The year 2021 has been a big year for the world of entertainment, with OTT platforms setting new records while delivering some of the finest films and television series in recent years.
The year 2021 has been a big year for the world of entertainment, with OTT platforms setting new records while delivering some of the finest films and television series in recent years. Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video and HBO Max/HBO Go, among others, offered unforgettable films, such as Encounter and Tick, Tick… Boom! At the same time, theatrical releases towards the end of 2021, including No Time to Die and Spider-Man: No Way Home, reignited the joy of watching films on the big screen.
2022 seems to have an amazing line-up of the most-awaited movies as well. Many of them are instalments of films we have loved in the past decades. While some would excite the fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and the parallel world created by DC, others will enthrall crime and suspense-movie enthusiasts.
Moreover, Keanu Reeves fans won’t have to wait long for his fourth John Wick film to smash the box office either, and The Rock is playing a role that perhaps only he can pull off in Black Adam. Furthermore, at least two sequels — Top Gun: Maverick and Avatar 2 — are set to arrive after an excruciatingly long wait for cinema lovers.
From The Batman and Thor: Love and Thunder to Legally Blonde 3 and Avatar 2, we have a lot to look forward to; where we could witness some amazing cinematography and adrenaline-fuelled action sequences on the big screen.
17 Highly-anticipated Movie Releases of 2022: The 355
The plot of The 355 follows some of the finest actresses in the murky world of espionage. The film borrows its title from the codename assigned to a real-life female secret agent during the American Revolution.
The 355 follows the events that unfold after a top-secret weapon falls into the hands of a mercenary. To prevent a catastrophe, a CIA agent Mason “Mace” Brown is forced to team up with her rival agent from Germany’s BND who goes by the name Marie. The two then seek the help of agents from various countries, including the UK, Colombia and China. Given the nature of the action-packed film, audiences can expect a world tour through France, the UK and Morocco.
Helmed by Simon Kinberg, the film’s star-studded cast includes Jessica Chastain, Diane Kruger, Lupita Nyong’o, Penelope Cruz and Fan Bingbing. The film was originally scheduled for release in January 2021 but was delayed by a year.
Release date: 7 January
The third film in Sony’s Spider-Man Universe, Morbius is the origin story of one of the darkest supervillains in Marvel comics.
Jared Leto plays Michael Morbius, a scientist whose research to find a cure for his rare blood disease turns him into an extremely powerful vampire. Besides Leto, the film also stars Matt Smith, Adria Arjona, Jared Harris, Al Madrigal and Tyrese Gibson in supporting roles.
Michael Keaton, who played the supervillain Vulture in Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), reprises his role in this film.
The character’s appearance points to a crossover between Sony’s universe and the MCU, but it is not clear if Morbius is set before or after the events of Homecoming. The film is directed by Daniel Espinosa, and its trailer gives an impression that it fits the horror genre as much as that of a superhero.
Release date: 28 January
Death on the Nile
Based on the Agatha Christie novel of the same name, Death on the Nile is the next instalment of Kenneth Branagh’s films featuring the iconic Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. It was supposed to release on 17 September 2021 but was postponed to 2022.
Branagh, who plays Poirot, is joined in the film by Gal Gadot, Annette Bening, Letitia Wright, Tom Bateman, Russell Brand and Rose Leslie.
In the film, Poirot is on his Egyptian holiday on a luxurious river steamer on the Nile which is interrupted by a grisly murder. The detective must find the killer, whose motives could have been fuelled by jealousy.
Release date: 11 February
The Batman has been one of the most-anticipated movies ever since Robert Pattinson was cast in the role of the Caped Crusader in 2019.
Part of the DC Extended Universe, The Batman is a reboot of the Batmanfranchise. In the film, the Dark Knight will be depicted in the second year of his crime-fighting career.
As Bruce Wayne, he finds that corruption in Gotham City is intricately connected to his family. And in the midst of it all, he will have to face the dangerous designs of one of his greatest enemies — the Riddler.
Directed by Matt Reeves, the film stars Jeffrey Wright as Commissioner Gordon, Zoë Kravitz as Selina Kyle/Catwoman, Andy Serkis as Albert, Colin Farrell as the Penguin and Paul Dano as the Riddler. Wright is the first actor of colour to play Gordon.
