10 summer blockbusters we're excited for

Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick
Tom Cruise's Top Gun: Maverick has been the big hit of the summer, but what else is playing? (Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

Summer blockbuster season is back! After two years of delayed movies and straight-to-streaming for many titles, the 2022 summer blockbuster season has been the closest thing to a normal in years. We've already had some big movies comes out and there are a number still on the way.

Big is what we want in our summer blockbusters. Whether it’s the number of explosions, the amount of action, big laughs or a movie’s hype, the bigger the better in most cases. Though, sometimes it’s nice to find some quieter alternatives to balance it all out.

You can keep track of all of everything that's coming out this year, with WTW's guide to new movies in 2022, but here are the 10 summer blockbusters that we’re most looking forward to.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Rachel McAdams, Benedict Cumberbatch and Xochitl Gomez stand in a doorway

Rachel McAdams, Benedict Cumberbatch and Xochitl Gomez in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Since Robert Downey Jr. declared he was Iron Man, Marvel movies have dominated the blockbuster landscape. That tradition continued in 2022, first with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

Though we’ve seen plenty of Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange in Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: No Way Home, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is the character’s first solo movie since he debuted in 2016. The movie was received warmly by critics — read What to Watch's Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness review right here — and its share of cheer-inducing moments for fans, plus some intriguing post-credit scenes.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is now available to stream on Disney Plus.

Top Gun: Maverick

Tom Cruise in a plane's cockpit taking off from a carrier ship

Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick (Image credit: Paramount)

Movie fans the world over were thrilled to fly back into the "Danger Zone." Thirty-six years after Top Gun, Tom Cruise delivered a sequel with Top Gun: Maverick and it has been the big hit of the summer so far.

What to Watch gave Top Gun: Maverick five stars in our review, with many other critics doing the same — the movie has a 97% "Certified Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie has become Cruise's most successful at the box office, earning more than $1.1 billion dollars worldwide.

The movie has proven to be the perfect mix of nostalgia for fans of the original with the inclusion of Kenny Loggins’ classic theme song and the return of beloved characters like Val Kilmer's Iceman, plus a new cast of characters, including Miles Teller's Rooster, Monica Barbaro's Phoenix, Glenn Powell's Hangman and Jennifer Connelly's Penny. Lady Gaga also delivered a new original song for the movie.

Top Gun: Maverick is still playing in movie theaters worldwide.

Jurassic World: Dominion

Jeff Goldblum, Sam Neill and Laura Dern in Jurassic World: Dominion

Jeff Goldblum, Sam Neill and Laura Dern in Jurassic World: Dominion (Image credit: Universal Pictures)

It’s always a blast to see dinosaurs stomping around and causing chaos in the Jurassic Park/Jurassic World movies, but let’s be honest, the biggest draw here is that the original Jurassic Park trio of Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum — back together for the first time since the original 1993 movie.

Read What to Watch's Jurassic World: Dominion review right here.

Whatever the reason, fans have turned out for the dinosaur sequel to the tune of more than $800 million at the worldwide box office, with the chance for more as the movie is still playing in theaters.



Chris Evans voices Buzz Lightyear in Lightyear (Image credit: Disney)

Pixar made its return to movie theaters after Soul, Luca and Turning Red all played exclusively on Disney Plus, doing so with one of the animation studios’ most memorable characters — Buzz Lightyear.

This isn’t the Buzz Lightyear that we all remember from Toy Story. Lightyear is an action adventure story that depicts Buzz as an actual space ranger on a mission that brings him face to face with his arch enemy Zurg and takes him to infinity and beyond. (If that's a bit confusing, longtime Pixar figure Pete Docter said that Lightyear is essentially the movie that the Buzz Lightyear toy in Toy Story would have been based on.)

Chris Evans voices Buzz in this new movie and is joined in the voice cast by Keke Palmer, Taika Waititi, Uzo Aduba and James Brolin.

Lightyear is currently playing exclusively in movie theaters.

