Interested in These 10 Movies? We Are, Too (But Maybe For Different Reasons)

blog top 01-10 Across the Spider-Verse

While COVID threatens to jangle the movie industry for the third-straight year, the success of Spider-Man: No Way Home (which has earned more than $1.5 billion worldwide) tells us that folks will indeed brave the theaters—if they feel there’s something worth braving them for.

As such, the entertainment industry is foisting lots of “new” movies that feel pretty familiar: Sequels. Reboots. Requels. Franchise add-ons.  Of the 20 or so most hotly anticipated flicks coming this year, just one—Pixar’s Turning Red—is an original story featuring original characters. Ecclesiastes has long told us that there’s nothing new under the sun, and Hollywood’s determined to prove it.

But just because 2022 is trotting out movies that feel as familiar and comfy as a pair of well-worn jeans, they still have plenty of new wrinkles … and potentially, new problems.

So with that in mind, let me unveil a handful of films that you might be looking forward to—and that Plugged In will be especially curious about. (Oh, and be sure to listen to our podcast this Thursday, when we’ll talk about a few more.)

Death on the Nile

Death on the Nile (Feb. 11):

Kenneth Branagh returns as Hercule Poirot (and again sits in the director’s chair) in Agatha Christie’s classic murder mystery—bringing along a bevy of stars (Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer, Annette Bening and Letitia Wright, for starters) on this terminal boat ride. But keep in mind that Branagh’s earlier Christie adaptation (Murder on the Orient Express) hit a few bumps on the rails.

The Batman (March 4):

Twilight and Harry Potter alumni Robert Pattinson dons the superhero’s cape and cowl in this newest re-imagining of the Dark Knight. And judging from the trailers, the emphasis is on dark. While Batman has always been a flawed, brooding superhero, Pattinson says this version leans even harder into the crazy—so much so that even his faithful butler (Alfred) worries Master Wayne may be losing it. While the film is rated PG-13, the trailers certainly make me wonder whether it could lean a bit closer to an R-rating than Plugged In might like.

The Batman
Turning Red

Turning Red (March 11):

Historically, no one tells a story like Pixar. The Disney offshoot has a strong track record when it comes to creating excellent family movies, and a few—Up, Inside Out, Finding Nemo—rank high on my list of all-time favorites. But some parents have taken issue with Pixar’s most recent offerings, and this flick—where a girl turns into a giant red panda by virtue of some spiritual ancestral connection—may have a few wrinkles to navigate as well.

The Bad Guys (April 22):

Remember The Suicide Squad? Where a bunch of superhero villains get out of prison to do something good for a change? Well, in a way, this is almost an animated kids’ version of that premise, courtesy DreamWorks. Here, a gang of anthropomorphic animal criminals (Mr. Wolf, Mr. Piranha. Ms. Tarantula, etc.) turn into good guys to avoid jail time—an antihero story for the juice-box set. It might be delightful! Or it might be … well, bad.

The Bad Guys
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (May 6):

Speaking of spirituality, Doctor Strange is inherently one of the most “spiritual” characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He’s a sorceror, after all. And while I plucked some positive spiritual elements from his first MCU entry, I can get why other people would’ve been bothered by all those floating runes and metaphysical planes. This one looks even stranger than Doctor Strange, so it’ll be interesting to see where it goes.

Top Gun: Maverick (May 27):

It’s been 36 years since Tom Cruise last strapped himself into a Navy fighter jet, and many a moviegoer of a certain age has a soft spot for the original Top Gun. But funny thing about old movies: We tend to forget or minimize the problems. While Plugged In wasn’t around to review the original, I think we would’ve definitely called it out for its language and an uber-sensual sex scene. We’ll have to wait to see if this Maverick flies clear of similar issues.

Top Gun - Maverick
Lightyear

Lightyear (June 17):

In Toy Story, Buzz Lightyear discovered—to his initial horror—that he was a toy. In this origin story, we learn that Pixar’s popular Space Ranger was a real person—and one who sounds remarkably like Chris “Captain America” Evans. Even though Pixar’s films are all famously part of the same universe, this marks the first time that the studio has done a proper spinoff. What will our spin be? You’ll have to wait ‘til June … and beyond.

Thor: Love and Thunder (July 8):

Everyone’s favorite Asgardian (don’t write me nasty emails, Loki fans!) returns to the big screen along with director Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok; Jojo Rabbit) and the Guardians of the Galaxy crew. Yes, Ragnarok was a funny. But Thor’s often reliably referred to as a god these days, and he’s joined by Greek top god Zeus (played by Russell Crowe). Also: In the comics, Valkyrie (played by Tessa Thompson) is bisexual, and we’re hearing that those sexual preferences will be dealt with on screen.

