The ultimate summer 2022 movie guide

The ultimate summer 2022 movie guide

This season's can't-miss movies include blockbuster action, animated comedy and a healthy dose of horror.
Published: May 5, 2022
A collage of characters from Top Gun, Thor: Love and Thunder, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, Fire Island, Bullet Train, Chip n' Dale: Rescue Rangers, Men and NOPE.

Bro-tastic Blockbusters

By Riley Utley

When I think summer, I think big blockbusters that are meant to be seen on the IMAX screen. I think of action films with classic rock soundtracks and jaw-dropping stunts that leave you with an adrenaline rush as you exit the theater.

Thor: Love and Thunder

Release Date: July 8

My excitement for Thor: Love and Thunder ultimately comes down to one factor: Taika Waititi. He swooped in with his quirky humor from What We Do In the Shadows and heart from The Hunt for the Wilderpeople and turned Thor into a lovable, flawed and complex character rather than the one-dimensional shallow god he was before. Thor: Ragnarök is easily one of my favorite Marvel movies and I have high expectations for its predecessor Thor: Love and Thunder.

The film will pick up where Avengers: Endgame left off as Thor tries to come back out of an existential crisis while traveling with the Guardians of the Galaxy. In the teaser trailer, it looks like Thor: Love and Thunder will take the hero on a new adventure filled with Greek gods (Russell Crowe will play Zeus) and god hunters (Christian Bale as Gorr the God Butcher) and will bring back beloved characters. There is an epic shot of Natalie Portman at the end of the trailer confirming her return to the franchise, but this time as the Mighty Thor.

With Waititi at the helm as the director, co-writer and reprising his role as Korg, and the star-studded cast of kooky characters, we are in for a wicked good time this summer.

 

Top Gun: Maverick

Release Date: May 27

After 36 years since the release of Top Gun, 12 years of development and five release delays Top Gun: Maverick is finally flying into theaters on May 27. There are many factors that play into my excitement for this film, but number one is the nostalgia factor followed closely by the Tom Cruise commitment to jaw-dropping aerial action.

The long-awaited sequel catches up with Maverick as he comes back to the Top Gun program to teach a new generation of fighter pilots, including his late best friend Goose’s son, played by Miles Teller (who looks almost identical to Anthony Edwards as Goose in the original).

According to Joseph Kosinski, the director of the film, he shot about 800 hours of footage and the cast went through intense fighter pilot training for the movie. So, it’s safe to say this movie was not afraid to send it. And based on the groundbreaking action Cruise has been able to pull off in the Mission Impossible films, I can’t wait to see how he takes that practical action and puts it in airplanes.

So let’s fly into the Danger Zone and see what these pilots have in store for us come late May.

Summertime Silliness

By Katherine Kiessling

To me, summer is about letting loose and having a good time, preferably paired with copious amounts of ice cream. And coming off an intense year of graduate school, I’m ready for some lighthearted fun.

Chip n’ Dale: Rescue Rangers

Streaming Date: May 20

When Disney announced a reboot of Chip n’ Dale: Rescue Rangers, I was skeptical. For one, I have major reboot/prequel/sequel/spin-off fatigue. And of all the existing Disney property to revisit, why Chip and Dale? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed watching Rescue Rangers growing up (it was one of my brother’s favorites). It just didn’t seem like an obvious reboot choice.

Everything changed when the teaser dropped.

The reboot I didn’t know I needed follows Chip (John Mulaney) and Dale (Adam Samberg) 30 years after Recuse Rangers got canceled. Chip is living a responsible life working in insurance; Dale is chasing his glory days at cartoon conventions (and invested in CGI surgery). When toons – including a former cast mate – go missing, the duo has to reunite to save the day.

The Who Framed Roger Rabbit vibes are off the chart, and the trailer is a big old “I Spy” of characters and animation styles. With Akiva Schaffer of The Lonely Island directing, this is definitely going to be weird, wacky and fun. Plus the cast is stacked, including the legendary voices of Seth Rogen as Bob the Viking, J.K. Simmons as the claymation Detective Putty and Will Arnett as Mean Dean, a terrifying middle-aged clone of Peter Pan.

If loving this reboot is wrong, I don’t want to be right. I’m counting down the days until I can stream it on Disney+ later this month.

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

Release Date: June 24

Marcel is a sweet, weird, anthropomorphic shell born from the minds of director Dean Fleischer-Camp and writer and actress Jenny Slate. The pair introduced Marcel 11 years ago in the first installment of Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, and two short-films followed in 2011 and 2014. There were rumors of Marcel getting a television series after the third installment, but it never materialized. Now Marcel is getting a big-screen adventure thanks to A24.

I love Marcel. He’s quirky and endearing, plus I am a sucker for stop-motion. This summer, the one-inch tall hero (Slate) embarks on a mission to find his family with the help of a documentarian named Dean (Fleischer-Camp).

I was a little worried the idea of Marcel wouldn’t be enough to sustain a feature-length film without becoming cloying, but the reviews after its Telluride Film Festival and SXSW have been stellar. This is going to be a quiet, charming and tender comedy, and I can already tell I’ll need to bring tissues to the theater. I can neither confirm nor deny that I cried a little during the trailer.

