The Seahawk’s most anticipated films of 2022

Boyce Rucker, Staff Writer

We may still be in the early stages of 2022, but it is hard not to look ahead to what incredible films are in store for the year. 2021 finished up with terrific blockbusters like “Spider-Man: No Way Home” and captivating dramas like “Don’t Look Up.” The lineup of films this year is expansive and looks promising. The year features multiple Marvel and DC superhero films, video game adaptations, long-awaited sequels and bone-chilling horror films, two of which were filmed here in Wilmington. This year may be another long one, but a great way to start it off is by looking out for these films coming to the closest theater or streaming service nearby. 

A still from “Scream” (2022) set to be released on January 14th. (Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett/Paramount Pictures)

“Scream” (2022) 

Release Date: Jan. 14, 2022

“Scream” (2022) is the fifth installment in the slasher Scream franchise developed by Wes Craven. The series is a satirical spin on horror cliches and stereotypes, which contributes to the films’ shocking twists and unpredictable nature. Set 25 years after the original film, a new individual has taken the Ghostface mantle and begun a new series of killings in Woodsboro, California specifically targeting a group of teenagers. The killer’s resurgence prompts a revisiting of past events to discover their identity. The film features returning stars Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox and David Arquette, as well as new cast members Dylan Minnette, Jack Quaid and Kyle Gallner. As Scream is a cross-generational series, the new film adapts to the Gen-Z culture while blending in tropes that can be found in the original films from the ‘90s and early ‘00s. The new entry was also filmed in Wilmington, further contributing to the town’s status as a prolific filming location for horror films.

“Uncharted”

Release Date: Feb. 18, 2022

Based on the best-selling PlayStation video game series of the same name, “Uncharted” is an action adventure film starring Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg. The film tells an original story about young treasure hunter Nathan Drake (Holland) as he joins mentor Victor “Sully” Sullivan (Wahlberg) on a quest to find “the greatest treasure never found.” The pair encounter both enemies and allies on their journey, some of which will be familiar to fans of the video games. The film may tell an original story of a Drake who’s younger than the games’ version, but it does lift a few action set pieces and elements from the games. Blending together the globe-trotting adventure of Indiana Jones and the explosive action akin to the Mission Impossible franchise, “Uncharted” looks like a great way to introduce Drake to the big screen as it appeals to both new fans and video game fans alike. 

Robert Pattinson in “The Batman” (2022). (Matt Reeves/Warner Bros.)

“The Batman”

Release Date: March 4, 2022

There are countless variations of Batman across various forms of media, each with their own similarities and contrasts with one another. But this upcoming iteration of the character looks like the most intense and psychological one yet to hit the big screen. Director Matt Reeves (“Cloverfield,” “Dawn of The Planet Apes”) reintroduces the caped crusader in a grounded and gritty noir setting that will showcase the character’s detective capabilities. The film follows Batman (Robert Pattinson) in his second year of crime-fighting as he navigates the Gotham underworld in pursuit of a serial killer known as The Riddler (Paul Dano), who targets the city’s elite citizens. In his investigation, Batman uncovers secrets that tie into his own family’s history with corruption, while also encountering cat burglar Selina Kyle (Zoë Kravitz) and mobster Oswald Cobblepot (Colin Farrell). Reeves’ film takes inspiration from notable Batman stories such as “Year One,” “Ego” and “The Long Halloween,” as well as crime films such as “Chinatown” and “The French Connection.” From the trailers alone, one can tell that Pattinson may offer the most layered and nuanced Batman performance to date. With a stellar cast and well-crafted vision, “The Batman” looks like it could not only be one of the best films of the year, but also one of the best Batman films ever made.

“Sonic The Hedgehog 2”

Release Date: April 8, 2022

2020’s “Sonic The Hedgehog” was a surprise hit when it was released in theaters. Given how video game adaptations have a history of disappointing fans, and Sonic’s initial design, it seemed unlikely that the film would be successful. However, the film defied the odds and delivered a comedic adventure that pairs the video games’ energetic feel with notable performances. The upcoming sequel builds upon its predecessor as we see Sonic (Ben Schwartz) stay in Green Hills, Montana while his friends Tom (James Marsden) and Maddie (Tika Sumpter) Wachowski go on vacation. Teaming up with his new friend Tails (Colleen O’Shaughnessey), Sonic must thwart Dr. Eggman’s (Jim Carrey) pursuit of the Master Emerald and face off with Eggman’s new ally, Knuckles the Echidna (Idris Elba). With the introduction of new characters, fans can expect a more action-packed sequel that feels even closer to the Sonic video games. Not many video game films can attract a large audience, but following the first film’s positive reception, “Sonic The Hedgehog 2” may be another great entry.