Thor - Love and Thunder
Spider-Man Across the Spider-Verse Part 1

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse – Part One (Oct. 7):

The original animated movie, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, was one of most pleasant surprises for Plugged In in 2018. It was fun. Exciting. Clever. And clean. We have high hopes for the next chapter of Miles Morales’ Spider-Man. But sometimes, Spidey’s webs can get a bit sticky—even in the realms of mostly friendly animated confines.

Avatar 2 (mid-December):

The original Avatar landed on screens back in 2009 and promptly made more money than most micronations. Now, 23 years later, director James Cameron brings us another—this time under the watchful eye of Disney. In my opinion, time has not been kind to the original: The special effects are old hat now, and its message feels a bit preachy. So I’ll be curious to see what the sequel holds in store—and just how many people will still care.

Avatar 2

We’re anxiously anticipating plenty of other big movies, of course, from the new Black Panther flick (sans, sadly, Chad Boseman) to Hocus Pocus 2 to The Passion of the Christ: Resurrection. We’ll be reviewing literally hundreds of movies this year. What films are you most interested in seeing? Let us know below or on social media!

paul-asay
Paul Asay

Paul Asay has been part of the Plugged In staff since 2007, watching and reviewing roughly 15 quintillion movies and television shows. He’s written for a number of other publications, too, including Time, The Washington Post and Christianity Today. The author of several books, Paul loves to find spirituality in unexpected places, including popular entertainment, and he loves all things superhero. His vices include James Bond films, Mountain Dew and terrible B-grade movies. He’s married, has two children and a neurotic dog, runs marathons on occasion and hopes to someday own his own tuxedo. Feel free to follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

13 Responses

  1. -I’m most thrilled for “The Batman” (even though it will clearly not be a family-friendly take). Also excited for “Across the Spider-Verse–Part One” and “Lightyear”.

  2. -I’m extremely excited for Spider-Verse 2, but I really want the flashing lights / rapidly alternating colors to get toned down just a little since some of the visual effects in the original were a bit dizzying and, I’d imagine, would be problematic for photosensitive viewers.

  3. -“Of the 20 or so most hotly anticipated flicks coming this year, just one—Pixar’s Turning Red—is an original story featuring original characters. Ecclesiastes has long told us that there’s nothing new under the sun, and Hollywood’s determined to prove it.”

    Sigh…so true. But at least there are some intriguing (and original!) non-family films on the horizon: The Northman, Killers of the Flower Moon, Blonde, 65, Babylon…

  4. -The only movies I’m genuinely excited for this year are The Batman, Sonic 2 and Mission Impossible 7. Everything else I could care less for.

    And of course I look forward to seeing any of the award bait films.

  5. -Aside from Spider-verse 2, there’s nothing I’m all that interested in. Unless we’re talking anime. Cuz then I’m looking forward to the Black Clover movie and Detective Conan Movie 25: The Bride of Halloween.

  6. -I can’t wait to see Avatar 2. I never saw the original on the big screen but I’ve seen it countless times since on cable and it’s quickly become one of my favorite films of all time, so after a thirteen year wait and supposedly a water theme I’m all in to find out what’s next for these avatars. All the rest I could care less about. Pixar used to be a no-brainer for me but based on how bad Toy Story 4 and Soul were, not to mention how hohummy other films like Coco and Cars 3 were and I’ve all but lost my faith in Pixar. And of course all that superhero stuff, garishly animated or not, just doesn’t interest me in the least. Bring on minions 2 or fantastic beasts 3 for me.

  7. -I really wanna see avatar 2, minions 2, and fantastic beasts 3, but everything else including Pixar’s latest, I don’t think so.

  8. -Pixar used to be a no-brainer, but since toy story 4, cars 3, coco, and soul all ended up pretty much stinking out the joint I’m afraid I’ve lost faith in Pixar. Too bad since they can still produce stuff as mesmerizing as incredibles 2, but sadly those days are few and far between now.

  9. -The only films I trust to be good are Sonic 2 and Across the Spider-Verse.

    I have hope for Lightyear, as it might be the first film from Disney or PIXAR to actually have a villain in a long time. (“Fairy tales don’t teach children that dragons exist, they teach them that dragons can be defeated.” Atr. George MacDonald)

    ‘Twould be nice if Dr. Strange is good, but I doubt it will beat Spider-Man: No Way Home.

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