To celebrate International Women's Day, we're looking ahead to the 2022 movie releases that put strong women front and centre. From comic book epics to creepy horrors, there's a multifaceted spread of characters to enjoy this year.
1. The Batman (on release now)
We can't wait to see Zoe Kravitz
Zoe Kravitz's tenacious and devious Catwoman is among the memorable characters in Matt Reeves' Batman blockbuster. Kravitz reinterprets the character of Selina Kyle as a go-getting cat burglar who works in an underground nightclub in Gotham City.
The revelations about her past have profound effects on the storyline, the mob and Robert Pattinson's broody Batman in this stylish comic book adventure. Michael Giacchino's slinky, seductive score, meanwhile, teases at the attraction between the two characters, brilliantly capturing the essence of Kravitz's portrayal.
2. The Phantom of the Open (released 18th March)
We can't wait to see Sally Hawkins
In this charming and uplifting comedy-drama, Oscar winner Mark Rylance portrays Maurice Flitcroft, the man who blagged his way into the 1976 British Open Golf championships. However, the emotional spine of the movie really belongs to Oscar nominee Sally Hawkins who is moving and endearing by turns as Maurice's loyal wife, Jean.
Even through thick and thin, as Maurice is dubbed "the world's worst golfer" by the global media, Jean advocates her husband following his passion. If you don't tear up at the end of the film, then you must have a heart of stone.
3. The Lost City (released 25th April)
We can't wait to see Sandra Bullock
Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum are a mismatched pair of bumbling adventurers in this frenetic action-comedy. Bullock plays a romance novelist who becomes embroiled in intrigue alongside her air-headed cover model, played by Tatum, while Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe, plays the nefarious baddie on their tail. Brad Pitt makes a cameo appearance in a movie that deliberately channels the spirit of eighties classics like Romancing the Stone.
4. Downton Abbey: A New Era (released 29th April)
We can't wait to see Maggie Smith
Britain's most famous aristocratic residence throws open its doors once again in this follow-up to the blockbusting Downton Abbey movie. Julian Fellowes, the writer of both the original ITV series and the 2019 film, brings us the latest chapter in the storied history of the Crawley family.
Hugh Bonneville's Lord Grantham and Maggie Smith's witty Dowager Countess are among the familiar and much-loved faces returning for this latest irresistible instalment of service, silverware and soap opera. Will you cordially accept the invitation?
5. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (released 6th May)
We can't wait to see Elizabeth Olsen
The Sorcerer Supreme returns in the latest chapter in Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In his 2016 debut, Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) graduated from arrogant surgeon to supreme manipulator of alternate dimensions, and his powers will surely be put to good use again in this sequel. It's directed by Sam Raimi who not only makes his MCU debut but returns to the comic book movie fold for the first time since 2007's Spider-Man 3.
We're on tenterhooks to see how the emergent multiverse will contort and manipulate the ongoing MCU, and we also look forward to welcoming back Elizabeth Olsen's Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch to the big screen, following her acclaimed series WandaVision.
6. Jurassic World: Dominion (released 10th June)
We can't wait to see Bryce Dallas Howard
At the end of 2018's Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom, a host of dinosaurs were let loose on the American mainland. That cues us up for the prehistoric spectacle to come in the third and final Jurassic World movie, Dominion.
We can't wait to see the ongoing conflict between humans and our prehistoric ancestors, which has already been teased in a jaw-dropping IMAX prologue. The always likeable Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard return as Owen and Claire, plus nostalgics will rejoice at the return of Jurassic Park veterans Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum.
7. Thor: Love and Thunder (released 8th July)
We can't wait to see Natalie Portman
It's a massive "Yes!" from us as Chris Hemsworth's beefy God of Thunder returns to the MCU. That said, the all-powerful Thor is no longer reigning the realm of Asgard; he's now passed that duty on Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), to whom we were introduced in 2017's deliriously entertaining Thor: Ragnarok.