Release date: 4 March
Legally Blonde 3
A still from the 2001 film Legally Blonde showing Reese Witherspoon. (Image credit: Tracy Bennett – © Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved./IMDb)
Among the most-awaited Hollywood movies of 2022, the release date of this film isn’t out yet. However, the excitement is understandable.
Legally Blonde 3 is the third instalment of one of the most-famous film franchises of the 2000s. What makes it even more anticipated is that the third part is being released 19 years after Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde hit the screens.
Not much is known about the story, but Reese Witherspoon is back in the key role of Elle Woods, while Jennifer Coolidge returns as Paulette Bonafonté. Witherspoon’s participation in the movie was confirmed in June 2018.
Legally Blonde 3 was supposed to release in 2020 but, like many other films, got delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dan Goor and Mindy Kaling have penned the script of the third part, while Jamie Suk makes his debut as a director.
Release month: May
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange in the 2016 film of the same name. (Image credit: IMDb)
There is a helluva reason to be excited about this one. The fantastic Benedict Cumberbatch appears to be truly a master at becoming one with the characters he portrays. (Remember Sherlock?). Cumberbatch as the Sorcerer Supreme is truly worth watching on the big screen.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness takes ahead the multiverse story that the MCU has been building as part of its Phase 4. The story follows the events depicted in Doctor Strange (2016) and other films and television serials up to Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021), where the sorcerer opens the gates to multiverses.
Sam Raimi returns to take charge of his first superhero film since directing the acclaimed original Spider-Man trilogy (2002-07). Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is the first of the three planned MCU films for 2022.
Joining Cumberbatch in the cast is Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff, aka Scarlet Witch. New cast members include Xochitl Gomez as America Chavez, a superhero who is Marvel’s first Latin-American LGBTQ character. Returning cast members are Benedict Wong as Wong and Chiwetel Ejiofor as the sorcerer Mordo, among others.
Release date: 6 May
John Wick Chapter 4
Keanu Reeves as John Wick in the third part of the franchise. (Image credit: Niko Tavernise – © Lionsgate/IMDb)
This will be the fourth instalment of the outstanding John Wick film series, one that is expected to forward the action-packed tale of the legendary hitman played effortlessly by Keanu Reeves.
Returning cast members include Ian McShane as Winston, the manager of the New York Continental Hotel, Lance Reddick returns as Charon, the Continental concierge, and Laurence Fishburne as The Bowery King, who heads The Soup Kitchen underworld intel group.
But some of the new cast members indicate that John Wick is going to have some excellent martial arts sequences and an international appeal. Chinese martial arts legend Donnie Yen and English action star Scott Adkins will appear in the film. They are joined by Canadian actor Shamier Anderson, Swedish actor Bill Skarsgård, American actor Clancy Brown and Japanese acting great Hiroyuki Sanada. Japanese singer-songwriter Rina Sawayama will make her film debut.
A highly anticipated movie, John Wick Chapter 4 will be followed by a fifth instalment, which was confirmed in 2020.
Release date: 27 May
Top Gun: Maverick
It has been 36 years since Top Gun — the movie that used fighter aircraft in in a way that wasn’t seen as much before. No doubt Top Gun: Maverick is one of the most-anticipated movies of 2022.
The ‘ageless’ Tom Cruise is now ready for take-off from the deck of a US Navy aircraft carrier once again in the lead role of Pete “Maverick” Mitchell. The most-prominent returning cast member besides Cruise is Val Kilmer, who reprises his role as Tom ‘Iceman’ Kazansky.
Not much is known about the plot, which is set in the present. But trailers reveal Maverick is still a Captain who is in charge of new pilots while the world has moved on, as indicated by Ed Harris’s character who plays a Rear Admiral-rank officer and Maverick’s superior.
New faces include Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Glen Powell, Lewis Pullman, Monica Barbaro, Danny Ramirez and Jay Ellis. The film was delayed from its 19 November 2021 release.
Release date: 27 May
Jurassic World: Dominion
Humans must now live alongside dinosaurs, as was seen in the events of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018). The film also marked the return of Jeff Goldblum as Dr Ian Malcolm to the epic franchise, which began in 1993.
