The 24 Best Action Movies of 2022 (So Far)

A handful of highly anticipated action flicks are finally coming out this year.

action movies
(Image credit: Alamy)

Whatever genre you love, from comedy to horror to documentaries, 2022 is set to be a fun year, as studios catching up on pandemic delays finally release the films we've been waiting as long as two or three years for. 2022's slate of action films is especially exciting, as several beloved franchises and star directors return with new installments of our favorite movies. From John Wick to Thor to Top Gun, here's your guide to the best action movies of 2022 (so far).

'Ambulance'

Release date: February 18, 2022

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Eiza González, Garret Dillahunt, Keir O'Donnell, Moses Ingram, Jose Pablo Cantillo, and Kayli Tran

Why it's worth watching: Transformers director Michael Bay is always good for a great action sequence, and his newest film has some intense stakes. A vet (Mateen) who needs a fortune for his wife's surgery joins in on his friend's (Gyllenhaal) bank robbery. The pair end up hijacking an ambulance and taking an EMT (González) and a critically-injured cop as hostages.

'THe Adam Project'

Release date: February 18, 2022

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Walker Scobell, Mark Ruffalo, Jennifer Garner, Catherine Keener, and Zoe Saldaña

Why it's worth watching: This is both a fun sci-fi adventure and an adorable situation: what happens when grown, time-traveling Ryan Reynolds needs the help of his younger self?

'The Batman'

Release date: March 4, 2022

Starring: Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Andy Serkis, Jeffrey Wright, Barry Keoghan, Peter Sarsgaard, John Turturro, Paul Dano, and Colin Farrell

Why it's worth watching: When we heard that Pattinson would be playing the Caped Crusader, everyone wondered what kind of Batman film we would get. The trailers have shown a dark, brutal story featuring several famous DC villains (including Kravitz as Catwoman), and we can't be more excited.

'The Lost City'

Release date: March 19, 2022

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Channing Tatum, Daniel Radcliffe, Patti Harrison, Oscar Nunez, and Da'Vine Joy Randolph

Why it's worth watching: It's great when a high-paced action film is also hilarious, and this movie has us excited on both counts. Bullock plays reclusive romance novelist who gets swept up in a kidnapping attempt in the jungle while on a book tour with her cover model (Tatum).

'RRR'

Release date: March 24, 2022

Starring: N. T. Rama Rao Jr., Ram Charan, Twinkle Sharma, Ajay Devgn, Alia Bhatt, Shriya Saran, and Samuthirakani

Why it's worth watching: This maximalist film has everything from extravagant musical numbers to epic, mile-a-minute battles.

'Everything Everywhere All At Once'

Release date: March 25, 2022

Starring: Michelle Yeoh, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ke Huy Quan, James Hong, Stephanie Hsu, Andy Le, Brian Le, Harry Shum, Jr., and Jenny Slate

Why it's worth watching: Michelle Yeoh accessing the memories of infinite versions of herself and kicking ass across the multiverse? Sign me up.

'The Northman'

Release date: April 22, 2022

Starring: Alexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, Ethan Hawke, Claes Bang, Anna Taylor-Joy, Willem Dafoe, and Björk

Why it's worth watching: An exiled Viking prince vows revenge on the uncle who took everything from him in this gritty saga.

'Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness'

Release date: May 6, 2022

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong,  Chiwetel Ejiofor, Xochitl Gomez, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Patrick Stewart

Why it's worth watching: Marvel hero Doctor Strange is finally getting his standalone sequel, with tons of multiverse mayhem and an assist from post-WandaVision Scarlet Witch.

'The Roundup'

Release date: May 20, 2022

Starring: Ma Dong-seok (aka Don Lee), Sukku Son, Choi Gwi-hwa, Ha-jun, and Park Ji-young

Why it's worth watching: A sequel to a beloved action thriller (2017's The Outlaws), this Korean film sees The Eternals' Ma Dong-seok reprising his role as the "Beast Cop" Ma Seok-do.

'Top Gun: Maverick'

Release date: May 27, 2022

Starring: Tom Cruise, Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller, Ed Harris, Val Kilmer, Glen Powell, Jay Ellis, Monica Barbaro, and Jon Hamm

Why it's worth watching: Thirty years after the original film, the Top Gun sequel shows Maverick (Cruise) passing on his wisdom and training a new cast of pilots.

'Jurassic World: Dominion'

Release date: June 10, 2022

Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Daniella Pineda, Kristoffer Polaha, Omar Sy, BD Wong, Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum, and Laura Dern

Why it's worth watching: Dinosaur fans, get ready. The Jurassic World series is finally coming. back, three years after a cliffhanger that saw dinosaurs running wild outside of the park. The upcoming film also brings back Neill, Goldblum, and Dern, reprising their roles from the original Jurassic Park films.

'Lightyear'

Release date: June 17, 2022

Starring: Chris Evans, Taika Waititi, Keke Palmer, Uzo Aduba, Efren Ramirez, Peter Sohn, and James Brolin

Why it's worth watching: Toy Story fans, this prequel will show what Buzz Lightyear was getting up to before he met Woody and the rest of Andy's toys.

