While 2022 was the year where the film industry found its new normal, 2023 is shaping up to be a packed year of blockbuster movies. Several highly anticipated comedies, dramas, and documentaries are making their way to the big screen, and previously-delayed action films will make their debut both in theaters and on streamers like Netflix. From Marvel epics and the latest John Wick to the return of Indiana Jones and The Hunger Games (not to mention Cocaine Bear), read on for the action films to look out for this year. (If you're looking for the best action films of 2022 that are already out, we have a guide to that too.)
Release date: January 13, 2023
Starring: Gerard Butler, Mike Colter, Daniella Pineda, Kelly Gale, Yoson An, Remi Adeleke, Tony Goldwyn and Paul Ben-Victor
Why it's worth watching: Don't let the one-word title fool you; this film about a pilot (Butler) who's forced to make a crash landing on a war-torn island is packed to the brim with heart-racing action. When his passengers are taken by hostages, Brodie has to team up with accused murderer Louis (Colter) to rescue them, get them back on the plane, and get the plane back into the air.
Release date: January 27, 2023
Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Josh Duhamel, Jennifer Coolidge, Sonia Braga, Cheech Marin, Selena Tan, and Lenny Kravitz
Why it's worth watching: J.Lo stars in this action-comedy as a bride whose destination wedding is marred by a hostage situation involving their families (including mother-in-law Jennifer Coolidge).
'Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania'
Release date: February 17, 2023
Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michelle Pfeiffer, Michael Douglas, Jonathan Majors, Kathryn Newton, William Jackson Harper, and Bill Murray
Why it's worth watching: Any Marvel film is a can't-miss at this point, but this third Ant-Man film promises both Quantum Realm adventures and the introduction to the new big bad of the MCU (played by actor-whose-face-you'll-see-everywhere-next-year/future-Oscar-winner Jonathan Majors).
Release date: February 24, 2023
Starring: Keri Russell, Margo Martindale, Ray Liotta, Alden Ehrenreich, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Jesse Tyler Ferguson Christian Convery, and Brooklynn Prince
Why it's worth watching: This irreverent action-comedy is inspired by the true story (opens in new tab) of a bear who gets into a bunch of cocaine that was dumped in the woods. Sure, the real-life bear didn't go on a coked-up killing spree, but where's the fun in that?
Release date: March 3, 2023
Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Tessa Thompson, Jonathan Majors, Florian Munteanu, Wood Harris, Selenis Leyva, and Phylicia Rashad
Why it's worth watching: Franchise star Michael B. Jordan makes his directorial debut in this threequel about the heavyweight champion son of Apollo Creed, as he goes up against his former childhood friend (played by Majors).
Release date: March 17, 2023
Starring: Adam Driver, Ariana Greenblatt, and Chloe Coleman
Why it's worth watching: Driver stars in this crash-landing film with a surprise sci-fi twist, where space pilot Mills discovers he's actually stranded on Earth...65 million years ago. To make it to the only chance at rescue, he and the only other survivor (Greenblatt) must make their way across an unknown terrain filled with dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures.
'Shazam! Fury of the Gods'
Release date: March 17, 2023
Starring: Zachary Levi, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, Rachel Zegler, Adam Brody, Ross Butler, Lucy Liu, Djimon Hounsou, and Helen Mirren
Why it's worth watching: The sequel to 2019's Shazam marks the return of foster kid Billy Batson (Angel) who transforms into his adult superhuman alter-ego (Levi).
'John Wick: Chapter 4'
Release date: March 24, 2023
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Ian McShane, Donnie Yen, Hiroyuki Sanada, Rina Sawayama, Shamier Anderson, and Lance Reddick
Why it's worth watching: If you're an action fan and haven't seen the John Wick films, be sure to catch up on the acclaimed series before the fourth film premieres.
'Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves'
Release date: March 31, 2023
Starring: Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Regé-Jean Page, Justice Smith, Sophia Lillis, Chloe Coleman, Daisy Head, and Hugh Grant
Why it's worth watching: Even if you're not familiar with the popular tabletop game (though how could you not be after Stranger Things), Chris Pine and the Duke of Hastings in a medieval action flick should be enough to make you interested.