Callum Turner, Eddie Redmayne, and Jude Law in “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” (2022). (David Yates/Warner Bros.)

“Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore”

Release Date: April 15, 2022

The third installment of the “Fantastic Beasts” series has faced several obstacles in being released, such as the filming delay due to COVID-19 and the controversial recasting of Gellert Grindelwald, previously played by Johnny Depp. Furthermore, there’s the controversy surrounding writer J.K. Rowlings’ offensive comments on the transgender community. There is still a strong and passionate fanbase for the Harry Potter franchise and its spin-off films, but the issues at hand are still hard for one to ignore. After a long hiatus between installments and several controversies, “The Secrets of Dumbledore” seems like a great opportunity to steer the franchise into a clearer and brighter direction. Set in the ‘30s, professor Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) enlists the help of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and his allies to combat Grindelwald’s (Mads Mikkelsen) ever-growing dark army. As the stakes grow higher and the fate of the wizarding world is at stake, Dumbledore may no longer be able to remain on the sidelines. The film will provide further world-building by introducing the wizarding communities in Bhutan, Germany and China while also exploring the wizarding world’s involvement in World War II. While Depp is an eccentric and talented actor, Mikkelsen’s tendency to play intriguing villains may signal an unforgettable performance as Grindelwald that can be one of the film’s strongest aspects. Judging by its trailer, the film seems like a bold and exciting return to the world of witchcraft and wizardry.

“The Northman”

Release Date: April 22, 2022

Director Robert Eggers has gained critical acclaim for his historical horror films “The Witch” and “The Lighthouse.” Both films are praised for their casts, historical immersion via production design and native language accurate to their respective time periods. With “The Northman,” Eggers crafts a Viking revenge saga in the form of a historical epic. After his father King Aurvandill (Ethan Hawke) is slain by his uncle, Prince Amleth (Alexander Skarsgård) sets out on a brutal journey to avenge his death. While the story may seem simplistic, one can expect a deeply psychological and immersively detailed experience when one looks back to Eggers’ previous films. The cast is also worth noting, which includes Nicole Kidman, Anya Taylor-Joy, Willem Dafoe, Claes Bang and Icelandic singer Björk. With an ensemble cast, and this being his first non-A24 film, “The Northman” may be Eggers’ most ambitious project to date and an incredible movie experience.

Benedict Cumberbatch in “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” (2022). (Sam Raimi/Marvel Studios)

“Doctor Strange in The Multiverse of Madness”

Release Date: May 6, 2022

It’s been nearly six years since “Doctor Strange” was released in theaters, but that has not hindered the character’s popularity and importance within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Spinning out of the events of “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” “WandaVision,” and “Loki,” Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) casts a forbidden spell that opens the door to a complex realm known as the Multiverse. In doing so, he unleashes an ultimate evil that threatens humanity and the entire universe. To defend his world, Strange seeks help from his ally Wong (Benedict Wong) and the Scarlet Witch, Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen). Directed by Sam Raimi (“Evil Dead,”), “The Multiverse of Madness” was previously described as the MCU’s first horror movie, although it technically won’t be a horror movie. The film will still feel like a traditional MCU film, but it will include several scary sequences and mind-boggling visuals. Given the twists and developments in recent MCU shows and films, the film gives off an unpredictable nature given its subtitle. The first trailer conveys an otherworldly eeriness that signals the high stakes that each MCU film may have going forward. Doctor Strange has played an important role in several MCU films after his debut, but this film seems like his most definitive and paramount adventure yet.

