By William L.G. Stephens
Picking the 10 best films from the 2022 lineup of upcoming releases is virtually impossible.
But, in a year that is going to be packed with superhero films, long-awaited sequels and a few romantic-comedy features, I tried my best.
Condolences to “Indiana Jones: 79” sorry I mean “Indiana Jones: 5,” “Uncharted,” which stars Mark Wahlberg basically playing Mark Wahlberg, and anyone who gets guilt tripped by their partner into watching “Downton Abbey: A New Era.”
After a year of the pandemic-era box office, we still aren’t out of the woods yet, so predicting if these films will be released on their posted date is a lot like predicting a wrestling match: It’s all subject to change.
So “bend and snap,” and kudos to you if you got that “Legally Blonde” reference.
10. “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” – Release: May 6
It’s wild to think that Benedict Cumberbatch only has one standalone “Doctor Strange” film. It certainly doesn’t feel that way.
After all, he’s played a pivotal role in “The Avengers” franchise and most recently “Spider-Man: No Way Home.”
But come May that will no longer be the case.
If that’s not enough to get you excited, “Evil Dead” and “Drag Me To Hell” director Sam Raimi will be taking over directing duties. Raimi also directed the Tobey Maguire “Spider-Man” films. So he is no stranger to Marvel.
9. “The Northman” – Release: Aug. 12
Robert Eggers, director of “The Witch” and “The Lighthouse” will once again be returning to a period piece. This time with a film he co-wrote about a viking prince (Alexander Skarsgård) going on a mission to avenge his father’s death at the hands of his uncle.
Joining the cast will be Nicole Kidman, Anya Taylor-Joy, Willem Dafoe, Ethan Hawke, and Icelandic singer/songwriter Bjork.
8. “Avatar 2” Release: Dec. 16
I would be shocked if you haven’t seen James Cameron’s 2009 “Avatar.” It’s only the second highest grossing film of all time.
The second installment in the franchise will bring back the familiar cast members from the first one with the addition of Kate Winslet and Vin Diesel.
The film is set to be released the same day as “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” so expect one of those two movies to be moved to a different release date.
“Avatar 3” is already tentatively planned for a 2024 release date.
7. “Jackass Forever” Release: Feb. 4
By the time you read this, the fourth feature film in the Jackass franchise has come out. However, I simply can’t neglect “the boys.”
What started out as nothing more than a bunch of dudes getting together, skateboarding and doing ridiculous stunts has manifested itself into a generation of misfits.
Originally set to be released last year, the film was delayed by COVID-19 and then once again by a lawsuit of fellow Jackass member Bam Margera.
Something about getting together with your friends after a long hiatus always hits home.
6. “Top Gun: Maverick” Release: May 27
“I won’t let you down Goose,” the excessively quotable, over the top, cheesy pinnacle of ’80s films, is finally getting a sequel more than 35 years later.
Returning to the “Danger Zone” are Maverick (Tom Cruise) and Iceman (Val Kilmer). Miles Teller, Ed Harris and Jon Hamn are also joining in on the action.
The film has been delayed several times due to the pandemic. Let’s cross our fingers and hope it’s worth the wait.
5. “Thor: Love and Thunder” Release: May 6
In a year that is going to be packed with superhero releases, I had to go with my man with the giant hammer.
Most of the anticipation comes from how great of a film the previous installment in the franchise, “Thor: Ragnarok,” was. Not to mention the fact that Taika Waititi will be returning behind the camera.
If you need more persuasion, Christian Bale will be playing “Gorr the God Butcher.” Is there a darker villain name than that?
4. “Nope” Release: Aug. 12
It’s hard to find a better horror writer and director right now than Jordan Peele and Ari Aster — don’t worry, we will get to the latter later in this list.
Jordan Peele blew audiences away with his debut film “Get Out” in 2017. Last year he wrote and produced for the “Candyman” remake which was arguably even better than the original.
Now he is once again writing and directing his latest film, simply called “Nope.” As of right now the plot is unknown, and I’m not even mad. I’m sure whatever it’s about it will be one of the best films of ’22.
3. “Killers of the Flower Moon” Release: Sometime in 2022
Scorsese. De Niro. DiCaprio. Let that sink in.
The film, which will be Scorsese’s sixth collaboration with Leo and 10th with De Niro , is based on the 2017 book of the same name by David Grann.
Members of the Osage tribe in the United States are murdered under mysterious circumstances in the 1920s causing J. Edgar Hoover, the notorious first Director of the F.B.I., to investigate.
2. “Disappointment Blvd” Release: Sometime in 2022
Filmmaker Ari Aster has only two films under his belt.
They just so happen to be “Hereditary” and “Midsommar,” two movies that have redefined horror films by adding more to the genre than jumps scares and body counts.
Aster described “Disappointment Blvd” as a “four-hour long nightmare comedy” that stars Joaquin Phoenix in the lead role who will portray a decade spanning portrait of one of the most successful entrepreneurs of all time.
So, the plot synopsis says.
1. “The Batman” Release: Mar. 4
That’s right. I chose DC over Marvel. Sorry to all the “Twilight” fans out there but it’s official — Robert Pattison is now one of “the boys.”
There are few things that make me more excited in this world than Batman. The bar has been set extremely high by Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. I don’t expect this film to top those. At the same time, see if you can get through the film’s trailer without cracking a fanboy smile.
Zoe Kravitz, Colin Farrell and Paul Dano will be playing “Catwoman,” “The Penguin,” and “The Riddler” respectively in the film, which is set to follow The Batman in his second year of crime fighting.