The plot of Jurassic World: Dominion is not known, but it is evident that the film will go into some kind of struggle between humans and dinosaurs as they try to co-exist, or not. The trailer of the film shows dinosaurs walking the earth 65 million years ago as a prologue to the present situation where a dinosaur is being tracked down by the police.
What makes this one of the most-awaited movies of 2022 is the return of Laura Dern and Sam Neill, who play their iconic roles of Ellie Sattler and Alan Grant, respectively, from the 1993 film.
Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Pratt, Daniella Pineda, Isabella Sermon and BD Wong are among returning cast members. Joining them, among new faces, is French actor Omar Sy.
Release date: 10 June
It is about time Buzz Lightyear had a film solely dedicated to his adventures. Lightyear presents this opportunity but is not exactly about the iconic action-figure character from the Toy Story franchise.
As ‘Captain America’ Chris Evans, who voices Lightyear in the film, revealed in a tweet, “…this isn’t Buzz Lightyear the toy. This is the origin story of the human Buzz Lightyear that the toy is based on.”
So, it seems like a prequel set within the Toy Story universe, only that it is not about the toys but the humans living in that world.
This also implies that the film might have nothing to do with the popular animated series Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, which chronicled the galactic exploits of Lightyear the toy.
Besides Evans, the Pixar and Walt Disney film also has Taika Waititi as a voice actor.
Release date: 17 June
Thor: Love and Thunder
Chris Hemsworth as Thor in Thor: Ragnarok (2017). (Image credit: © 2017- Disney/Marvel/IMDb)
Taika Waititi returns to direct another Thor instalment after the phenomenal success of Thor: Ragnarok (2017), which kind of infused a new life into the hammer-wielding Asgardian deity character.
Starring Chris Hemsworth as Thor, the film brings back Natalie Portman as his love interest Jane Foster who will be seen transforming into Mighty Thor and reportedly wielding the Mjolnir. Also returning from previous Thor movies are Tessa Thompson and Jaimie Alexander.
It has been widely reported Thor: Love and Thunder also stars the main cast from the Guardians of the Galaxy films — Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff and Vin Diesel as the voice of Groot. Thor was seen venturing off into the unknown with the Guardians, following the events of Avengers: Endgame (2019).
Christian Bale plays the ruthless Gorr the God Butcher, one of the most-powerful beings in Marvel comic books. Russell Crowe will appear as Zeus, who, like Thor’s adaptation from Nordic mythology, is a Marvel comic-book version of the ancient Greek god.
Release date: 8 July
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore
As the name suggests, many mysteries around Professor Albus Dumbledore will be revealed in Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore. Directed by David Yates, the film is the third instalment of the Fantastic Beasts trilogy headlined by Eddie Redmayne as the young Magizoologist Newt Scamander.
Jude Law is back as Dumbledore, who is up against the powerful dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald played by Mads Mikkelsen. The story is about how Scamander and Dumbledore, with their allies, try to prevent Grindelwald from unleashing evil upon the world.
Ezra Miller, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Jessica Williams and Callum Turner essay other major roles in the film.
Release date: 15 July
Dwayne Johnson joins the DC Extended Universe to become the super-powerful Black Adam — the nemesis to Shazam. Johnson, a wrestler-turned-actor, was in 2020 named the highest-paid celebrity in the world by Fortune. He is known for his action films, but Black Adam is his first film in a crowded superhero space.
In a video posted on Instagram in July 2021, Johnson said, “The hierarchy of power in the DC UNIVERSE is changing.”
Black Adam is an anti-hero whose powers come from the same source as that of Shazam. He will be presented as a being who has returned after 5,000 years of imprisonment following the devastation across Kahndaq — a lost kingdom in the present time.
Others in important roles in the film are Noah Centineo as Atom Smasher, Aldis Hodge as Hawkman and Quintessa Swindell as Cyclone.
One of the most-awaited Hollywood movies of 2022, Black Adam also stars Pierce Brosnan. The Irish actor, best known for playing James Bond, will be seen in his first film as a superhero — the wizard Doctor Fate.
