-spider-verse-inline.jpg Release Date: October 7
Director: Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, Justin K. Thompson
The best superhero movie of the modern era is getting a sequel, and that’s exciting enough. But taken as a response to the MCU’s No Way Home, which does similar multiverse antics to more limited success, it’s a chance for the innovative animated franchise to continue proving the potential of its medium. Into the Spider-Verse already found a uniquely comicky aesthetic, both in style and animation technique, while bringing in a bunch of goofball characters that didn’t require any outside knowledge of the superhero world. Now that a foundation has been laid, the sky’s the limit—and when Spider-Folk see open skies, they’re in their acrobatic element.
Release Date: November 23
Director: Steven Spielberg
If there were ever any rumblings that Steven Spielberg’s late period was going to be underwhelming (which The BFG and its followers kinda hinted at), West Side Story erased them. Spielberg’s still a king when the material is right. With The Fabelmans, the material is as close to him as it could get. Co-writing with his frequent collaborator Tony Kushner, Spielberg’s making a coming-of-age movie even more personal than his others. Loosely based on his own family and childhood, The Fabelmans sees a killer cast take on a surprisingly ambitious project for Spielberg: A straightforward family drama.
62-Avatar-100-best-sci-fi.jpg Release Date: December 16
Director: James Cameron
Ok, show of hands: Who actually thinks we’re going to get to see a new Avatar in 2022? Wow, really? Ok, then I guess let’s write it up. It’s been nearly 100 years since James Cameron rocketed to the top of the box office with his tech-pushing sci-fi in 2009. Pandora—and screwing around in the ocean—has consumed his life ever since. I’m honestly just happy if he’s happy, but can you imagine if the second Avatar and its slew of subsequent sequels actually turn out to be anywhere close to worthy of the investment behind them? While it might seem far-fetched, it’s worth being optimistic about the Na’vi, since it is James Cameron we’re talking about here. And, as the MCU and DC films continue to dominate the theatrical world, it might just be nice to have another massive effects-driven franchise give them a run for their money.
killers-of-the-flower-moon-inline.jpg Release Date: TBD
Director: Martin Scorsese
I’m so, so curious to see how Martin Scorsese pulls off this story of murder, racism, governmental oppression, the FBI, Indigenous mistreatment and land rights. Marty’s back with his regulars, bringing Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro into the fold, but it’s Lily Gladstone I’m most intrigued by in this movie. There’s plenty of potential for this David Grann adaptation to come off as a little thematically messy—especially considering how nuance can be constrained in a film’s narrative compared to the more expansive medium of prose—but it’s a fool’s errand to underestimate what Scorsese is capable of. We can only wait on the edge of our seats for his complex Western follow-up to The Irishman.
Jacob Oller is Movies Editor at Paste Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter at @jacoboller.
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