- The Batman (March 4)
The Batman began as a DCEU installment directed by and starring Ben Affleck. It's now a non-DCEU movie directed by Matt Reeves and starring Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne - and arguably the most eagerly awaited movie release of 2022. Taking an even darker perspective than Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight trilogy, The Batman replaces the urban grit of Christian Bale's Batman with a grungy neo-noir aesthetic that simultaneously feels familiar and refreshing. Boasting an impressive supporting cast of Paul Dano as Riddler, Zoë Kravitz as Catwoman, Jeffrey Wright as Jim Gordon, Andy Serkis as Alfred, and Colin Farrell as Penguin, The Batman promises to be a no-holds-barred marriage of brooding detective work and brutal violence, as Pattinson's Batman enters only his second year patrolling the streets of Gotham. The Batman's trailers have been rapturously received online, and speculation over the full plot is running wild with only a few months remaining until release. Hollywood's superhero obsession shows no sign of abating, but if The Batman is everything they say, the genre still has cards up its sleeve in 2022.
- Uncharted (February 11)
We should know better, really. Despite Detective Pikachu and Sonic the Hedgehog bucking the trend in recent years, the general rule of thumb remains to expect little from video game movie adaptations. And yet it's difficult not to get a little pumped about Uncharted. Based on Nathan Drake's digital exploits, Uncharted stars Tom Holland as the leading man alongside Mark Wahlberg playing his mentor, Sully. Trailers have thrown up a few red flags for Uncharted game fans, but the overall emphasis on action and adventure in exotic locations remains untouched, and Tom Holland's star has grown considerably since he first signed onto the project. Can Uncharted break the pattern of bad video game movies? It's the hope that kills you...
- Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness (May 6)
Of the three MCU releases lined up for 2022, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness holds the most glorious purpose. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch's supreme-ish sorcerer fresh from his disastrous experience in Spider-Man: No Way Home, Strange must fix the rapidly decaying multiverse with help from Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch and Xochitl Gomez's America Chavez. They'll join franchise regulars Benedict Wong (Wong), Rachel McAdams (Christine Palmer) and Chiwetel Ejiofor (Mordo). Part of Doctor Strange 2's huge appeal comes from Sam Raimi in the director's chair. As unfortunate as Scott Derrickson's (original Doctor Strange director) MCU exit was, the prospect of Raimi returning to the superhero genre for the first time since Spider-Man 3 and adding a horror tinge to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is impossible to deny. There's also the sheer unpredictability created by the MCU's multiverse mechanic. Who might turn up? Which franchises could become canon? Which alternate character variants will we meet?
- The Northman (April 22)
If The Northman adds up to the sum of its parts, this mysterious action thriller could become one of 2022's surprise packages. Robert Eggers (The Lighthouse, The Witch) directs Anya Taylor-Joy, Alexander Skarsgård, Willem Dafoe and Nicole Kidman in a viking revenge thriller that blends historical action with more mystical qualities - like Vikings but on a cinematic scale. Eggers helped Taylor-Joy toward stardom with The Witch, and The Northman could mark the director's transition toward a more mainstream audience. The Northman's trailer dropped in December to a positive response, and the finished film could capitalize on The Green Knight's historic fantasy success.
- Top Gun: Maverick (May 27)
2021 was supposed to be the year of Tom Cruise thanks to Mission: Impossible 7 and Top Gun: Maverick, but all we got was that shouty on-set leaked recording. Fortunately (depending on your perspective), 2022 might finally deliver for the Cruise crew. Top Gun isn't the most intelligent movie in town, but the high-flying ace of 1986 came to define its era with quotable lines, big action, and a top soundtrack. How Top Gun: Maverick fares 35 years later is a question that should've been answered in 2019, 2020, 2021, and now, finally, 2022. As well as Cruise, Top Gun: Maverick features Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris and Jon Hamm, while Val Kilmer reenters the danger zone as Iceman. A nostalgia trip it may be, but Cruise has shown incredible dedication to delivering the most visually-stunning flight sequences ever put to film, which makes Top Gun: Maverick worth a look even for those still sneering at the original.
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