Let me go ahead and warn you, this list is long. The reason being is so I could include a wide arrange of films I am so looking forward to this year. From blockbuster superhero films, to indie dramas, to revenge stories, I have tried to add a little bit of everything that I am looking forward to this year.
Anticipated for 2022, but could be 2023:
Maestro, The Way of the Wind, Bones & All, Men, The Killer, Kitbag
I had to include Avatar 2, not because I am excited for it – I liked, didn’t love the first – but because I really just want to see if this thing is even real. It has been 13 years since the original Avatar, and the sequel has been teased probably every year since. Is this the year it finally comes out?
Expected Release: December 16
The video game itself has one of the better storylines I have seen from a video game, and the characters all seem as though they would lend themself well to the big screen. The casting choices have been perfect, and I think this has a chance to be one of the best video game to movie adaptations ever.
Thor: Love and Thunder
Thor becomes the first Marvel character to get a fourth film, which makes sense given his rejuvenation with Thor: Ragnarok and both previous Avengers movies. Love and Thunder brings back Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Natalie Portman as Jane Foster. This film also includes Karen Gillan’s Nebula, Chris Pratt’s Starlord, and Tessa Thompson’s Valyrie. Christian Bale and Russell Crowe will be introduced to the MCU playing Gorr and Zeus respectively. Ragnarok was an inventive and fun new turn for Thor that changed the character for the better, and hopefully Love and Thunder can continue that path.
Expected Release: July 8
I get that this is just a money ploy, but in my opinion it looks like a really good one. I really enjoyed the teaser – even if it did just look like animated First Man – and the origin for Buzz Lightyear is one they could take in some pretty interesting directions. As a massive fan of the Toy Story trilogy (not the fourth so much) I am looking forward to seeing where they could take this story and this character.
Expected Release: June 17
One of two Adam Sandler movies that makes its way onto my list. This one, however, might be the more comedic of the two. Hustle follows Adam Sandler, a washed-up NBA scout, as he finds a generational talent in a street ball player from Spain. The story feels very much like an NBA 2K MyPlayer storyline – which makes sense given the writers are some of the writers for the 2K MyPlayers – but the reason this intrigues me is because of the director, Jeremiah Zagar. Zagar’s previous film, We The Animals, won the “NEXT Innovator Award” at Sundance in 2018, and his involvement gives me hope that this could show the better side of Adam Sandler’s acting abilities.
The French Dispatch was an enjoyable film, but it was far too Wes Anderson for his own good. My hope is that Asteroid City takes Anderson back to his simple stories told in the most extravagant of ways. He is bringing back his long-time collaborators: Bill Murray, Jeffrey Wright, Adrian Brody, Jeff Goldblum, etc., but he is also adding Scarlett Johansson, Margot Robbie, and Tom Hanks. Not much is known about this film other than it is a love story set in Europe. Let’s just hope this isn’t another anthology.
Don’t Worry Darling
I will be the first to admit I wasn’t the biggest fan of Olivia Wilde’s Booksmart. Don’t Worry Darling looks to be more of a psychological thriller, which excites me, and the duo of Florence Pugh and Harry Styles raises the bar even more. Pugh has become one of the fastest rising stars in Hollywood, and Styles – who recently made his appearance in the MCU as Starfox – is picking up a ton of acting steam himself. The synopsis of this film seems to be sinister, and so I am interested to see how Wilde makes the jump into the thriller realm.
Expected Release: September 23
Knives Out 2
Rian Johnson caught lightning in a bottle with Knives Out. He reinvigorated the whodunnit genre of film, and also gave us one of the funniest movies of the decade. It’s re-watchable one as well as the killer isn’t as important as everything else that is going on around them. Knives Out 2 brings back Daniel Craig’s incredible Benoit Blanc for a different story will all knew characters. My only wonder is if Johnson can recapture the same magic.
Killers of the Flower Moon
Martin Scorsese’s western epic involves a loaded cast and a truly in-depth story. This movie is going to tell the story of the birth of the FBI. I am admittedly not the biggest Scorsese fan in the world, but from what I know about this story, and the people involved, this could end up being one of Marty’s movies I really enjoy.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
I think everyone is curious about the same thing, and that’s what they’re going to do with the character of the Black Panther after Chadwick Boseman’s tragic death. Marvel has promised not to recast Boseman’s T’Challa, which means they will have to find a new character to take up the mantle of the Black Panther in the MCU. Hopefully director Ryan Coogler can recapture the reigns of this series and deliver something as powerful as the original.
Expected Release: November 11
Peter Pan and Wendy
As a big fan of David Lowery, I will watch anything he makes. He stated he is making a “Peter Pan” film inspired by The Lighthouse, and that’s something that is so insane it just might work. I don’t know much more about what direction this iteration of Peter Pan will take, but I do know Jude Law is playing Captain Hook.
