Watchlist 2022: My 22 Most-Anticipated Films of the Year


Happy New Year! ...Even though January is almost over. Y'all, this list is a beast. My original plan was to pick five movies (lol). That list quickly ballooned to ten. Then, well, what about a top fifteen? Well, five more won't hurt, so I'll round it up to twenty. But what if I...? I finally had to stop myself.

Thanks to reshuffling dates, setbacks due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and general uncertainty within the industry, audiences are getting tons of new films to enjoy this year. So, my top twenty-two (YES, 22!) films for the year are as follows. I've organized this list based on expected release dates and tried to include theatrical releases and streaming services, but please remember that they are subject to change.


Which movies are you looking forward to watching this year? Let me know!


 

Death on the Nile

Director: Kenneth Branagh

Writer: Michael Green

Cast: Kenneth Branagh, Tom Bateman, Annette Bening, Russell Brand, Ali Fazal, Dawn French, Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer, Rose Leslie, Emma Mackey, Sophie Okonedo, Jennifer Saunders & Letitia Wright

Release Date: February 11, 2022


Based on Agatha Christie's 1937 novel of the same name, Death on the Nile is another installment of Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot's adventures following director Kenneth Branagh's Murder on the Orient Express (2017). Poirot's (Branagh) Egyptian vacation aboard a glamorous river steamer turns into a terrifying search for a murderer when a picture-perfect couple's idyllic honeymoon is tragically cut short.



The Batman

Director: Matt Reeves

Writers: Matt Reeves & Peter Craig

Cast: Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano, Jeffrey Wright, John Turturro, Peter Sarsgaard, Andy Serkis & Colin Farrell

Release Date: March 4, 2022

During his second year of fighting crime at Batman, Bruce Wayne (Pattinson) pursues the Riddler (Dano), a serial killer who targets Gotham City's social elites and live-streams his crimes, taunting authorities with puzzles. Through the course of his investigation, Wayne uncovers corruption that connects to his own family and is forced to make new allies to catch the Riddler and bring the corrupt to justice.



Turning Red

Director: Domee Shi

Writer: Julia Cho & Domee Shi

Cast: Rosalie Chiang, Sandra Oh, Ava Morse, Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, Hyein Park, Orion Lee, Wai Ching Ho, Tristan Allerick Chen, Addie Chandler & James Hong

Release Date: March 11, 2022


Set in Toronto between 2002 and 2003, Meilin "Mei" Lee is a confident 13-year-old girl who is torn between being her mother's obedient daughter and the chaos of her youth. As if that were not enough, when she gets too excited, she turns into a big red panda.



The Lost City

Directors: Aaron Nee & Adam Nee

Writers: Oren Uziel, Dana Fox, Adam Nee & Aaron Nee

Cast: Sandra Bullock, Channing Tatum, Daniel Radcliffe, Da'Vine Joy Randolph, Patti Harrison, Oscar Nuñez, Brad Pitt, Raymond Lee & Bowen Yang

Release Date: March 25, 2022

Brilliant, but reclusive author Loretta Sage (Bullock) has spent her career writing about exotic places in her popular romance-adventure novels featuring handsome cover model Alan (Tatum), who has dedicated his life to embodying the hero character, "Dash." While on tour promoting her new book with Alan, Loretta is kidnapped by an eccentric billionaire (Radcliffe) who hopes that she can lead him to the ancient lost city's treasure from her latest story. Wanting to prove that he can be a hero in real life and not just on the pages of her books, Alan sets off to rescue her. Thrust into an epic jungle adventure, the unlikely pair will need to work together to survive the elements and find the ancient treasure before it's lost forever.



Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

Director: David Yates

Writers: Steve Kloves & J.K. Rowling

Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, Ezra Miller, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Callum Turner, Jessica Williams, Katherine Waterston, Mads Mikkelsen

Release Date: April 15, 2020

Professor Albus Dumbledore (Law) knows the powerful, dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Mikkelsen) is moving to seize control of the wizarding world. Unable to stop him alone, he entrusts magizoologist Newt Scamander (Redmayne) to lead an intrepid team of wizards and witches. They soon encounter an array of old and new beasts as they clash with Grindelwald's growing legion of followers.



The Northman

Director: Robert Eggers

Writers: Sjón & Robert Eggers

Cast: Alexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, Claes Bang, Anya Taylor-Joy, Ethan Hawke, Björk & Willem Dafoe

Release Date: April 22, 2022

Written by filmmaker Robert Eggers and Icelandic poet and novelist Sjón Sigurdsson, Northman is described as a grounded story set in Iceland at the turn of the 10th century that centers on a Nordic prince who seeks revenge for the death of his father.




Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Director: Sam Raimi

Writers: Jade Halley Bartlett & Michael Waldron

Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Benedict Wong, Rachel McAdams, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Elizabeth Olsen & Xochitl Gomez

Release Date: May 6, 2022

Following the events of Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) and the first season of Disney+'s Loki (2021), Dr. Stephen Strange (Cumberbatch) casts a forbidden spell that opens the door to the multiverse and an alternate version of Strange, whose threat to humanity is too great for the combined forces of Strange, Wong (Wong), and Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (Olsen).



Jurassic World Dominion

Director: Colin Trevorrow

Writers: Emily Carmichael & Colin Trevorrow

Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Laura Dern, Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum, Mamoudou Athie, Scott Haze, Dichen Lachman, Daniella Pineda, Campbell Scott, Isabella Sermon, Justice Smith, Omar Sy, DeWanda Wise & BD Wong

Release Date: June 10, 2022


Jurassic World Dominion is set four years after the events of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018), in which genetically engineered dinosaurs were auctioned to companies around the world while others were released on the U.S. mainland. The story takes place around the world and depicts humans living with dinosaurs.



Lightyear

Director: Angus MacLane

Writer: Pete Docter

Cast: Chris Evans, Taika Waititi & Gabrielle Walsh

Release Date: June 17, 2022

A spin-off of Pixar's Toy Story franchise, Lightyear is a sci-fi action-adventure and the definitive origin story of Buzz Lightyear (Evans)—the hero who inspired the toy. The film reveals how a young test pilot became the Space Ranger that we all know him to be today.



The Black Phone

Directors: Scott Derrickson

Writers: Scott Derrickson & C. Robert Cargill

Cast: Ethan Hawke, Mason Thames, Madeleine McGraw, Jeremy Davies, James Ransone

Release Date: June 24, 2022

In the 1970s, five children go missing in a suburban Colorado town. Soon after, Finney Shaw (Thames) is kidnapped by a serial killer (Hawke) and trapped inside of a soundproof basement. Finding a disconnected phone, Finney discovers its ability to transmit the voices of the killer's previous victims, who try to help him escape. Meanwhile, his sister finds she has recurring visions that may help her find Finney.




Elvis

Directors: Baz Luhrmann

Writers: Eric Roth

Cast: Tom Hanks, Austin Butler, Olivia DeJonge, Luke Bracey, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Dacre Montgomery, David Wenham, Richard Roxburgh, Kate Mulvany, Elizabeth Cullen, Natasha Bassett & Kelvin Harrison Jr.

Release Date: June 24, 2022

While there are few details about Luhrmann's biographical take on legendary rock and roll star Elvis Presley's (Butler) life, the film covers the musician's growth from dirt-poor singer to global icon, seen through the prism of his complex relationship over two decades with manager Colonel Tom Parker (Hanks). Presley reached a level of stardom matched only by the Beatles before his death in 1977 at the age of 42.



Thor: Love and Thunder

Directors: Taika Waititi

Writers: Taika Waititi & Jennifer Kaytin Robinson

Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, Chris Pratt, Jaimie Alexander, Pom Klementieff, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Sean Gunn, Jeff Goldblum & Vin Diesel

Release Date: July 8, 2022

Again, while there are few details about Waititi's sequel to Thor: Ragnarok (2017) and the fourth movie in the Thor saga, the director has confirmed that his film adapts elements from Jason Aaron's take on the Mighty Thor comic book, which sees Natalie Portman's character Jane Foster take on the mantle and powers of Thor while suffering from cancer. The cast also adds Christian Bale as Gorr the God Butcher, a supervillain from the Mighty Thor comics.



Where the Crawdads Sing

Director: Olivia Newman

Writer: Lucy Alibar

Cast: Daisy Edgar-Jones, Jojo Regina, Taylor John Smith, Luke David Blumm, Harris Dickinson, David Strathairn, Jayson Warner Smith, Garret Dillahunt, Michael Hyatt, Ahna O'Reilly, Sterling Macer Jr. & Eric Ladin

Release Date: July 22, 2022


Based on Delia Owens' 2018 novel of the same name, the film follows Kya, a woman who raises herself in the marshes of the deep South after everyone important in her life leaves her. Later, she becomes a suspect in the murder of a man she was once romantically involved with.



Nope

Director: Jordan Peele

Writer: Jordan Peele

Cast: Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, Steven Yeun, Barbie Ferreira, Brandon Perea, Michael Wincott

Release Date: July 22, 2022

Few details are available for Peele's third film following Get Out (2017) and Us (2019), but considering Peele's track record, this will most likely be a bright spot for 2022's film lineup.






