"Hearst Magazines and Yahoo may earn commission or revenue on some items through the links below."
If you really want some pure movie escapism, one of the best genres you can choose is a classic action and adventure movie. Even if you go into the theater feeling bummed out, when you exit one of these films, you're ready to face the world like a secret spy. Or take down a classic superhero villain. Or *checks this year's list of movies* drive an ambulance really fast...? Michael Bay, you've done it again!
The point is: Action movies are exciting, and sometimes they're just what you need (especially right now, to be honest). This year's slate—which has allowed for bigger sets and action scenes, thanks to relatively increased production safety in the wake of COVID-19—brings us everything from assassins on a train to assassins on the run to assassins who are JLo. Plus, superheroes. As always, there are lots of superheroes. But there are also some different genres too (think: horror, comedy, historical fiction, animation, romance, etc.) but in each case, there's enough "people punching each other" or "thrilling race against the clock" or "mind games with some punching thrown in there too" to satisfy all your action-y needs.
Even better? You can stream many of these movies right now, and some of them will be streaming very soon if you're dying for a new release that you don't have to leave the house for. From Top Gun: Maverick to the next Black Panther film, here's what you can look forward to this year!
Release Date: January 14, 2022
The fifth film in the horror franchise really nails the "requel" vibe—with all the original cast returning and a new slew of "hot teens getting murdered" to keep things interesting. Don't sleep on the action sequences of the Scream movies: The killers really gotta keep up their cardio chasing after all their potential victims.
Release date: March 4
If you somehow haven't heard, Robert Pattinson is the new Bruce Wayne in the latest Batman movie. Co-stars include Zoë Kravitz as Catwoman, Paul Dano as Riddler, and Colin Farrell as Penguin.
Release date: March 18
The "let's make a p*rn movie" movie, but also it's a horror film! This falls into the "why didn't anyone make this film before??" category because the premise is honestly genius. Luckily, it also lives up to the hype, with my particular faves being Brittany Snow and Kid Cudi as two adult film performers. Plus, there's plenty of action, thanks to a creepy old couple and a gator(!).
Everything Everywhere All at Once
Release date: March 25
Michelle Yeoh absolutely nails it as the poor woman who realizes she's part of a huge multiverse and has to tap into all her parallel selves to stop an evil force. It's overwhelming at first, as she bounces between "selves" on the way to being a badass, but you will love both the action and Yeoh's ~incredible~ performance.
The Lost City
Release date: March 25
A romance novelist and her cover model end up kidnapped on an island based on one of her novels (long story), and adventure shenanigans ensue. Come for the fun banter between Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum, stay for the fun cameos (no spoilers!!).
Release date: April 8
If you're looking for a particularly action-y, explosion-y movie, look no further than Ambulance. Directed by Michael Bay, the film stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as two brothers who go on the run in an ambulance following a bank robbery.
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
Release date: April 22
Nicolas Cage is absolutely in on the joke as he plays a spoof of himself, caught in a bunch of action in Mexico, when he agrees to perform at a billionaire's party. Oh, yea and the film is basically a buddy comedy between him and Pedro Pascal, sooooo you should go watch it rn.
Release date: April 22
Based on the legend that inspired Hamlet, this story features Alexander Skarsgård as an extremely shirtless prince who's on the warpath to kill the uncle who murdered his father and kidnapped his mom. Surprise, surprise, the situation is more complex than it looks. (Also, if you didn't like reading Hamlet in high school, this is a way more exciting version of the story.)
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Release date: May 6
Our first Marvel Cinematic Universe entry for this year is Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, starring Benedict Cumberbatch. This sequel to 2016's Doctor Strange (and, well, all the Marvel movies and shows in between) features the characters traveling into the mysterious multiverse. Elizabeth Olsen, Benedict Wong, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Rachel McAdams co-star.
Release date: May 6
Ok, yes, so this is basically a heist movie set in World War II and involves trying to trick the Nazis with a dead body. And, yes, the action is a lot of strategy against the backdrop of a literal war, instead of people jumping out of planes and stuff. But it's just as pulse-pounding because you're wondering the whole time if and how they're gonna pull it off.
Top Gun: Maverick
Release date: In theaters May 27, then on Paramount+ 45 days after theatrical release
The sequel to 1986's Top Gun has been one of the most anticipated action movies for about three years now because its release date has been pushed back so many times. Tom Cruise returns as the pilot Maverick with co-stars including Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller, Glen Powell, and Jon Hamm.
The Bob's Burgers Movie
Release date: May 27
If you're a fan of the cult-fave TV show, the movie version's just as fun with some wilder action stuff thrown in. If you're new to the show and wanna see what all the fuss is about, I highly recommend starting here.