And the responsibility of wielding the hammer known as Mjolnir now falls to Natalie Portman's scientist Jane Foster, making her first proper return to the MCU since 2013's Thor: The Dark World. It's certainly an inclusive and template-tweaking spread, and it's set to be marshalled by Taika Waititi who helped spin Ragnarok into such a delightful blur of colour and humour. Ex-Batman Christian Bale makes his MCU debut as the villainous Gorr the God Butcher.
8. Nope (released 22nd July 2022)
We can't wait to see Keke Palmer
Along with the aforementioned Robert Eggers, writer-director Jordan Peele has done a lot to inject contemporary horror cinema with biting relevance and a skin-crawling atmosphere. His 2017 movie Get Out fused The Stepford Wives with Invasion of the Body Snatchers, emerging as a crafty and scary satire on liberal racism.
In claiming the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, Peele became the first African-American filmmaker to bag the trophy. In 2019, Peele's follow-up movie Us showcased a blazing dual performance from Lupita Nyong'o as a distressed mother and her evil doppelganger.
We've no idea what Peele's new movie Nope is about, but based on his past record, we're very excited indeed. Based on the trailer, actor Keke Palmer is set to blaze a trail with her depiction of a free-spirited, quick-witted Hollywood horse trainer who comes face to face with an apparent alien invasion.
9. Where the Crawdads Sing (released 22nd July)
We can't wait to see Daisy Edgar-Jones
Delia Owens' bestselling novel Where the Crawdads Sing interweaves two storylines in dazzling fashion. Set amidst the bayous and swamps of steamy South Carolina, the decade-spanning story is, on the one hand, the coming of age story of the isolated Kya, and on the other is a gripping murder investigation.
The long-awaited film adaptation comes from Beasts of the Southern Wild screenwriter Lucy Alibar, and stars Normal People's breakout star Daisy Edgar-Jones in the pivotal role of Kya.
10. Don't Worry Darling (released 23rd September)
We can't wait to see Florence Pugh
In 2019, Olivia Wilde stepped behind the camera for the first time. The end result was coming-of-age comedy Booksmart, a sharply observed and very funny account of two bookish students going hog wild on the last day of the school year. Wilde is now shifting gears for her sophomore movie, Don't Worry Darling, which ditches the laughs for psychological thrills.
Booksmart screenwriter Katie Silberman spins a dark yarn in which a 1950s housewife (Black Widow's Florence Pugh) comes to suspect that her husband is hiding something. The more-than-capable supporting cast includes the MCU's latest recruit Harry Styles, plus Chris Pine, Gemma Chan and Wilde herself.
11. Halloween Ends (released 14th October)
We can't wait to see Jamie Lee Curtis
All good things must come to an end. But if the prior Halloween movies have taught us anything, it's that you can't kill the unstoppable Michael Myers. Director David Gordon Green and screenwriter Danny McBride spun critical acclaim and box office gold from their 2018 Halloween reboot, wiping the slate clean and directly continuing the legacy of John Carpenter's 1978 masterpiece.
In 2021, Halloween Kills upped the ante and the carnage as Michael found himself pitted against the residents of Haddonfield, Illinois. Now, the saga of Michael and his original victim Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) is set to come to its terrifying conclusion.
12. Avatar II (released 16th December)
We can't wait to see Zoe Saldana
After several delays, the long-awaited second instalment in James Cameron's Avatar series is due to arrive. The 2009 movie engulfed us in the world of Pandora, aided by seamless CGI effects that, when seen in eye-popping 3D, felt all the more tactile and tangible. To that end, Avatar became the most commercially successful movie of all time with $2.8 billion in the bank.
Several years later, we don't really know what Cameron has planned for the sequel, other than it will take place beneath the waves of Pandora and introduce us to new tribes of the Na'Vi. Kate Winslet and Michelle Yeoh are among the new faces with Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver and Stephen Lang all set to return.