Don't Worry Darling

Director: Olivia Wilde

Writers: Katie Silberman, Carey Van Dyke & Shane Van Dyke

Cast: Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Chris Pine, Olivia Wilde, Gemma Chan, KiKi Layne, Nick Kroll, Sydney Chandler, Douglas Smith, Kate Berlant, Asif Ali, Timothy Simons & Ari'el Stachel

Release Date: September 23, 2020

While most of the hype surrounding this film centers around its stars—I see you Harry Styles fans—the premise for this psychological thriller sounds insanely interesting: A 1950's housewife living with her husband in a utopian experimental community begins to worry that his glamorous company may be hiding disturbing secrets.



BROS

Director: Nicholas Stoller

Writers: Billy Eichner & Nicholas Stoller

Cast: Billy Eichner, Luke Macfarlane, Monica Raymund, Jim Rash, Guillermo Diaz, TS Madison, Miss Lawrence, Symone & Guy Branum

Release Date: September 30, 2022

The first romantic comedy from a major studio about two gay men, and the first studio film featuring an entirely LGBTQ+ principal cast, BROS follows two men (Eichner, Macfarlane) with commitment problems attempt a relationship. They maybe, possibly, probably, stumble towards love. Maybe. They’re both very busy.



Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Part One)

Directors: Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers & Justin K. Thompson

Writers: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller & David Callaham

Cast: Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld, Oscar Isaac, Jake Johnson & Issa Rae

Release Date: October 7, 2022

Miles Morales (Moore) returns for the next chapter of the Spider-Verse saga, an epic adventure that will transport Brooklyn's full-time, friendly neighborhood Spider-Man across the Multiverse to join forces with Gwen Stacy (Steinfeld) and a new team of Spider-People to face off with a villain more powerful than anything they have ever encountered.



Knives Out 2

Director: Rian Johnson

Writer: Rian Johnson

Cast: Daniel Craig, Dave Bautista, Edward Norton, Janelle Monáe, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr., Kate Hudson, Madelyn Cline, Jessica Henwick & Ethan Hawke

Release Date: TBD


Few details are available for Johnson's sequel to 2019's Knives Out, but considering what a runaway hit the first installment was, and that Netflix was willing to pay $469 million for two sequels on their platform, I think it's easy to say this is a highly anticipated film. What I can say is that Detective Benoit Blanc is investigating a new mystery with a whole new lineup of characters.



Hocus Pocus 2

Director: Anne Fletcher

Writer: Jen D'Angelo

Cast: Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy, Doug Jones, Whitney Peak, Lilia Buckingham, Belissa Escobedo, Tony Hale, Sam Richardson, Hannah Waddingham & Froy Gutierrez

Release Date: TBD

The witches are back! And there's hell to pay. Twenty-nine years after a virgin lit the black flame candle, Winifred (Midler), Sarah (Parker), and Mary (Najimy) are now looking for revenge when they find themselves back in Salem in the present day. It's up to three high school students (Peak, Buckingham, and Belissa Escobedo), who incite the wrath of the enchantresses, to stop them.



The Gray Man

Directors: Anthony Russo & Joe Russo

Writers: Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely

Cast: Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Dhanush, Jessica Henwick, Julia Butters, Regé-Jean Page, Billy Bob Thornton & Alfre Woodard

Release Date: TBD

Based on Mark Greaney's 2009 novel of the same name, The Gray Man follows Court Gentry (Gosling), a veteran CIA operative who is betrayed by his own agency and forced to become a fugitive. Lloyd Hansen (Evans), one of Gentry's former CIA colleagues, is sent to hunt him down.



Killers of the Flower Moon

Directors: Martin Scorsese

Writers: Eric Roth

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Jesse Plemons, Lily Gladstone, Tantoo Cardinal, Cara Jade Myers, JaNae Collins, Jillian Dion, William Belleau, Louis Cancelmi, Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson, Tatanka Means, Michael Abbott Jr., Pat Healy, Scott Shepherd & John Lithgow

Release Date: TBD

Based on David Grann's 2017 nonfiction novel of the same name, Killers of the Flower Moon investigates a series of murders of wealthy Osage people that took place in Osage County, Oklahoma in the early 1920s after big oil deposits were discovered beneath their land. The murders sparked a major FBI investigation involving J. Edgar Hoover.



Blonde

Director: Andrew Dominik

Writer: Andrew Dominik

Cast: Ana de Armas, Adrien Brody, Bobby Cannavale & Julianne Nicholson

Release Date: TBD

Based on Joyce Carol Oates' 2000 novel of the same name, Blonde is a fictionalized biographical take on the life of Marilyn Monroe, starring Ana de Armas as Monroe.