14 must-watch summer blockbusters, from 'Thor' to 'Top Gun'

  • Movies
  • Wednesday, 01 Jun 2022

'Thor: Love And Thunder' (left) and 'Top Gun: Maverick'. Photos: Handout

If it succeeds in drawing moviegoers into theatres, 2022 might well be on its way to a throwback summer season approaching pre-Covid-19, 2019, box-office action.

Is that a pipe dream? Are people ready?

The last couple of years have replaced our need for speed with a plea for caution, however ignored. And caution is something the Top Gun ethos does not recognise.

Two years is a long time to wait for landing clearance, but Top Gun: Maverick finally hit the runway in time for Memorial Day weekend (in the United States).

Sneak previews of the film returning Tom Cruise to the role of (now) Capt Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, back in action and bucking authority left and right, have been received with a mixture of relief and rapture.

“The typical crowd of somnambulists at CinemaCon in Las Vegas are notoriously tough,” said IMDb.com senior editor Keith Simanton the other week.

“So it’s remarkable that when shown Top Gun: Maverick they applauded four times during the movie. During it. It’s going to be a massive hit.”

After that, can Jurassic World Dominion continue the streak?

Will Thor: Love And Thunder find enough that’s witty and exciting to sustain its thankfully off-centre patch of the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

Is it possible for Jordan Peele, who found a huge audience with Get Out and then repeated the trick with a far trickier original, Us, to complete his trifecta with the alien-intrusion thriller Nope?

We’ll answer these questions soon enough.

Release dates are subject to change.

Top Gun: Maverick

When Paul Newman returned to the role of “Fast Eddie” Felson in The Color Of Money, the year was 1986 and a quarter-century had passed since The Hustler. Also in 1986, Top Gun proved that Tom Cruise, Newman’s Color Of Money co-star, was a bona fide international box office attraction. But 25 years is nothing, compared with the 36-year gap between Top Gun and director Joseph Kosinski’s follow-up. Cruise now takes the mentor-with-an-edge role; co-starring Miles Teller (as the ill-fated Goose’s son), Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm and Val “Iceman” Kilmer. (May 26)

Jurassic World Dominion

Isla Nublar may be kaput, but in this alleged franchise capper, a culmination of 29 years of foolish humans and hangry dinosaurs, the formerly extinct creatures now roam the world and share an uneasy coexistence with the rest of us. Until ... Chris Pratt returns as the species’ best pal, as do Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum, aka “the legacy cast”. (June 9)

Jurassic World Dominion.Jurassic World Dominion.

Cha Cha Real Smooth

A 22-year-old bat mitzvah “party starter”, played by writer-director- headliner Cooper Raiff, finds himself falling for an older woman (Dakota Johnson) in this Sundance hit, for which Apple paid many millions. Same story with Coda last year. Same Oscar results? (Apple TV+ June 17, and in US theatres)


The origin story of Buzz Lightyear, (thank God) not yet turned into a live-action rip-off. This animated Toy Story prequel trades Chris Evans for Tim Allen, voice-wise. Fingers crossed for some sharp jokes and a little heart to go with the need for speed. (June 16)


Marcel The Shell With Shoes On

This A24 release expands the beguiling stop-motion comic universe of the shell voiced by Jenny Slate, hero of various micro-adventures online. (No release date at press time.)

Thor: Love And Thunder

Taika Waititi returns, directing this Thor continuation, which promises a formidable villain – Gorr, the God Butcher – played by Christian Bale. The conspicuous alums include Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson; the composer is Michael Giacchino, coming off his first-rate score (in a more brooding vein) for The Batman. (July 7)

Mrs Harris Goes To Paris

A 1950s London cleaning lady (Lesley Manville) gets the haute couture itch in this adaptation of the Paul Gallico novel. If the older pandemic audience quadrant ever returns to theatres en masse, this might be catnip. (No release date at press time.)

The Gray Man

In a reminder of how Netflix is bombing the village known as the theatrical release in order to “save it”, this US$200mil (RM879mil) adaptation of the book series (assassins, global carnage, you know the drill) plays theatres for a week prior to Netflix’s streaming launch. Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans star; the directors are Marvel alums Joe Russo and Anthony Russo. (July 15 in US theatres, streaming on Netflix July 22)


On a remote California horse ranch, strange doings are afoot: people getting sucked up into the sky, and the stallions are supernaturally restless. What does writer-director Jordan Peele have in store for our collective discombobulation this time? (July 21)

Easter Sunday

Now and then, a stand-up comic manages a feature showcase that really works, the way Trainwreck did. Here’s hoping the same for Jo Koy, in this tale of a struggling Filipino American actor-comedian and his extended, crazy-making family’s Easter week. (No release date at press time.)


The long-awaited music biopic Elvis, starring Austin Butler as the King and Tom Hanks as Col Tom Parker, from Moulin Rouge! director Baz Luhrmann. Despite the fear of it being just another music biopic, we’re eager to see this take on the origins of the Mississippi-born superstar known for his string of hits like Heartbreak Hotel, Don’t Be Cruel and Hound Dog, as well as his worldwide fame and impact on music and entertainment. (June 23)

The Black Phone

After being abducted by a child killer and locked in a soundproof basement, a 13-year-old boy starts receiving calls on a disconnected phone from the killer’s previous victims. (June 23)

Minions: The Rise Of Gru

See the humble beginnings of a child with big dreams of becoming the world’s greatest supervillain. In addition to mainstays Steve Carell (as Gru) and Pierre Coffin (as the Minions), get a load of the voice cast on this thing: Taraji P. Henson, Michelle Yeoh, RZA, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Lucy Lawless, Dolph Lundgren, Russell Brand, Julie Andrews and Alan Arkin. (June 30)

Bullet Train

Action! Five assassins aboard a fast moving bullet train find out their missions have something in common. Brad Pitt beating people up while wearing a bucket hat on a train? Also on board: Sandra Bullock, Zazie Beetz, Aaron-Taylor Johnson, Michael Shannon and Bad Bunny. (July 28) – Tribune News Service

Bullet Train.Bullet Train.

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