I will be the first to say I am not the biggest fan of Baz Luhrmann’s, distinct, style. I enjoyed Moulin Rouge!, but other than that he just isn’t quite the chaotic energy that I really enjoy in films. I also was someone really pushing for Miles Teller, or even Harry Styles, to take on the role of Elvis. All this just to say, even though it seems as though there is a lot going against this film for me, something keeps pulling me back in. Not much I have wanted from this project has happened so far, but the unknowingness of what this will actually be excites me.
Expected Release: June 24
Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness
After the events of Spider-Man: No Way Home, and the rest of the Marvel tv shows, Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness means just a little more in the major scale of what Marvel is planning for the future. Sam Raimi is directing this film, and hopefully he can bring enough horror elements to really bring something different an interesting to the MCU.
Expected Release: May 6
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
I am a firm believer that Nicolas Cage is one of the greatest actors that has ever appeared in front of a camera. I feel as though Cage can pull off vastly different performances that many people just can’t, especially not at the level he does. I was hoping The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent was going to be a self reflective piece on the career he has had thus far, but an outlandish comedy involving the CIA, Pedro Pascal, and trying to get cast in the newest Tarantino film isn’t bad either.
Expected Release: April 22
From the Oscar winning creators of Bao comes Pixar’s next look into the struggling and anxious teenager. Pixar has always been very good at creating animated films that can be enjoyed by all and understood by some. They have managed to create films that reel people in, but ultimately include some darker and depressing elements. Their last film Luca was a much more breezy and lighthearted affair of two friends, which makes sense following the heartbreaking, and at times daunting, Soul. Turning Red looks to be a return into the realm of deeper topics as it follows a young girl who, when getting anxious, turns into a literal beast.
Expected Release: March 10
Yorgos Lanthimos is back with a movie that I don’t think I could try to explain if I wanted to. The cast is fantastic though bringing together: Emma Stone, Willem Dafoe, Ramy Youseff, Christopher Abbott, Jerrod Carmichael, Kathryn Hunter, Mark Ruffalo, and Margaret Qually. I am excited for this, but I want to know as little about it as I can, because I think that is the best way to experience a Yorgos Lanthimos film.
While action movies might not necessarily be “my thing,” Dev Patel most certainly is. This film, which was bought by Netflix, has been called “John Wick in Mumbai.” I personally think Dev Patel is one of the best actors working, and with this being his follow up to his highly acclaimed The Green Knight, I am excited to see what he can bring both in front and behind the camera.
Florian Zeller won an Oscar for 2020’s The Father, an adaptation of his own play. The Father was a genius psychological-thriller taking the audience through the eyes of a father with dementia. The Son brings back Anthony Hopkins, who won the Oscar for The Father, and also includes Vanessa Kirby, Laura Dern, and Hugh Jackman. Jackman in this film is playing a father who is forced to reconnect with a son he had with his ex-wife. I am interested to see if Zeller can bring another one of his plays to life the same way he did The Father.
Next Goal Wins
The exclusion of Armie Hammer at the hand of Will Arnett shot this film up my list. Taika Waititi’s adaptation of the 2014 British Documentary of the Samoan Soccer Team that suffered the biggest lost in World Cup history. Waititi’s humor should provide some lighthearted fun to the film, but what I am more excited to see if he includes some dramatic elements too to elevate this sports film.
Ari Aster has created 2 classic horror films in Hereditary and Midsommar. Aster has been open about his willingness to do something other than pure horror, and Disappointment Blvd. could be what he was talking about. IMDb has this film listed as Comedy first, Drama second, and Horror last. Staring Joaquin Phoenix, Disappointment Blvd. is a decades-spanning portrait of one of the most successful entrepreneurs of all time. Phoenix in an Aster film is already exciting, but Phoenix in an Aster film which might include the director experimenting with other genres is what is truly enticing.
Expected Release: April 22
Noah Baumbach has made his mark on family and personal dramas – a majority of the films he has directed cover this topic – but with White Noise, he is stepping out of his comfort zone into more mysterious drama. The cast for this film is massive with Adam Driver as the lead followed by: Don Cheadle, Jodie Turner Smith, Andre 3000, and Greta Gerwig. Telling the story of a professor pioneering the field of “Hitler studies” is undoubtedly a tall task, but Baumbach has proven his abilities as a writer/director to pull off very sensitive subjects.
So, here’s the thing, I am not a Batman fan. I have never been the biggest fan of the character, and while I have liked some of the Batman films, Batman himself wasn’t what stuck out to me. However, I am a massive Robert Pattinson, Paul Dano, and Matt Reeves fan, and so that right there is enough for me to get incredibly invested in this project. The trailers have all looked amazing, and the promise of this film being more a grim detective story rather than a “superhero” film is just what I was wanting from this movie.