'The Princess'

Release date: July 1, 2022

Starring: Joey King, Dominic Cooper, Alex Reid, Katelyn Rose Downey, Veronica Ngo, Ivo Arakov, and Mitko Angelov

Why it's worth watching: King plays a warrior princess who refuses to be married off to a sadistic royal (Cooper) in this action-comedy.

'Thor: Love and Thunder'

Release date: July 8, 2022

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Taika Waititi, Tessa Thompson, Christian Bale, Karen Gillan, and Russell Crowe

Why it's worth watching: The next Thor standalone movie is bringing back the God of Asgard's love interest from the first two films, Jane Foster (Portman). However, in wild Taika Waititi fashion, Foster won't be standing on the sidelines of the action. She'll reportedly become the first female Thor, picking up the hammer when the original (Hemsworth) becomes unworthy.

'Prey'

Release date: July 21, 2022

Starring: Amber Midthunder, Dakota Beavers, Dane DiLiegro, Michelle Thrush, Stormee Kipp, Julian Black Antelope, and Bennett Taylor

Why it's worth watching: This inventive prequel from the Predator franchise follows Naru, a Comanche warrio living in 1719 who has to protect her people from Buffalo-hunting fur traders and a vicious alien that hunts humans for sport.

'The Gray Man'

Release date: July 22, 2022

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans, Regé-Jean Page, Ana de Armas, Jessica Henwick, Julia Butters, Alfre Woodard, Billy Bob Thornton

Why it's worth watching: This spy film from the Avengers-directing Russo Brothers pits the CIA's top spy gone rogue (Gosling) against his sadistic former colleague (Chris Evans in a mustache) after the spy learns a dark secret about the agency. (Also the return of Regé-Jean Page!!!)

'Bullet Train'

Release date: August 5, 2022

Starring: Brad Pitt, Sandra Bullock, Joey King, Andrew Koji, Brian Tyree Henry, Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Hiroyuki Sanada, and Bad Bunny

Why it's worth watching: This new film from Atomic Blonde director David Leitch takes place on the titular high-speed train in Tokyo, following five assassins who realize their assigned targets are related. If you want to see Brad Pitt and Bad Bunny in a no-holds-barred fight, put this release on your calendar.

'Beast'

Release date: August 19, 2022

Starring: Idris Elba, Iyana Halley, Leah Sava Jeffries, and Sharlto Copley

Why it's worth watching: While on a trip to Africa, a recently-widowed man (Elba) and his two daughters get trapped in the crosshairs of a mysterious, extra-vicious lion.

'The Woman King'

Release date: September 16, 2022

Starring: Viola Davis, Lashana Lynch, John Boyega, Sheila Atim, Adrienne Warren, Thuso Mbedu, Jayme Lawson, and Jordan Bolger

Why it's worth watching: This historical epic from The Old Guard director Gina Prince-Bythewood is inspired by The Kingdom of Dahomey, one of the most powerful states of Africa in the 18th and 19th centuries, which was protected by female warriors.

'The School for Good and Evil'

Release date: TBD

Starring: Charlize Theron, Kerry Washington, Michelle Yeoh, Sophie Anne Caruso, Sofia Wylie, Rachel Bloom, Laurence Fishburne, and Ben Kinglsey

Why it's worth watching: This fantasy adaptation with a seriously stacked cast takes place in a world where fairy tales are history, at a magical school where kids learn to be heroes or villains.

'Black Adam'

Release date: October 21, 2022

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Pierce Bronson, Sarah Shahi, Noah Centineo, Aldis Hodge, Quintessa Swindell, and Chaim Jeraffi

Why it's worth watching: Our favorite action hero (a.k.a. The Rock) is finally becoming an official superhero, playing an ancient anti-hero with powers from the Egyptian gods.

'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever' 

Release date: November 11, 2022

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Daniel Kaaluya, Winston Duke, Martin Freeman, Dominique Thorne, Michaela Coel, and Angela Bassett

Why it's worth watching: Most of the plot details of the Black Panther sequel have been kept under wraps following Chadwick Boseman's untimely death. With the absence of T'Challa, we're assuming that the women of Wakanda, including his genius sister Shuri (Wright) and new addition Ironheart (Thorne), will lead the film.

'Strange World'

Release date: November 23, 2022

Starring: Jake Gyllenhall and Alan Tudyk

Why it's worth watching: This new Disney animated film follows a family of adventurers as they explore a new world filled with mysterious creatures.

'Avatar: The Way of Water'

Release date: October 18, 2022

Starring: Charlize Theron, Kerry Washington, Michelle Yeoh, Sophie Anne Caruso, Sofia Wylie, Rachel Bloom, Laurence Fishburne, and Ben Kinglsey

Why it's worth watching: This fantasy adaptation with a seriously stacked cast takes place in a world where fairy tales are history, at a magical school where kids learn to be heroes or villains.

Quinci LeGardye
Contributing Culture Editor

Quinci LeGardye is a Contributing Culture Editor who covers TV, movies, Korean entertainment, books, and pop culture. When she isn’t writing or checking Twitter, she’s probably watching the latest K-drama or giving a concert performance in her car.