Saturday 8 January 2022

My 11 Most Anticipated Films of 2022

Moving into year three of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Hollywood is looking to recapture its mojo with some major movies set to hit multiplexes. Here's a look ahead at what I'm most looking forward to in 2022.

There's a lot to look forward to in 2022 – assuming theatres stay open and Hollywood continues to weather the Omicron storm. New films from household names like David Fincher (The Killer), Jordan Peele (Nope), Michael Bay (Ambulance), Steven Spielberg (The Fabelmans) and Martin Scorsese (Killers of the Flower Moon) are on the way, as are three DC movies (The Flash, Aquaman, Black Adam), five Marvel films, two Pixar films and Halloween, Legally Blonde and Fantastic Beasts threequels. 

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Plenty of movies based on videogames are coming down the pipeline (there's Uncharted, Mario and a Sonic sequel) plus high-profile Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe biopics. So it's been a challenge whittling it down to just 11 – but here we are.

11th - Babylon (December)

Since his breakout feature Whiplash, Damien Chazelle is three for three. Whiplash is confident and assured film, La La Land is one of my favourite movies and his Neil Armstrong film First Man was an interesting, articulate biopic. Which is why I'm putting his fourth film – a period piece set in the Golden era of Hollywood – on this list sight unseen. With a cast that reportedly includes the likes of Margot Robbie, Brad Pitt, Olivia Wilde, Samara Weaving, Katherine Waterston and Flea, 

10th - Jurassic World: Dominion (June)

The sixth film in the Jurassic Park series sees Colin Trevorrow return to round out the 'new trilogy' that he started in 2015 with Jurassic World. Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard are back, and joining them are the OG cast from 1993 – Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum. 

The general consensus on Jurassic World and Fallen Kingdom is that they are good at best and lukewarm at worst, and I'm on the upper end of that spectrum. I enjoyed both quite a bit at the time, but have only revisited the former once.

After the cliffhanger to the last movie, Dominion should be, at the very least, fun. The dinosaurs have now escaped and are on the loose, something which opens up a whole world of possibilities (pun intended). Plus, it'll be cool to see the original cast back, especially since Goldblum's cameo in Fallen Kingdom was wasted. 

9th - Moonfall (February)

Okay, snicker if you must – but Roland Emmerich's Moonfall, a film which sees a team of astronauts travelling into space to stop the literal Moon from crashing into Earth, is 100 per cent the ridiculous, messy Hollywood bullshit that I'm here for. Disaster movies are a forgotten art so the prospect of Emmerich, a man who pretty much perfected the genre with the likes of Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow, returning to this playground is exactly what I've been waiting for.  

Starring Halle Berry, Patrick Wilson, Michael Pena and Donald Sutherland, Moonfall is budgeted at $140 million – let's hope that every cent of that exorbitant cost is splashed across the screen in eye-watering 8K UHD splendour. 

8th - The Northman (April)

At the other end of the spectrum to Moonfall is Robert Eggers' new film, The Northman, an epic Viking saga that sees Nordic prince Amleth (Alexander Skarsgard) hunting the man who killed his father and imprisoned his mother (Nicole Kidman). The cast also includes the likes of Anya Taylor Joy, Willem Dafoe, Ethan Hawke and Bjork.

Eggers' third film is his biggest yet, and his first outside the A24 umbrella. The trailer promises vicious Viking battles and violence, but knowing Eggers, there's bound to be something deeply weird and strange afoot here. If The Witch and The Lighthouse are anything to go by, Eggers will root this tale in truth and pay homage to history in ways that other filmmakers might shy away from. Expect something subversive and different, rather than your run-of-the-mill Viking tale. 

7th - Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (May)

Marvel has three heavy-hitters headlining its cinema slate in 2022. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will put Letitia Wright's Shuri front and centre, Taika Waititi is returning to pair Thor with the Guardians of the Galaxy in Thor: Love and Thunder, and Sam Raimi is back in the superhero business for a Doctor Strange sequel that also features Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch. 

It's this latter film that tickles my fancy most; largely because Benedict Cumberbatch's Stephen Strange has been a supporting character in a few Marvel projects since his first solo film, so I'm curious to revisit that part of the universe and check in with characters like nemesis Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and coworker slash girlfriend Christine (Rachel McAdams). 

The recent teaser trailer, which came attached to Spider-Man: No Way Home, hints at the prospect of a mirror universe version of Strange serving as the antagonist – maybe the evil Strange that cropped up in What If...? Marvel's 2021 films were hit (Shang Chi) and miss (Eternals); let's hope there's more of the former in what they have lined up in 2022. 

6th - Knives Out 2 (2022)

Wind back the clock to November 2019 and Rian Johnson's murder-mystery ensemble Knives Out has just notched up a tidy $300 million off the back of a $40 million production budget – pretty unexpected at the time and completely unachievable nowadays, during a pandemic. 