Expected Release: March 4
THE BRENDAN FRASER RENAISSANCE IS HERE! REJOICE! Darren Aronofsky’s Mother! follow up is based on a play about a reclusive 600 lb. English teacher (Fraser) who is attempting at reconnecting with his teenage daughter (Sadie Sink). We have seen Aronofsky tackle “father reconnects with daughter” before in The Wrestler, and here he will give Fraser his best chance of his entire career at proving his acting talents, and hopefully getting him an Oscar nomination in the process.
As a massive fan of Rocky – one of my all-time favorite films – I have absolutely adored each iteration of Creed. Creed was a perfect continuation of the franchise and revitalized it for a newer audience. Creed III will be the first of any of the Rocky/Creed movies that won’t include Sylvester Stallone. This film will also be the directorial debut for Michael B. Jordan. With the first 2 Creed films being so well received in my eyes, Creed III is an easy addition to this list, but it also makes me wonder if it will live up to the rest of the series.
Expected Release: November 23
Robert Eggers is directing his third major film, and he is taking a massive shift after his horror classics The VVitch and The Lighthouse. The Northman, from the trailer, looks to be more an action revenge story, and if we know anything about Eggers it’s that he won’t hold back. This could be one of the most off the wall and exciting action/revenge movies in recent memory, and I know Eggers will make it one of the most visually engaging.
Expected Release: April 8
A Damien Chazelle movie staring Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie about the transition from silent films to talkies? Uhm, yea, I am all in on this one. Damien Chazelle has made 3 incredible films so far – First Man being the best – and this newest film will be a look at classic Hollywood and one of the biggest changes in cinema history. There is set to be a mix of historical and fictional characters which excites me for the possibilities of who could actually be in this film, and honestly, anything classic Hollywood I am all for.
Expected Release: December 25
Jordan Peele’s first film Get Out won the Key & Peele star the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, and saw him pick up nominations in both Director and Picture – something unprecedented for a horror film. His follow up, Us, was, in my opinion, one of the best horror films of the past 20 years, and provided a space for Lupita Nyong’o to give one of the best performances ever put to screen. Clearly, Peele has enough understanding of horror, and film in general, to really know how to make an audience tic. Nope stars an amazing cast reuniting Peele with Get Out star Daniel Kaluuya, also bringing in Keke Palmer and Steven Yeun. Hoyte Van Hoytema (Dunkirk, Tenet) will be behind the camera and Michael Abels (Get Out, Us) is behind the music. The plot of this film is unknown, but if Peele’s first two films are any indicator, the real plot might never be known.
Expected Release: July 22
Steven Spielberg, whether he’s your favorite or not, is undoubtedly one the greatest directors of all-time. He has succeeded at large budget franchise films as well as small scale films as well. His follow up to West Side Story is bound to be his most personal film yet as it is a semi-autobiographical story of his own childhood. Spielberg is also co-writing (something he doesn’t usually do) with West Side Story collaborator Tony Kushner. The thought of a personal story by one of the greatest directors of all-time about one of the greatest directors of all-time sounds so intriguing to me. Also, something about Seth Rogen playing the fictional uncle to Steven Spielberg gets my Oscar Supporting Actor juices flowing.
Expected Release: November 23
There might be bigger Adam Sandler fans than me, but I don’t know if there is a bigger Dramatic Adam Sandler fan than me. I grew up on his comedies: Waterboy, Happy Gilmore, etc., but it is his dramatic work that has really stuck with me through the years. Punch-Drunk Love is one of my all-time favorite movies, and Sandler gives one of my favorite performances in that film, and then with Uncut Gems he raised the bar of just how high he could go as an actor. He has played a myriad of dramatic roles, and with Spaceman Sandler is going to have to pull a lot of them together in a role that has him primarily on his own, aside from a talking giant space arachnid of course. This film also is under the direction of Johan Renck who directed the HBO Limited Series Chernobyl. If this movie is anything like the show, Sandler could be poised to break out the best work of his career so far.
Across the Spider-Verse (Part One)
One of the biggest surprises of 2021 wasn’t that I loved Spider-Man: No Way Home, but that it was my #1 movie of the entire year. Across the Spider-Verse (Part One), the sequel to the insanely successful Into the Spider-Verse, has a very realistic chance of making it back to back that a Spider-Man film is my number one of the year. Into the Spider-Verse is one of my all-time favorite movies, and, in my opinion, the best animated movie ever made. The shoes for Across the Spider-Verse (Part One) to fill are massive, but I have full faith in the team behind the film.
Expected Release: October 7
Jacob is a Graduate of Western Kentucky University where he earned a History/Film Studies Degree. He is a film critic and co-founder of the Music City Drive-In. He is also a member of the North American Film Critics Association and the Music City Film Critics’ Association. You can find him on Twitter @Tberry57.