“Lightyear”

Release Date: June 17, 2022

One of Pixar’s popular franchises is the “Toy Story” series, which has had four films over the course of nearly 25 years. “Lightyear” is a change of pace for the series as it steps away from the toy characters of the franchise. Rather than focusing on the Buzz Lightyear action figure, this film will focus on the origin of astronaut Buzz Lightyear (Chris Evans), the man who inspired the toy. Not much else is known about the film except that it will have a heavy science fiction focus and feature Taika Waititi in a supporting role. The trailer depicts stunning visuals of hyperspace travel, different planets, aliens, androids and space weaponry. At first glance, the film looks like a kid-friendly and action-oriented version of “Interstellar” or “The Martian” in animated format. Given Pixar’s ability to pair emotional stories with impeccable animation, “Lightyear” looks like a promising adventure that may somehow lend another layer of depth to the Buzz Lightyear character in the “Toy Story” franchise.

Ethan Hawke in “The Black Phone” (2021). (Scott Derrickson/Universal Pictures)

“The Black Phone”

Release Date: June 22, 2022

Based on the short story of the same name by writer Joe Hill, “The Black Phone” is a supernatural horror film directed by Scott Derrickson (“Sinister,” “Doctor Strange”) and starring Ethan Hawke. Set during the ‘70s, 13-year-old Finney Shaw (Mason Thames) is abducted by a serial killer (Hawke) and placed in a soundproof basement. In the basement, Finney finds a disconnected phone from which he receives calls from the killer’s previous victims. The project comes as a result of Derrickson’s departure from “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” in 2020, thus allowing him to return to his horror roots. The film has received positive reviews after its premiere at Fantastic Fest film festival on Sept. 25, 2021. A big highlight from the film appears to be Hawke’s villainous turn as the child abductor. The trailer shows Hawke donning white face paint, a demonic mask and a startling presence to match. Like “Scream”, “The Black Phone” was also filmed in Wilmington, during the first quarter of 2021. As Hill is the son of Stephen King, one can expect a dark and unsettling experience from “The Black Phone” as it makes its way to theaters this summer.

“Thor: Love and Thunder”

Release Date: July 8, 2022

As one of the original Avenger characters, Thor’s (Chris Hemsworth) story arc across the MCU is significant as he’s the only godly character, yet he is flawed in some ways reminiscent of humanity. However, that does not mean he is unable to be a fun swashbuckling character at the same. Taika Waititi realized and utilized this notion in “Thor: Ragnarok,” which is largely considered to be the strongest of Thor’s three films thus far. Waititi lent a ‘80s-esque fantasy sci-fi aesthetic to Thor, which highlighted the character’s emotional strengths and courageous vigor. Waititi is returning to direct the fourth installment, subtitled “Love and Thunder.” Based on the title font, it seems Waititi will continue utilizing the ‘80s aesthetic. Story details are unclear so far, but the film appears to borrow from comic writer Jason Aaron’s run on “Thor,” which introduced characters like Gorr The God Butcher (Christian Bale) and Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) as Thor. Interestingly, the film will include the Guardians of The Galaxy as supporting characters before their third film releases in 2023. Waititi has also described the film as “very romantic,” which may allude to a reconciled relationship between Thor and Jane. Thor is the first MCU hero to receive a fourth film, which makes this all the more exciting to see in theaters.

Florence Pugh in “Don’t Worry Darling” (2022). (Olivia Wilde/Warner Bros.)

“Don’t Worry Darling”

Release Date: Sept. 23, 2022

Actress and filmmaker Olivia Wilde wowed audiences in Summer 2019 with her feature directorial debut “Booksmart.” Under her direction, we were treated to a comedy that stands alongside “Lady Bird” and “Edge of Seventeen” as some of the strongest female-centered coming-of-age films of the 2010s. Wilde’s latest feature is a psychological thriller set in the ‘50’s that follows a housewife (Florence Pugh) and her husband (Harry Styles) as they reside in an experimental living community. The housewife begins to realize that a dark secret lies beneath their seemingly normal lifestyle as reality begins to crack. The film’s screenplay originally appeared on the 2019 Black List of unproduced screenplays before being set for production. The film’s premise seems vague, but it sounds comparable to an episode of the sci-fi anthology “Black Mirror” or even a thriller in the vein of “Gone Girl.” Though it may be early to tell, this film’s stars and premise should make for an entertaining thriller to see in theaters this fall.

“Mission: Impossible 7”

Release Date: Sept. 30, 2022

While there is currently no trailer released as of yet for “Mission: Impossible 7” or any details to its plot, the anticipation is strong for this one. The long-running franchise has seen Tom Cruise perform death-defying stunts that pushes the limit for practical stunts in Hollywood blockbusters. Based on reports, it does not seem like Cruise is holding back anytime soon as he drives a motorbike off the edge of a cliff for one of the film’s action sequences. Director Christopher McQuarrie returns to helm this installment, which is the first part of a two-film arc, after directing the previous two. Like its predecessors, this film is sure to further elevate the level of intrigue and grand scale thrills the series has to offer. Returning cast members include Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Vanessa Kirby and Henry Czerny, the latter of whom was last seen in the original 1996 film. On other hand, new castmates include Hayley Atwell, Esai Morales, Pom Klementieff, Shea Whigham and Cary Elwes. Given that most two-part films function as a finale for long-running franchises, this may be the case with “Mission: Impossible.” With the series’ track record, we can expect an explosive and pulsating entry for the spy franchise this fall. 

Shameik Moore in “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse – Part One” (2022). (Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, Justin K. Thompson/Sony Pictures Animation)

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

Release Date: Oct. 7, 2022

Following the release of “No Way Home,” Spider-Man hype is at an all-time high right now as the character approaches his 60th anniversary this year. Out of the forthcoming spin-offs, comics and video games to celebrate the character, one standout is the sequel to 2018’s “Into The Spiderverse.” The sequel sees Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) venture across the multiverse alongside Gwen Stacy/Spider-Woman (Hailee Steinfeld) and a new team of Spider-people to defeat a powerful threat. Not much is known about the sequel so far, but based on the trailer, the film will retain the same comic book-style aesthetic and feature vibrantly boosting visuals. New confirmed characters include Miguel O’Hara/Spider-Man 2099 (Oscar Isaac) and Jessica Drew/Spider-Woman (Issa Rae). After “No Way Home,” the possibilities seem endless on what could come next for the “Spider-Man” franchise. Like its previous installment, “Across the Spider-Verse” looks like it will swing towards broader horizons for Spider-fans.

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”

Release Date: Nov. 11, 2022

After the tragic passing of “Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman in August 2020, plans for a new film had to be altered as Marvel Studios decided to not recast the character. The film’s script was rewritten by director Ryan Coogler to not feature King T’Challa out of respect for Boseman. As the title suggests, the film shifts its focus to the original film’s supporting cast, which includes Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman and Letitia Wright. The in-universe explanation for T’Challa’s absence is currently unknown, but the supporting characters are well-developed from the previous film and seem capable of leading the sequel. There are still rumors and speculation about the film’s plot, but we can expect an experience that has the same emotional weight of the prior film and pays tribute to Boseman’s life and time with the character. 

A still from “Avatar 2” (2022). (James Cameron/20th Century Studios)

“Avatar 2”

Release Date: Dec. 16, 2022 

James Cameron’s sci-fi epic “Avatar” was released in theaters more than a decade ago. The film is considered a groundbreaking visual triumph for its extensive use of visual effects and motion capture techniques. It later went on to become the highest grossing film of all time before losing the title to “Avengers: Endgame,” and later reclaiming the title after being re-released in China. It took Cameron more than ten years to bring “Avatar” to fruition, as he did not have the technology needed to achieve his vision for some time and he spent years developing the world of the film, including the Na’vi’s native language. As it took more than three years to film “Avatar 2,” alongside “Avatar 3,” we can expect to see the same level of in-depth filmmaking and visual artistry that defined the 2009 film. An interesting advancement in the sequel is the filming of motion capture scenes underwater, which has never been done before. The new film features several cast members from the original film while also introducing new characters portrayed by stars such as Kate Winslet, Vin Diesel and Jemaine Clement. The wait for an “Avatar” sequel has been long, but bits of its anonymity and expansive ambition makes this one of the most anticipated event films of the year.

Whether it be in a movie theater or from the comfort of our own homes, we can always find a great escape by watching films. The films releasing this year appeal to various tastes and strive to give audiences the best viewing experience possible. These are only some of the grand films we can look forward to in 2022.