It's that time of year again—where the weather is colder, the urge to leave the house is weaker, and our new planners are waiting to be filled with release dates for highly anticipated films. Whatever genre you love, from comedy to horror to documentaries, 2022 will be a fun year, as studios catching up on pandemic delays finally release the action films we've been waiting as long as two or three years for.
The upcoming slate of action flicks is especially exciting, as several beloved franchises and star directors return with new installments of our favorite movies. From John Wick to Thor to Top Gun, here's your guide to what's sure to be the best action movies of 2022.
Release date: February 18, 2022
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Eiza González, Garret Dillahunt, Keir O'Donnell, Moses Ingram, Jose Pablo Cantillo, and Kayli Tran
Why it's worth watching: Transformers director Michael Bay is always good for a great action sequence, and his newest film has some intense stakes. A vet (Mateen) who needs a fortune for his wife's surgery joins in on his friend's (Gyllenhaal) bank robbery. The pair end up hijacking an ambulance and taking an EMT (González) and a critically-injured cop as hostages.
Release date: March 4, 2022
Starring: Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Andy Serkis, Jeffrey Wright, Barry Keoghan, Peter Sarsgaard, John Turturro, Paul Dano, and Colin Farrell
Why it's worth watching: When we heard that Pattinson would be playing the Caped Crusader, everyone wondered what kind of Batman film we would get. The trailers have shown a dark, brutal story featuring several famous DC villains (including Kravitz as Catwoman), and we can't be more excited.
'Operation Fortune: Ruse De Guerre'
Release date: March 17, 2022
Starring: Jason Statham, Aubrey Plaza, Josh Hartnett, Cary Elwes, Bugzy Malone and Hugh Grant
Why it's worth watching: In this Guy Ritchie action-comedy, a crew of spies team up with a Hollywood star to stop the sale of a deadly new weapons technology.
'The Lost City'
Release date: March 19, 2022
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Channing Tatum, Daniel Radcliffe, Patti Harrison, Oscar Nunez, and Da'Vine Joy Randolph
Why it's worth watching: It's great when a high-paced action film is also hilarious, and this movie has us excited on both counts. Bullock plays reclusive romance novelist who gets swept up in a kidnapping attempt in the jungle while on a book tour with her cover model (Tatum).
'Everything Everywhere All At Once'
Release date: March 25, 2022
Starring: Michelle Yeoh, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ke Huy Quan, James Hong, Stephanie Hsu, Andy Le, Brian Le, Harry Shum, Jr., and Jenny Slate
Why it's worth watching: Michelle Yeoh accessing the memories of infinite versions of herself and kicking ass across the multiverse? Sign me up.
Release date: April 1, 2022
Starring: Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Florian Munteanu, Gillian Jacobs, Kiefer Sutherland, Eddie Marsan, and JD Pardo
Why it's worth watching: Pine has kept a low profile for the past few years (minus the Wonder Woman films) so we're excited to see him play a former Special Forces agent sent overseas on a covert mission in this new action flick.
Release date: April 22, 2022
Starring: Alexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, Ethan Hawke, Claes Bang, Anna Taylor-Joy, Willem Dafoe, and Björk
Why it's worth watching: An exiled Viking prince vows revenge on the uncle who took everything from him in this gritty saga.
'Top Gun: Maverick'
Release date: May 27, 2022
Starring: Tom Cruise, Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller, Ed Harris, Val Kilmer, Glen Powell, Jay Ellis, Monica Barbaro, and Jon Hamm
Why it's worth watching: Thirty years after the original film, the Top Gun sequel shows Maverick (Cruise) passing on his wisdom and training a new cast of pilots.
'Jurassic World: Dominion'
Release date: June 10, 2022
Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Daniella Pineda, Kristoffer Polaha, Omar Sy, BD Wong, Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum, and Laura Dern
Why it's worth watching: Dinosaur fans, get ready. The Jurassic World series is finally coming. back, three years after a cliffhanger that saw dinosaurs running wild outside of the park. The upcoming film also brings back Neill, Goldblum, and Dern, reprising their roles from the original Jurassic Park films.
Release date: June 29, 2022
Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Josh Duhamel, Jennifer Coolidge, Lenny Kravitz, Sônia Braga, D'Arcy Carden, Desmin Borges, and Cheech Marin
Why it's worth watching: J.Lo stars in this action/comedy as a bride whose destination wedding is marred by a hostage situation involving their families. We can't wait to see this hilarious cast, especially with Jennifer Coolidge returning to our screens.
'Thor: Love and Thunder'
Release date: July 8, 2022
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Taika Waititi, Tessa Thompson, Christian Bale, Karen Gillan, and Russell Crowe
Why it's worth watching: The next Thor standalone movie is bringing back the God of Asgard's love interest from the first two films, Jane Foster (Portman). However, in wild Taika Waititi fashion, Foster won't be standing on the sidelines of the action. She'll reportedly become the first female Thor, picking up the hammer when the original (Hemsworth) becomes unworthy.
Release date: July 15, 2022
Starring: Brad Pitt, Sandra Bullock, Joey King, Andrew Koji, Brian Tyree Henry, Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Hiroyuki Sanada, and Bad Bunny
Why it's worth watching: This new film from Atomic Blonde director David Leitch takes place on the titular high-speed train in Tokyo, following five assassins who realize their assigned targets are related. If you want to see Brad Pitt and Bad Bunny in a no-holds-barred fight, put this release on your calendar.
'Mission: Impossible 7'
Release date: September 30, 2022
Starring: Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Hayley Atwell, Vanessa Kirby, Pom Klementieff, Simon Pegg, and Ving Rhames
Why it's worth watching: The best part of any new Mission: Impossible is seeing how Cruise will one-up his old death-defying stunts. The upcoming installment also brings back Fallout stars Ferguson and Kirby in their badass roles.
'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever'
Release date: November 11, 2022
Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Daniel Kaaluya, Winston Duke, Martin Freeman, Dominique Thorne, Michaela Coel, and Angela Bassett
Why it's worth watching: Most of the plot details of the Black Panther sequel have been kept under wraps following Chadwick Boseman's untimely death. With the absence of T'Challa, we're assuming that the women of Wakanda, including his genius sister Shuri (Wright) and new addition Ironheart (Thorne), will lead the film.
Release date: TBD
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Adam Bessa, Tinatin Dalakishvili, Patrick Newall, Rayna Campbell, and Hector Andreu
Why it's worth watching: The sequel to the 2020 Netflix hit Extraction is finally dropping this year, with Tyler Rake on a new mission involving one of the world’s deadliest prisons.
Release date: TBD
Starring: Ma Dong-seok (aka Don Lee), and Son Suk-ku
Why it's worth watching: Another sequel to a beloved action thriller (2017's The Outlaws), this Korean film sees The Eternals' Ma Dong-seok reprising his role as the "Beast Cop" Ma Seok-do.
Quinci LeGardye is a LA-based culture writer who covers TV, movies and pop culture. When she isn’t writing or checking Twitter, she’s probably watching the latest K-drama or giving a concert performance in her car.