Release date: 29 July
Mission: Impossible 7
Tom Cruise in action as Ethan Hunt in the 2018 film Mission: Impossible – Fallout. (Image credit: © 2018 – Paramount Pictures/IMDb)
Tom Cruise has another one for his legions of fans who cannot get enough of the stunts he performs on his own at his age.
Mission: Impossible 7 carries forward Cruise’s legacy as a bona fide blockbuster bet, as he once again goes on a ‘world-saving’ mission as IMF agent Ethan Hunt. Ving Rhames as Luther Stickell and Simon Pegg as Benji Dunn stick with Cruise once again.
The film, which is among the most-awaited movies, also stars Rebecca Ferguson, Frederick Schmidt, Hayley Atwell, Vanessa Kirby, Pom Klementieff, Shea Whigham, Indira Varma, Esai Morales and Henry Czerny, who played the role of IMF director Eugene Kittridge in the first Mission: Impossible film in 1996.
Christopher McQuarrie, who has collaborated with Cruise since Valkyrie (2008), besides writing and directing the last two MI films, helms the seventh instalment. Release dates for the film have been changed multiple times previously. It was slated for release on 19 November 2021 but was pushed to 22 May 2022 and eventually to its current date.
Release date: 30 September
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia in 2018’s Black Panther. (Image credit: © 2017 – Disney/Marvel Studios/IMDb)
The tragic demise of actor Chadwick Boseman in 2020 came as a shock to not just MCU fans but also to the acting world in general. Boseman was an excellent actor who seamlessly glided into his roles and received plaudits for his performances. However, he will be remembered for immortalising Black Panther, one of the finest superhero characters of all time.
As a tribute to Boseman, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the 30th film in the MCU and one of the most-anticipated titles of 2022, will not feature T’Challa. Nearly all other prominent characters return for the film — Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Angela Bassett, Winston Duke and Martin Freeman.
It is speculated that the film will focus on Wright’s character Shuri, who is T’Challa’s sister and the brain behind many of Wakanda’s technological marvels. The film has been written and directed by Ryan Coogler, who earned acclaim for Black Panther (2018) — the first superhero movie to be nominated for an Oscar in the Best Film category.
Release date: 11 November
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom
Jason Momoa as Aquaman in the 2018 film. (Image credit: IMDb)
‘Aquaman’ Jason Momoa is back as Arthur Curry in this sequel to Aquaman (2018). This is one film the DC Extended Universe will be especially interested in because the previous instalment is still the highest-grossing DC film of all time.
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is expected to go into more details about the political tumult in Atlantis but no details are known.
James Wan, who directed the first instalment, is back in the chair for the sequel. Amber Heard as Mera, Patrick Wilson as Orm Marius, Temuera Morrison as Thomas Curry, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Black Manta, Dolph Lundgren as King Nereus and Randall Park as Dr. Stephen Shin are among returning cast members.
New cast members include Jani Zhao as Stingray and Indya Moore as Karshon. Danish actor Pilou Asbæk, who is best known to international audiences as Euron Greyjoy from Game of Thrones (2011-19), has been cast in an undisclosed role.
Release date: 16 December
A still from the first Avatar film. (Image credit: Courtesy of WETA – © 2007 Twentieth Century Fox – All Rights Reserved./IMDb)
Even after more than a decade, Avatar (2009) remains the highest-grossing film in the world. And why not? James Cameron presented a world beyond imagination.
Populated with blue-skinned aliens whose culture, traditions and society thrived amidst unique life forms, the tranquil utopia was rudely disturbed by war-mongering humans with their destructive weapons.
Cameron hasn’t directed a single movie since Avatar but is now reportedly ready with a series of films to extend the franchise through 2028. This is why Avatar 2 is perhaps THE most-awaited Hollywood movie of 2022.
Avatar 2 will star Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana as Jake Sully and Neytiri, respectively — the two main Na’vi characters on planet Pandora from the previous film.
Other actors, including those reprising their roles and new faces, are Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Kate Winslet, Vin Diesel, Michelle Yeoh, CJ Jones and CCH Pounder.
Release date: 16 December
[Hero and featured image credit: IMDb]
This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Kuala Lumpur.