Thor: Love and Thunder

Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth in Thor: Love and Thunder

Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth in Thor: Love and Thunder (Image credit: Jasin Boland/Marvel Studios)

Marvel fans are getting to double-dip this summer on the big screen (not to mention Ms. Marvel on Disney Plus), as Chris Hemsworth’s Thor is back for his fourth standalone movie, Thor: Love and Thunder.

Thor is proving mighty once again, with Love and Thunder receiving a thumbs up from most —check out What to Watch's Thor: Love and Thunder review — and dominating the box office. Fans are particularly enjoying a fun villain turn from Christian Bale as Gorr the God Butcher and the return of Natalie Portman's Jane Foster, now with the power of the Mighty Thor.

Thor: Love and Thunder is now playing exclusively in movie theaters.

Nope — July 22 

Nope Steven Yeun

Steven Yeun in Nope (Image credit: Universal Pictures)

It won’t be all sequels and spinoffs this summer, we’re also getting a handful of exciting original movies. One comes from the new thrill master, Jordan Peele.

After wowing audiences with both Get Out and Us, Nope is Peele’s third directing job. Nope will reunite Peele with his Get Out leading man Daniel Kaluuya, plus Keke Palmer and Steven Yeun. We've gotten more and more clues as to what Nope is going to be about — some menacing aliens — but you can bet that Peele is going to have a few surprises up his sleeve.

History tells us we should trust Jordan Peele’s vision, so personally, I’m happy to wait to see how it all unfolds.

Bullet Train — August 5 

Bullet Train Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt in Bullet Train (Image credit: Columbia Pictures)

What happens when you put Brad Pitt, Bad Bunny and the director of Deadpool 2 on a high-speed train in Japan? We’re going to find out in Bullet Train, a star-studded action thriller.

Based on a novel by Kôtarô Isaka, Bullet Train finds five assassins aboard the titular mode of transportation who find out that all of their missions have something in common. Also along for the ride are Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Michael Shannon and Sandra Bullock. The trailer makes the movie look like an absolute blast and it's not hard to imagine this becoming one of the must-see summer movies.

Summer blockbuster counter programming

Summer may be defined by the big popcorn flicks we love, but as with any healthy diet, we need a balance to properly sustain us. Thankfully there are some fantastic alternative options for movie fans this year. 

Downton Abbey: A New Era

Downton Abbey: A New Era Hugh Bonneville Michelle Dockery

(Image credit: Focus Features)

Take another trip to Downton, as the popular TV series' latest movie. Amid all the superheroes and explosions that the summer blockbuster season typically provides, the Dowager Countess’ (Maggie Smith) sharp wit still holds its own.

What to Watch's Downton Abbey: A New Era review highlights how A New Era is just about everything that long-time fans of the show could have wanted.

If you haven't seen it yet, Downton Abbey: A New Era is now available for streaming.


Elvis movie logo

(Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

The king is back, as Baz Luhrmann's biopic of Elvis Presley, appropriately and simply titled Elvis, is playing right now in movie theaters. Austin Butler stars as the legendary music star with Tom Hanks on board as Presley’s manager Colonel Tom Parker.

Luhrmann is known for taking big, stylized swings with his movies and he did so again with Elvis. What to Watch's Elvis review makes the case it works, particularly thanks to Butler's performance and the incredible soundtrack.

Find out how to watch Elvis right now and learn when the movie is going to be coming to streaming.

Where the Crawdads Sing — July 15 

Where the Crawdads Sing movie

Daisy Edgar-Jones and David Strathairn in Where the Crawdads Sing (Image credit: Sony Pictures)

Delia Owens’ bestselling phenomenon Where the Crawdads Sing is here for its big-screen debut. Can it repeat its print success at the box office?

If you’re one of the handful of people who haven’t read Owens’ book, the story takes place in the 1950s/60s in North Carolina and follows Kya, a young woman who has grown up alone in the marshlands after being abandoned by her family. However, when a local man she knew is found murdered, the town sees the mysterious "Marsh Girl" as the prime suspect.

Daisy Edgar-Jones, who shot to fame after her appearance in romantic drama Normal People and the indie movie Fresh, stars as Kya. You can read What to Watch's Where the Crawdads Sing review right here.

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Peaky Blinders, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Saturday Night Live, Only Murders in the Building and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd.