Sony Pictures’ Morbius may have been a major stumbling point for Marvel movies, but Disney’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will hopefully make things right again. Not only is this film from original Spider-Man trilogy filmmaker Sam Raimi a sequel to the successful 2016 Doctor Strange movie, but it also continues plot threads from other films and shows within the MCU including WandaVision, Loki, and Spider-Man: No Way Home. Since no other major movie is being released that weekend, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will undoubtedly be another massive box office success for Marvel Studios.
Besides Doctor Strange, several other theatrical releases are coming out this month that appeal to all types of audiences. From a tense psychological horror film (Men) to the long-awaited sequel to a classic Tom Cruise movie (Top Gun: Maverick), studios are pulling out all the stops for the first month of the always-crowded summer movie season. After all, North America is slowly going back to the way things were before the COVID-19 pandemic, so why shouldn’t studios let audiences enjoy their movies on the big screen?
What’s it about: Doctor Strange accidentally opens up the multiverse and now he, Wong, and Wanda Maximoff must do everything in their power to save it.
Who will love it: Comic book fans; MCU fanboys (and girls); almost everyone.
Preview: It’s kind of cathartic that Sam Raimi’s first movie in almost 10 years is in the sub-genre that he revolutionized with the first Spider-Man movie. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness not only brings back several familiar faces including Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, Elizabeth Olsen as the Scarlet Witch, and Chiwetel Ejiofor as Karl Mordo, but it also introduces new characters into the MCU including Xochitl Gomez as the universe-hopping superhero America Chavez. Also, the word multiverse is in the title, so expect some major cameos in the film as well.
What’s it about: A grieving widower begins to lose his sanity while working as a shepherd on a weathered island.
Who will love it: Horror movie aficionados; fans of The Lighthouse (probably); moviegoers who think shepherding is scary.
Preview: Anyone who wants to watch something other than Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness that weekend should check out the limited-release horror film Shepherd. The movie’s trailer makes it looks like a slow-burn A24 horror movie along the lines of The VVitch and Hereditary. Despite how little buzz this movie is receiving, it does feature a few recognizable names including Kate Dickie (2021’s The Green Knight) and Greta Scacchi (1992’s The Player). If you’re a horror fan and live near a theater playing this movie, then you should definitely try to see it.
What’s it about: A young girl who can create fires with her mind is on the run from a sinister government organization that wants to use her powers for their own nefarious purposes.
Who will love it: Stephen King fans; Blumhouse devotees; anyone who loves starting fires (get help).
Preview: Blumhouse Productions’ modern remake of the 1984 cult classic Stephen King adaptation starring Drew Barrymore is sure to please horror fans and King acolytes alike. Ryan Kiera Armstrong plays the titular firestarter while Zac Efron plays her psychic father who’s trying to protect her from whatever harm comes her way. Additionally, John Carpenter, the filmmaker and musician who directed and composed music for the first Halloween film, composed the musical score for this new Firestarter movie with his son Cody and guitarist Daniel Davies, which is great for anyone who loves his music. Let’s hope this remake is more 2017’s It and less 2019’s Pet Semetary.
What’s it about: The Crawley Family travels to the South of France while a film crew shoots a movie in the Abbey.
Who will love it: Downton Abbey fans; British drama enthusiasts; anyone who needs more Maggie Smith in their lives.
Preview: This sequel to the 2019 big-screen adaptation of the long-running British TV series is sure to please people who love posh British aristocrats acting like posh British aristocrats. Many series regulars are set to return including Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, and Maggie Smith while also introducing some new actors to the franchise including Hugh Dancy, Laura Haddock, and Dominic West. Fans of the series are surely in for a treat with this new movie, which promises to delve into the past life of Smith’s bitchy Dowager Countess.
What’s it about: A young woman retreats to the English countryside only to be the target of a mysterious stalker.
Who will love it: A24 devotees; moviegoers who like to be unnerved by creepy men in the shadows.
Preview: While not as sci-fi heavy as Ex Machina or Annihilation, the trailers for Alex Garland’s latest film heavily indicate that it still features the same type of ambient horror that he’s become famous for. Academy Award-nominated actress Jessie Buckley stars alongside Penny Dreadful actor Rory Kinnear, who seems to be playing multiple characters here. Garland’s track record is (so far) spotless, and Buckley and Kinnear are coming off of career-best work. Hopefully, these performances are as mesmerizing in the movie as they are in the trailer.
What’s it about: A movie star whose girlfriend implicitly breaks up with him must choose between his career or his love.
Who will love it: Machine Gun Kelly fans; stoner comedy enthusiasts.
Preview: Good Mourning marks Machine Gun Kelly’s second film as a co-writer and co-director after 2021’s Downfalls High. The rapper-turned-punk rock artist stars alongside several recognizable names including Pete Davidson, Dove Cameron, Megan Fox, and Becky G. Let’s hope the movie can be enjoyed both high and sober, but don’t count on it.
What’s it about: Test pilot Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell is asked to train a new generation of Top Gun graduates.
Who will love it: Top Gun fans; aspiring fighter pilots; Val Kilmer’s agent.
Preview: Despite suffering several delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the long-awaited sequel to the ’80s homoerotic classic Top Gun finally hits theaters later this month. Even though the trailers position this new entry as much less cheesy than its predecessor, Top Gun: Maverick is still likely to please audiences who just want to see some great fighter pilot sequences, which were all shot practically by the way. Both Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer reprise their roles from the first film alongside several new faces including Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, and Ed Harris. Additionally, one of these graduates is Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw (Miles Teller), the son of Nick “Goose” Bradshaw from the first film, so that adds some emotional stakes to this new narrative. It remains to be seen if Anthony Edwards appears as the ghost of Goose, or if pop group Berlin returns to sing “Take My Breath Away” as way to remind everyone their song actually won an Academy Award in 1987.
What’s it about: A giant sinkhole opens in front of Bob’s Burgers and puts the Belcher family’s business in danger.
Who will love it: Bob’s Burgers fans; animation buffs; anyone who loves burgers.
Preview: After 12 seasons of hilarious, Emmy-winning television, this goofy burger-flipping family is finally making their way to the big screen. Many series regulars will lend their voices to this film including H. Jon Benjamin, Dan Mintz, Eugene Mirman, Larry Murphy, John Roberts, Kristen Schaal, Zach Galifianakis, Kevin Kline, Sam Seder, Aziz Ansari, Gary Cole, Brian Huskey, David Herman, Ron Lynch, David Wain, Jenny Slate, and Stephanie Beatriz. Judging from the trailer, the series’ off-the-wall humor appears to be intact in this big-screen adaptation, which means more of Tina’s obsession with male butts and Linda singing off-key. If this movie performs well at the box office, then maybe studios will release more 2D-animated films like this in theaters.
- Mark Ellis on summer 2022 movies, Top Gun: Maverick’s success, and the state of comic book films
- Geezers with guns: why action heroes are older than ever
- Hollywood is abandoning movie theaters at the wrong time
- Marvel’s Doctor Strange 2 will hit Disney+ later this month
- Summer 2022 movie preview: Marvel, Tom Cruise, & Elvis return