The major blockbuster in the Marvel Cinematic Universe this summer is “Thor: Love and Thunder” (July 8). Taika Waititi is back behind the camera for a direct sequel to 2017’s “Thor: Ragnarok.” Thor faces off against a new adversary, Goor the God Butcher – played by Christian Bale; a character who seems to have more than a hint of Lord Voldemort from the “Harry Potter” movies about him. Thor also reunites with an old flame, Jane Foster, who now wields a rebuilt version of Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, as Mighty Thor. The “Guardians of the Galaxy” team also makes an appearance.
In box office terms, Marvel’s closest challenger may come from another Disney subsidiary, Pixar. The Animation Studio’s “Lightyear” (June 17) tells the origin story of Buzz Lightyear from the “Toy Story” movies. It’s a shameless cash-in, like the “Star Wars” spin-offs, but the “Toy Story” team has barely gotten four movies wrong now, so we’ll still be watching it.
For action fans, the comedy thriller “Bullet Train” (August 5), in which Brad Pitt stars as Ladybug, a consummate assassin trying to change his ways, seems like a must-watch. He is responsible for lifting a briefcase from a high-speed train heading to Kyoto from Tokyo. Things get complicated when he discovers that his traveling companions include several competing assassins, all with connection goals.
Netflix’s big competitor, meanwhile, is “The Gray Man” (July 15). With a $200 million budget, it’s the streaming giant’s most expensive film to date, and it has the pedigree to match. Brothers Anthony and Joseph Russo direct (their resume includes four MCU films) Ryan Gosling as Court Gentry – a deadly mercenary who works with the CIA. But when he discovers certain secrets the agency would prefer to keep hidden, he himself becomes the target of numerous hitmen, including his psychotic former colleague Lloyd Hansen (Chris Evans, clearly relishing a villainous role after years as the most vanilla of superheroes, Captain America).
Horror fans will eagerly await “The Black Phone” (June 24), in which Ethan Hawke plays a serial killer snatching children from a small town. His sixth victim discovers a telephone in his bedroom, through which he can hear the voices of the killer’s previous victims. Then there’s the latest from the twisted mind of Jordan Peale, “Nope” (July 22). Details have been closely guarded, but we know this is a sci-fi crossover in which the residents of a remote town are traumatized by the presence of a UFO.
Other summer movie highlights include the Elvis Presley biopic “Elvis” (June 24); “The Man From Toronto” (August 12), an action comedy starring Kevin Hart and Woody Harrelson; and “Three Thousand Years of Desire” (August 21), in which Tilda Swinton plays a scholar who meets a Djinn (Idris Elba) in Istanbul. The great George Miller (the “Mad Max” franchise) directs.
Since the end of “Game of Thrones”, fantasy fans have little to cheer about. But this summer could change that. First up is the long-awaited “GoT” prequel series, “House of the Dragon” (August 21 on HBO, and presumably OSN regionally). Based on the 2018 novel “Fire and Blood” by George RR Martin, the series – co-created by Martin – tells the story of the fall of House Targaryen.
Perhaps the only fantasy writer with a pop culture cachet similar to Martin’s is the late JRR Tolkien. So fans are truly spoiled for choice this year with the launch of Amazon’s “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” in September. Developed in cooperation with the author’s estate, the show is set in the Second Age of Middle-earth – millennia before the events of “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” – and covers the forge of the Rings of Power and the rise of Sauron.
Returning shows worth checking out include the second season of mystery comedy “Only Murders in the Building” (Hulu, June 28), the third season of Netflix’s quirky superhero series “The Umbrella Academy” (June 22), the fourth season of the dystopian sci-fi western “Westworld” (HBO, June 22), and the second season of the low-key Native American teenage comedy-drama “Reservation Dogs” (August 3).
And there are several new shows we’re looking forward to watching – topping the list being Netflix’s sitcom “Mo,” from Kuwaiti-born Palestinian comedian Mo Amer (August 24), in which Amer plays Mo Najjar, a Palestinian refugee in Texas who is unable to access health care or hold a job for long due to his immigration status – despite having spent most of his life in the United States.
Elsewhere, we’re intrigued by Disney+’s “She-Hulk: Attorney-at-law” (August 17), which stars Tatiana Maslany (“Orphan Black”) in the lead role; Hulu’s “The Patient” (August 30) starring Steve Carrell as a therapist treating a serial killer; and “Loot” (Apple TV+, June 24), a comedy starring Maya Rudolph as a billionaire who is thrown into the media spotlight by her husband’s infidelity, who decides to get heavily involved in her foundation. charity (a foundation she previously knew about besides nothing).
It doesn’t look like 2022 will be a vintage summer for gamers. In a fairly sparse field, however, there are a few titles worth seeking out. For starters, brilliant indie shooter “Cuphead” has a DLC companion adventure “The Delicious Last Course” coming June 30, offering more surreal antics for the titular “hero,” tasked with repossessing the souls owed to him. devil after losing big at devil’s casino. Speaking of returns for beloved characters, “Sonic Origins” (June 23) is a remaster (with a few extra missions) of the first four games in the “Sonic the Hedgehog” franchise – offering a trip down memory lane for veterans. , and a meaty piece of returning goodness for new fans drawn to recent movies. All of this “media synergy” will also air in September, when “The Lord of the Rings: Gollum” drops the day before Amazon’s super-expensive TV series. The action-adventure follows the adventures of the twisted ring bearer before the events of “The Hobbit”.
We’ve been looking forward to the long-delayed “Stray,” and it’s finally set to appear on July 19. It’s a third-person adventure game in which you play as a cat who must navigate a dystopian world of machines and viruses in order to return to your family.
Other notable releases include survival horror “Fobia: St. Dinfna Hotel” (June 30); “Xenoblade Chronicles 3” (July 29), the latest installment of the Nintendo Switch RPG; Square Enix’s co-op shooter “Outriders: Worldslayer” (June 30); and – for gearheads – EA Sports’ “F1 22” (July 1).