'The Super Mario Bros. Movie'
Release date: April 7, 2023
Starring: Chris Pratt, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Day, Jack Black, Keegan Michael-Key, Seth Rogen, and Fred Armisen
Why it's worth watching: The American Mario accent aside, seeing the beloved game characters animated on the big screen is sure to be a delight (or at least reignite your childhood fear of Bowser.
'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3'
Release date: May 5, 2023
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldaña, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Elizabeth Debicki, and Will Poulter
Why it's worth watching: It's been six years and a whole Infinity War since the last standalone Guardians movie, and we're excited to return to the team's irreverent world (and excellent soundtrack).
Release date: May 12, 2023
Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Joseph Fiennes, Omari Hardwick, Gael García Bernal, Paul Raci, and Lucy Paez
Why it's worth watching: In this more-serious iteration of Jennifer Lopez, Action Star, she'll play an assassin who comes out of hiding to protect the daughter that she gave up years before.
Release date: May 19, 2023
Starring: Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Jason Momoa, Charlize Theron, Brie Larson, Alan Ritchson, Nathalie Emmanuel, Michael Rooker, Daniela Melchior, Jordana Brewster, Sung Kang, Ludacris, Cardi B, Scott Eastwood, and Rita Moreno
Why it's worth watching: The 10th Fast and Furious film (which really missed out on some great puns using Fast10) has the biggest cast of the franchise so far (Momoa! Larson! Moreno! Cardi!).
'Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse'
Release date: June 2, 2023
Starring: Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld, Jake Johnson, Oscar Isaac, Jason Schwartzman, and Issa Rae
Why it's worth watching: This highly-anticipated follow-up to the Oscar-winning film about Miles Morales' Spider-Man will see the hero teaming up with Gwen Stacy to fight an epic villain throughout the multiverse.
Release date: June 2, 2023
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Adam Bessa, Tinatin Dalakishvili, Patrick Newall, Rayna Campbell, and Hector Andreu
Why it's worth watching: The sequel to the 2020 Netflix hit Extraction is finally dropping this year, with Tyler Rake (Hemsworth) on a new mission involving one of the world’s deadliest prisons.
'Transformers: Rise of the Beasts'
Release date: June 9, 2023
Starring: Anthony Ramos, Dominique Fishback, Peter Cullen, Peter Dinklage, Pete Davidson, Michaela Jaé Rodriguez, and Michelle Yeoh
Why it's worth watching: This reboot (the first Transformers film since 2018's Bumblebee) will take place in the 90s and bring new factions of the living robot race to the big screen (as well as the return of Optimus Prime!).
'Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny'
Release date: June 30, 2023
Starring: Harrison Ford, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Antonio Banderas, Boyd Holbrook, Mads Mikkelsen, and Toby Jones
Why it's worth watching: The fifth Indiana Jones film will be both thrilling and stunning (just look at that trailer!), with Fleabag star Waller-Bridge joining the franchise.
'Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One'
Release date: July 14, 2023
Starring: Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Hayley Atwell, Vanessa Kirby, Pom Klementieff, Simon Pegg, and Ving Rhames
Why it's worth watching: The best part of any new Mission: Impossible is seeing how Cruise will one-up his old death-defying stunts. The upcoming installment also brings back Fallout stars Ferguson and Kirby in their badass roles.
Release date: July 28, 2023
Starring: Brie Larson Teyonah Parris, Iman Vellani, Zawe Ashton, Park Seo-joon, and Samuel L. Jackson
Why it's worth watching: Remember the days when the MCU only had one female Avenger? This year will see a team-up film with three female heroes, a (rumored) female villain, and a splash of eye candy with Park Seo-joon.
'Heart of Stone'
Release date: August 11, 2023
Starring: Gal Gadot, Jamie Dornan, Alia Bhatt, Sophie Okonedo, Matthias Schweighöfer, Jing Lusi and Paul Ready
Why it's worth watching: This spy thriller stars Gadot as a secret agent who's the only person that can prevent the loss of her global peacekeeping organization's most valuable and dangerous asset.