Jurassic World Dominion
Release date: In theaters June 10 (Then on Peacock, then on Amazon Prime — dates TBD)
The third Jurassic World movie upped its anticipation status by bringing back three stars from the original Jurassic Park: Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, and Sam Neill. Jurassic World stars Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard are also back for more dinosaur disasters.
Release date: June 11
Formerly known as Escape from Spiderhead, this especially dark action movie is about a future in which convicts can reduce their sentences by taking part in medical experiments. Miles Teller and Jurnee Smollett play two convicts, while Chris Hemsworth plays one of the people in charge.
Release date: June 22
If you're a Chris Evans fan, this is well worth a watch. If you're a Toy Story fan, ditto, although be prepared to watch a more straightforward action film than the other four in the series. If you like robot cats and LGBTQ+ representation, what are you waiting for? This is the film!
The Black Phone
Release Date: June 24
Kay, full disclosure that the premise of this one is horrifying: A boy is kidnapped by The Grabber, who loves torturing his victims before he kills them. But then, the phone in the boy's cell starts ringing, and it's all the previous victims giving him advice on how to defeat this horrible, horrible man. It's suspenseful, and it really delivers.
Release Date: July 1
This is apparently a little all over the place, but! If you wanna watch Joey King kick all kinds of ass, *watch*. Her princess character is betrothed to a sociopath (haven't we all been there), and she says absolutely no thank you. Then she's captured and has to save the kingdom, nbd.
Thor: Love and Thunder
Release date: In theaters July 8
Are you noticing that there are a lot of sequels here? With Thor: Love and Thunder, Chris Hemsworth returns to star in the third Thor movie. Natalie Portman also reprises her role of Jane Foster and takes on the title Mighty Thor.
Release date: In theaters July 15
Bullet Train is about five assassins, all on a bullet train in Japan together, who realize that their assignments are related. The ensemble cast includes Brad Pitt, Sandra Bullock, Zazie Beetz, Bryan Tyree Henry, Joey King, and more.
Release date: July 22
Ok, yes, this is first and foremost a Jordan Peele *horror* film, but just look how many action-y things happen in this trailer. It's still a bit unclear, but I'm getting "aliens" and "small-town" and "we could make money filming this!" and "uh oh, things are going terribly wrong." Will watch.
The Gray Man
Release date: July 15, on Netflix July 22
The Gray Man stars Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans as a CIA agent on the run and the man sent to capture him. The star-studded cast also includes Evans' Knives Out co-star Ana de Armas and Bridgerton's Regé-Jean Page.
Release date: In theaters July 29, then on HBO Max 45 days after theatrical release
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson joins the DC Comics world in Black Adam as the titular villain and archenemy of the superhero Shazam. Noah Centineo co-stars as Atom Smasher, while Aldis Hodge plays Hawkman.
The Woman King
Release date: September 16
I am...100 percent into this movie. Female warriors protect The Kingdom of Dahomey, a powerful African state in the 18th and 19th centuries (and yes, this is inspired by a true story). With Viola Davis starring? Say less.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Release date: In theaters November 11
The Black Panther series continues on, following the tragic death of Chadwick Boseman with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Returning stars include Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, and Martin Freeman.
Avatar: The Way of Water
Release date: In theaters December 16
There's a good argument to be made for Avatar 2 being the most-anticipated movie ever, regardless of genre. The first Avatar movie came out in 2009, and the sequel has been pushed back repeatedly. Now, the sci-fi/action movie is scheduled for the end of this year with three more sequels on the way.
Release date: On Netflix TBD
Jennifer Lopez is taking her talents to Netflix with The Mother, a movie about a former assassin who comes out of hiding to protect her daughter. The film co-stars Joseph Fiennes, Gael García Bernal, and Omari Hardwick.
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
Release date: TBD 2022
I mean, it's not a surprise that the blockbuster murder mystery was going to get a sequel, but I'm still thrilled about it. This one adds Kathryn Hahn, Janelle Monáe, Leslie Odom Jr., and Kate Hudson to make a new mystery for Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) to solve. Again, file this one under "mystery with a side of action" and get ready to watch.
Operation Fortune: Ruse De Guerre
Release date: TBD 2022
This Guy Ritchie movie is about a superspy (Jason Statham), weapons technology (sure), and a team of badasses, including Aubrey Plaza (yes pls). It's got kind of a weird release situation happening; The original date was earlier this year, but...TBD on when we actually get it. But I'm still into it.
You Might Also Like