Since then, Netflix has swooped in and poached Johnson, forking out over $400 million for the production and distribution of two sequels. The first of which – only known as Knives Out 2 at the moment – retains Daniel Craig as the suave detective Benoit Blanc and drops him onto a picturesque Greek island alongside an all-star cast, which includes Edward Norton, Dave Bautista, Janelle Monae, Kate Hudson, Kathryn Hudson, Ethan Hawke, Jessica Henwick and Leslie Odom Jnr. 

With no plot details to speak of or even a release date, Knives Out 2 is a mystery in more ways than one. But Johnson has a track record of delivering the goods, and the fact this will drop on Netflix is a big coup for the streamer. Good stuff all round. 

5th - Top Gun: Maverick (May)

Tom Cruise has been promising audiences a second Top Gun for years, and this sequel – directed by Joseph Kosinski (Oblivion, TRON: Legacy) was shot in a pre-COVID world and has been sitting on the runway ever since, waiting for an opportune moment to swoop into cinemas.

Perhaps May 2022 is when Cruise's latest makes its landing; it's impossible to know nowadays. But, based on the trailers, this is every ounce the earnest and eager sequel that audiences have been waiting for, with plenty of choreographed dogfights, head-spinning camerawork, dreamy motorcycle rides, homoerotic sports and a reprise of Harold Faltermeyer original Top Gun theme. 

Cruise is back in the cockpit as ageing airforce instructor Pete 'Maverick' Mitchell, and in typical Cruise fashion, has ensured lots of the aerial stunts have his mug front and centre. And you know what, hats off to him – the stuntwork will no doubt astound in the same fashion as the Mission Impossible series. Speaking of Mission Impossible...

4th - Mission Impossible 7 (September)

Following the success of Mission Impossible Fallout, Tom Cruise and Christopher McQuarrie set about fashioning not one but two back-to-back sequels that up the ante and bring the action. 

The first, which doesn't have a subtitle yet (maybe it'll have a COVID spin, like Subject Zero or Delta Variant?) is set to drop in September, after shooting for what felt like forever and a day, in exotic locales such as Norway, Switzerland, Italy and...Birmingham. 

In terms of plot, there's very little on record right now – what we do know is that the usual suspects are back once again, with Cruise lining up alongside Simon Pegg's Benji, Ving Rhames' Luther, Rebecca Ferguson's Ilsa and Vanessa Kirby's Alana. Joining the cast are the likes of Hayley Atwell, Pom Klementieff, Shea Whigham, Rob Delaney and Mark Gatiss. What we have seen looks good; lots of daring hijinks including cars, trains and a spectacular motorcycle jump.

3rd - Avatar 2 (December)

There's one golden rule in Hollywood: Never bet against James Cameron. He might not be the most prolific filmmaker – hell, Avatar 2 will be his first feature film since the first Avatar in 2009 – but he is one of the most consistently successful and innovative. Aliens, Terminator 2, True Lies, Titanic, Avatar: each entry into the Cameron canon brings with it something new, exciting and dominates the box office.

Avatar 2 is his most audacious undertaking to date. Cameron has been beavering away on Avatar 2 and its sequels for over a decade, with photography in California and New Zealand taking over three years. Three years! Imagine that!

The lengthy production can largely be attributed to the technology that Cameron is looking to employ; once again, he's a filmmaker pushing visual effects and filmmaking forward (such as the ability to render performance capture in underwater environments), rather than waiting for others to get there first. With a budget of $250 million, Avatar 2 promises to be one of the biggest and most ambitious films ever released. Whether it pays off, is something else – but only a brave man would bet against Cameron.

2nd - Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse Part One (October)

Much like Paramount did with Mission Impossible, Sony took one look at the critical and audience reception to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and fast-tracked not one but two sequels. A trailer for the first, Across the Spider-Verse Part One, dropped earlier this month and...yep, that'll do it. I'm onboard, no questions asked.

The trailer doesn't give away much, aside from giving us a first look at an older Miles Morales being reunited with Gwen Stacey, courtesy of some multiverse magic. Other than that, we're in the dark. All we know is that Oscar Isaac will voice a version of Spider-Man from the year 2099, so chances are we're both travelling through space and time. I don't need to know anything else about this one, I would have been there on opening night, sight unseen.

1st - The Batman (March)

Robert Pattinson steps into the cape and cowl of Batman in 2022, taking over from Ben Affleck for a new iteration from the mind of Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, the rebooted Planet of the Apes series). On paper, it sounds a lot like Batman films from before – Bruce Wayne is a tormented young man who uses his enormous wealth to fight crime in Gotham City, crossing paths with colourful characters and villains along the way. 

But there's something about this film, from what we've glimpsed in the trailers, that scratches that itch and gets the pulse racing. Plenty of filmmakers have tried to make Batman work; some have succeeded (Nolan), some have failed (Schumacher). 

At first glance, it looks like Reeves wholeheartedly belongs with the former. The cinematography is staggering; the action looks propulsive and punchy; the mood is gloomy and menacing. The cast – Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman, Paul Dano as The Riddler, Andy Serkis as Alfred – is wonderful. Is it March yet? 

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...