Keep it Scary and Gay (Not Necessarily at the Same Time)

By Ellen Mintzer

This summer will see two of my favorite sub-genres hitting the big screen – modern psychological horror and LGBTQ comedy realness. What do these categories have in common? They’re both guaranteed to get me into a movie theater even on the sunniest summer day.

Nope

Release Date: July 22

It’s been three long years since writer-director Jordan Peele’s last film, and we’re finally getting another addition to his canon. It’s easy to forget that he only has two films under his belt, 2017’s Oscar-winning sociopolitical horror drama Get Out and 2019’s nerve-fraying doppelgänger chiller Us. As a filmmaker, he’s had such an impact on the horror genre and pop culture. 

Nope continues Peele’s trend of generic titles that give little away and finds him re-teaming with his Get Out star Daniel Kaluuya, along with newcomers to the Peeliverse Keke Palmer and Steven Yeun. The trailer doesn’t give much away either, and that’s just the way I like it. There are horses, a nod to Black film history and a whole lot of multicolored inflatable tube men. Like in the other two Peele films, Michael Abels’ dissonant, eerie score provides an unnerving backdrop, and an aura of strangeness punctuates moments of enigmatic intensity. I’m mystified, intrigued and beyond ready for this ride.

Fire Island

Release Date: June 3

Real-life friends Bowen Yang and Joel Kim Booster have been bringing the funny as silly-smart improvisers and witty podcast mainstays long before Yang became a breakout star on Saturday Night Live (see instantly iconic characters like Trade Daddy, the iceberg that sunk the Titanic…I could go on). The two gay Asian men, who spoke recently about their life-changing friendship, are getting the comedy vehicle they deserve in Fire Island, along with a stacked alt-gay-comedy cast that includes Margaret Cho and Yang’s Las Culturistas cohost Matt Rogers.

The film, which Booster also wrote, is a modern take on Pride and Prejudice that centers on the friend group’s annual getaway to the titular island, which is a quintessential gay vacation destination. Rainbow flags, dance music and tiny crop tops abound. The sun-dappled tableaus and beachy vibes set the stage for some good old-fashioned fun in the sun, but with a gay twist, as our heroes square up against a group of elitist bullies. It’s thrilling to see a majority LGBTQ and nonwhite cast headline a summer rom-com, and it doesn’t hurt that I’m a huge fan of these comedians. What a lovely Gemini szn treat for yours truly!

In response to the trailer’s reception, Booster tweeted, “The trailer dropping hasn’t really moved the needle on my Grindr inbox. We still have a long way to go as a community,” and I threw my phone across the room. Somebody get this man a standup special! Oh wait, Netflix just did.

Trains, Pain and Men

By Madelyn Geyer

The following films both contain men and pain. One definitely has trains; I’m unsure about the other. While not your typical summer blockbuster fare,  these polar opposite films gripped me with their trailers, stories and talent.

 

Men

Release Date: May 20

Just the title is enough to scare some people.

Two humans, a rural house and deep, emotional trauma. What could go wrong? Many, many things go wrong in Alex Garland’s film Men, starring Jessie Buckley and Rory Kinnear. Garland wrote and directed this horror flick about a young woman on holiday in the English countryside. She goes after experiencing a tragedy in her personal life, but only runs into more terror.

The trailer’s images of crawling, blood-soaked creatures and horrendous screaming unsettled me to my core. There’s only six actors in the cast, so I’m eager to see how they’re utilized. Kinnear, an actor who came to my attention after Black Mirror’s most disturbing episode, plays multiple roles as creepy men in the town. Garland himself describes Men as “slightly aggressive” and definitely not boring. Garland’s track record of excellence with previous sci-fi films Annihilation and Ex Machina and A24’s penchant for magnificent, unique horror makes this film one to watch.

Bullet Train

Release Date: July 29

This film contains: trains, pain, men and fun. Many times a great trailer ends up being better than the film it’s promoting. I don’t think this is the case for Bullet Train, starring the one and only Brad Pitt. Pitt plays an assassin named Ladybug who’s trying to get out, but — of course — is pulled back in for one last job. His objective: retrieve a briefcase on a high-speed train. Only he’s not alone, as four other assassins want the briefcase as well.

I loved Pitt’s comedic performance in The Lost City, so I’m excited to see him flex those acting muscles again. The film looks impossibly slick, fast-paced and fun; each frame awash in the neon lights of Tokyo. Cinematographer Jonathan Sela whips, pans and zooms throughout the train, following non-stop action up and down the aisles. Director David Leitch also helmed Deadpool 2, so let the chaos and humorous quips of Bullet Train rain down.

Avatar for Katherine Kiessling

is a graduate student in the Goldring Arts Journalism and Communications program and the Social Media Director for The NewsHouse.

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Avatar for Katherine Kiessling

is a lead producer for The NewsHouse, and a graduate student in arts journalism and communications.

Avatar for Katherine Kiessling

is an arts journalism and communications graduate student and the Assistant Executive Producer for The NewsHouse.

Avatar for Katherine Kiessling

is a graduate student in the Goldring Arts Journalism and Communications program and the Entertainment Lead Producer for The NewsHouse