Release date: August 18, 2023
Starring: Xolo Maridueña, George Lopez, Adrianna Barraza, Harvey Guillén, Bruna Marquezine, Damián Alcázar, Belissa Escobedo, and Elpidia Carrillo
Why it's worth watching: DC's first Latino superhero movie will hit the big screen this year with the origin story of Mexican-American teenager Jaime Reyes, who gets superpowers when a blue scarab binds to his spine and gives him a powerful suit of alien armor.
Release date: August 25, 2023
Starring: Kevin Hart, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Sam Worthington, Vincent D’Onofrio, Úrsula Corberó, Billy Magnussen, Yun Jee Kim, and Jacob Batalon
Why it's worth watching: This heist flick about a crew recruited to prevent a terrorist attack on a mid-flight mission sounds thrilling. Just maybe watch it with both feet on the ground.
'Kraven the Hunter'
Release date: October 6, 2023
Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ariana DeBose, Christopher Abbot, Russell Crowe, Fred Hechinger, Alessandro Nivola, and Levi Miller
Why it's worth watching: Another Spider-Man antihero is getting their own standalone movie, with Taylor-Johnson playing a Russian nobleman who sets out to become the world's best big game hunter.
Release date: October 13, 2023
Starring: Millie Bobby Brown, Angela Bassett, Robin Wright, Ray Winstone, Nick Robinson, Brooke Carter, and Shohreh Aghdashloo
Why it's worth watching: For her latest Netflix project, the Stranger Things star will play a "damsel" who has to rescue herself when she discovers she's meant to be sacrificed to a bloodthirsty dragon.
'Dune: Part Two'
Release date: November 3, 2023
Starring: Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Dave Bautista, Stellan Skarsgård, Javier Bardem, Florence Pugh, Lea Seydoux, Austin Butler, and Christopher Walken
Why it's worth watching: The sequel to the Oscar-nominated film will continue to adapt the acclaimed sci-fi novel, this time with much more Zendaya!
Release date: November 10, 2023
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Tilda Swinton, Charles Parnell, Arliss Howard, and Sophie Charlotte
Why it's worth watching: Fight Club and Gone Girl director David Fincher is returning with his first film in years, a noir thriller starring Fassbender as an assassin without a moral compass who begins slowly losing his mind during an international manhunt.
'The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes'
Release date: November 17, 2023
Starring: Tom Blyth, Rachel Zegler, Hunter Schafer, Peter Dinklage, Jason Schwartzman, Burn Gorman, and Viola Davis
Why it's worth watching: We're returning to the world of the Hunger Games with this prequel, following an 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow (Blyth) as he mentors Lucy Gray Baird (Zeglaer), the female tribute from District 12
Release date: TBA
Starring: Sofia Boutella, Charlie Hunnam, Stuart Martin, Anthony Hopkins, Jena Malone
Why it's worth watching: Acclaimed action director Zach Snyder helms this sci-fi flick about a mysterious young woman who seeks out warriors from neighboring planets to help her defend her peaceful colony in the face of a tyrannical king.
'Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom'
Release date: December 25, 2023
Starring: Jason Momoa, Patrick Wilson, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Nicole Kidman, Indya Moore, Dolph Lundgren, Randall Park, and Ben Affleck
Why it's worth watching: Though the future of the DCEU is up in the air, we're still getting an Aquaman sequel this Christmas.
Release date: TBA
Starring: Dev Patel, Sharlto Copley
Why it's worth watching: Patel will star in his directorial debut, playing an unlikely hero and ex-con who enters the corporate world to seek revenge on the people who took everything from him.
Release date: TBA
Starring: Chloë Grace Moretz, Riz Ahmed, and Eugene Lee Yang
Why it's worth watching: Animation fans should look out for this film set in a cool techno-medieval world. A knight has been framed for a crime he didn’t commit and the only person who can prove his innocence is Nimona, a shape-shifting teen who might also be the monster he’s sworn to kill.
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.
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