The 31 Best New Action Movies of 2022 That Will Get Your Pulse Racing

The 31 Best New Action Movies of 2022 That Will Get Your Pulse Racing

December 6, 2022

If you really want pure movie escapism, one of the best genres you can choose is action. Even if you go into the theater feeling bummed out, when you exit one of these films, you’ll feel ready to take down a stereotypical supervillain. Or go undercover as a spy. Or *checks this year’s list of movies* drive an ambulance really fast…?

The point is: Action movies are exciting, and sometimes they’re just what you need. This year’s new slate brings us everything from assassins on a train, to Santa Claus in a hostage situation, to a cat in knee-high boots (the Puss in Boots sequel, naturally). Plus, superheroes. As always, there are lots of superheroes. But there are also some different genres too (think: horror, comedy, historical fiction, animation, romance) and 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. From Top Gun: Maverick to the Black Panther film, here are the new action movies that came out in 2022.

Lou

Allison Janney and Jurnee Smollett star in Lou, a movie about two women searching for a hitchhiker who kidnapped Smollett’s character’s daughter. As the action-thriller unfolds, twists are revealed about everyone’s true identity. 👀

STREAM NOW ON NETFLIX

The Batman

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.

STREAM NOW ON HBO MAX

X

The “let’s make a porn 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. Plus there’s plenty of action, thanks to a creepy old couple and a gator(!).

STREAM NOW ON SHOWTIME

Everything Everywhere All at Once

Michelle Yeoh absolutely nails it as a laundromat owner 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,” but you will love both the action and Yeoh’s impeccable performance.

STREAM NOW ON PARAMOUNT+

Emancipation

Will Smith stars in Emancipation, which is based on the life of an enslaved man known as “Whipped Peter,” who was featured in a famous photograph that depicts the horrors of American slavery. The film shows Peter’s escape to freedom during the Civil War.

In select theaters now, then streaming on Apple TV+ starting December 9

Violent Night

It’s not often that you get Santa Claus featured in an action movie, but here we are. David Harbour stars as the Santa Claus—not a fake mall version—who is accidentally involved in a hostage situation and starts kicking butt.

BUY THEATER TICKETS

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

The Black Panther series continues on following the tragic death of Chadwick Boseman with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Stars include Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, and Martin Freeman.

BUY THEATER TICKETS

Top Gun: Maverick

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.

RENT NOW

Strange World

The animated movie Strange World is about a family who goes on a world-saving adventure. The voice cast includes Jake Gyllenhaal, Jaboukie Young-White, Dennis Quaid, Gabrielle Union, and Lucy Liu.

BUY THEATER TICKETS

The Woman King

In The Woman King, women 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.

BUY NOW ON AMAZON PRIME VIDEO

Avatar: The Way of Water

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.

BUY THEATER TICKETS

Devotion

The war movie Devotion stars Jonathan Majors and Glen Powell as two realnaval officers, Jesse Brown and Tom Hudner, during the Korean War. Expect action sequences involving fighter jets—on theme for Powell, who also starred in Top Gun: Maverick this year.

BUY THEATER TICKETS

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

It’s no surprise that the blockbuster murder mystery Knives Out got a sequel. Glass Onion features Kathryn Hahn, Janelle Monáe, Leslie Odom Jr., Edward Norton, Madelyn Cline, and Kate Hudson, all wrapped in a new mystery for Daniel Craig’s detective Benoit Blanc to solve. File this one under “mystery with a side of action” and get ready to watch.

STREAM NOW ON NETFLIX

Scream

The fifth film in the horror franchise (just titled Scream) really nails the “re-quel” 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 killer’s really gotta keep up their cardio chasing after all the potential victims.

STREAM NOW ON PARAMOUNT+

The Lost City

A romance novelist and her cover model are kidnapped on an island based on one of her books (long story), and adventure shenanigans ensue. Come for the fun banter between Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum, stay for the fun cameos. (No spoilers!)

STREAM NOW ON PARAMOUNT+

Ambulance

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.

STREAM NOW ON AMAZON PRIME VIDEO

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

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 yeah, and the film is basically a buddy comedy between him and Pedro Pascal, sooooo you should go watch it rn.

STREAM NOW ON STARZ

Enola Holmes 2

Millie Bobby Brown returns as Sherlock’s (Henry Cavill) younger sister in Enola Holmes 2. This time she’s running her own, newly formed detective agency and trying to come out of her older brother’s shadow. You won’t get explosions, but there are hand-to-hand combat and chase scenes.

STREAM NOW ON NETFLIX

The Northman

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.)

STREAM NOW ON AMAZON PRIME VIDEO

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

The first Marvel Cinematic Universe entry of 2022 was 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.

STREAM NOW ON DISNEY+

Jurassic World Dominion

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. Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard are also back for more dinosaur disasters.

STREAM NOW ON PEACOCK

Spiderhead

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.

STREAM NOW ON NETFLIX

The Black Phone

Full disclosure: 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.

STREAM NOW ON PEACOCK

The Princess

If you wanna watch Joey King kick all kinds of ass, *watch*. Her princess character is betrothed to a sociopath, and she says absolutely no thank you. Then she’s captured and has to save the kingdom, because of course.

STREAM NOW ON HULU

Thor: Love and Thunder

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 of Mighty Thor.

STREAM NOW ON DISNEY+

Bullet Train

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, Brian Tyree Henry, and Joey King.

RENT NOW

Nope

Jordan Peele’s latest film is more sci-fi than horror, and there’s plenty of action too. Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer star as siblings running a company that rents out horses to movie sets, but they start to notice things are going horribly, spookily wrong on their farm.

STREAM NOW ON PEACOCK

The Gray Man

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 Chris’s Knives Out co-star Ana de Armas and Bridgerton‘s Regé-Jean Page.

STREAM NOW ON NETFLIX

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

Alright, hear us out: This is an action movie in its own right given the sequences. Plus Antonio Banderas returns as the titular feline alongside co-stars Salma Hayek, Florence Pugh, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, and Olivia Colman.

In theaters December 21

Black Adam

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.

RENT NOW

Lightyear

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!

STREAM NOW ON DISNEY+

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