If you start to think too hard about what moviegoing could look like in 2022, you might never leave your house again. But I’m going to play the optimist and proclaim my enthusiasm for the next 12 months of life on the big screen – even the big-budget franchises that seem to be the only things half-successfully bringing audiences back into the cinema.
To that end, here are five of Hollywood’s largest 2022 endeavours that might also be genuinely entertaining spectacles and diversions, too. If you haven’t been back to a movie theatre yet, these titles just might tempt you. All release dates are – I don’t think I have to tell you – subject to change.
Torontonians, we are an insufferable lot. But get ready to hear more from us – so much more! – once Disney and Pixar’s new animated film Turning Red opens in a few months. That’s because the film, which tells the story of a young girl who turns into a giant red panda during moments of anxiety, is set entirely in Toronto. And it looks pretty good, too: bright and witty and jammed with landmarks. Hometown director Domee Shi already featured the city in her Oscar-winning Pixar short film Bao, and should be given the keys to the city promptly after the film’s release. The rest of Canada will never hear the end of it.
The Lost City
Once called The Lost City of D – I assume the letter was dropped to avoid rhyming confusion with The Lost City of Z, or maybe there were other “what-does-D-stand-for?” reasons at play – this high-concept adventure slash rom-com seems right in the spirit of The Jewel of the Nile, following a shy romance author (Sandra Bullock) and her charming cover model (Channing Tatum) who get caught up in a kidnapping scheme while on tour. The film seems like an outlier these days: There’s a big budget, big locales, big stars, but also a concept completely free of any franchise aspirations. At least for now.
Here’s what I know about Jordan Peele’s follow-up to Us: nothing. Well, that’s not completely true. I know it has a dark and mysterious poster picturing … a cloud? Or something cloud-like? Chemtrails? Oh, and I know that the film stars Peele’s Get Out lead Daniel Kaluuya, plus Keke Palmer and Steven Yeun. And that it is definitely a horror film. But that’s it. Which is, for now, enough to turn a Nope into a Yep.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Part One)
All right yes, there are now as many Spider-Man films as there are months in the year, but this one could be the best iteration yet. Consider the facts: It’s the sequel to the greatest Spidey movie, the animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and comes once again courtesy of the animation titans Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. The teaser trailer that was released the other week is also more visually and emotionally engaging than just about anything else that Marvel Studios has produced over the past two years.
Originally scheduled to come out in … checks notes … 2014? Dear god, James Cameron, what have you been up to? Let’s hope the Canadian filmmaker (remember that patriotic fact? still true) has been spending all this time tinkering and upgrading the Avatar mechanics, and generally preparing to blow audiences’ minds for a truly big-screen-only experience. It might be easy to doubt the staying power of the Avatar franchise this long after the first movie came out in … checks notes again … 2009??? Oh man. But no one ever got rich by underestimating the powers of James Cameron.
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