Every movie this year comes with an asterisk in my head: Not Knives Out 2. Even stuff I’m super looking forward to, like The Northman, has that asterisk in my mind, because my A #1 most anticipated film of the year is Knives Out 2. So, it is with Knives Out supremacy in mind that I approach Netflix’s sizzle reel for 2022. Yeah, yeah, yeah, they got a lot of movies. BUT LOOK, A GLIMPSE OF KNIVES OUT 2! It’s literally just a beauty shot of Greece and a lineup of the
suspects cast, and Daniel Craig returning as Benoit Blanc. I don’t care, it’s magnificent, the best thing in this entire sizzle reel.
The second-best thing in this reel is Chris Evans’s mustache, which is CLEARLY named Gary.
Netflix is making a habit of these sizzle reels, which is fine, really, it’s no different from other studios showing up to Hall H at Comic Con. And they do have a lot to show off. They have a new movie debuting every week—at that rate, the bad-to-good ratio will be HIGH—and they have a ton of movie stars, including JLo and Halle and Charlize and Kerry and BOTH Canadian Ryans and Kevin and Adam and Jonah and Chrises Evans AND Hemsworth and Jamie and Jason and Henry and Millie and and and. It goes on forever, and that’s not even touching on the A-list cast of Knives Out 2. We get it, everyone likes to work for Netflix (because they pay top tier talent massive deals up front, no awkward squabbling over the back end).
What stands out most to me in this reel are the following:
Knives Out 2 – Is Knives Out 2.
The Gray Man – Huge cast, Gary, the Russo Brothers post-Marvel, the return of Rege-Jean Page to our screens, Ryan Gosling in action mode. Lots to look forward to here.
Escape From Spiderhead – I do not know what this is, but I assume, based on Chris Hemsworth, that this is a documentary about people fleeing from the spiders in Australia.
Slumberland – They’re leaning on Jason Momoa, but this also stars Kyle Chandler. Sold.
The Mother – Jennifer Lopez stars as an assassin, directed by Niki Caro. SOLD.
Enola Holmes 2 – I really enjoyed the first film and am looking forward to a new adventure with a very likeable cast of characters. Also, Henry Cavill’s take on Sherlock has really grown on me. He’s low key great.
You People – This is from Kenya Barris, co-written by Barris and Jonah Hill. I like that beat between Hill and Eddie Murphy, it’s funny. Am now curious.
The School for Good and Evil – Blatant Harry Potter riff, but it stars Charlize Theron, Kerry Washington, and Michelle Yeoh, and is directed by Paul Feig. I will give it the benefit of the doubt.
Notably Excluded: Blonde, the Marilyn Monroe fever dream from director Andrew Dominik, starring Ana de Armas as Marilyn, and adapted from Joyce Carol Oates’ opus. The film is rumored to be NC-17, which is sort of irrelevant in a streaming landscape, but that means Blonde doesn’t really fit the “something for everyone” appeal intended by this sizzle reel. Blonde will probably have deep niche appeal to like, seven people, and I AM ONE OF THEM, SHOW ME BLONDE YOU COWARDS!
Also not pictured: Murder Mystery 2 starring Jennifer Aniston, which is currently in production for a likely 2023 release. Netflix is not going to put their two mystery franchises up against one another, that would be silly. Murder Mystery is not my bag, but it was the most-viewed Netflix original of 2019, so even though it is not Knives Out 2, it is still a marquee title for Netflix. I expect to see it in their 2023 sizzle reel.
Also, Netflix continues to build their hype machine beyond trailers, expanding their Tudum site by hiring journalists to write for an in-house “fandom engine” to keep the hype train rolling constantly. So, they really do want to compete with your Marvels and your DCs and your A24s, all production houses that have their own fandoms who consume anything with their preferred label. The difference is the scale at which all these things work. Marvel and DC, big as their movies are, make one kind of thing. A24 makes many kinds of things, but they work within a certain budget range, typically on the lower end of the spectrum, propping up the indie sector. Netflix wants to be all of this. They want to be superheroes and indie and mainstream and comedy and drama and mystery and family and grown up. They want to be the one-stop shop for your filmed entertainment. Given the broad range of stuff on offer for 2022, they’re getting close.