Entertainment Headlines and Highlights for March 2022: Superheroes, romance novelists and teenage girls

"The Batman" centers on iconic Batman characters who haven't had the spotlight in a while, like Catwoman, the Riddler and the Penguin. Photo Courtesy Warner Brothers Pictures

March is unexpectedly quiet for movie theaters, with “The Batman” likely to make waves in the first week, and little else on the horizon. There’s a ton of video games coming out this month as well, keeping up with what has been a packed first quarter this year. Perhaps the most interesting releases are Disney’s “Moon Knight” and Paramount’s “Halo,” two ambitious streaming series coming in a little under the radar.

The Batman - March 4

It’s been nearly ten years since the last solo Batman film, though Ben Affleck kept the cowl warm for a few years in the middle. This new take on the iconic superhero, with Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne and Matt Reeves, who directed “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” at the helm, looks like it could be spectacular. The film looks stylish, with a color palette that mixes dark grays with a striking red, and the new Batman theme by composer Michael Giacchino is tense and driving. This film will have a lot of eyes on it when it releases exclusively in theaters on March 4, and I have a feeling it can stand up to expectations. 

Turning Red - March 11

"Turning Red" features Mei, but also her group of charming friends. Photo courtesy Pixar

“Turning Red” is the third Pixar film in a row to be released exclusively on Disney+, withheld from theaters. This is a shame as a blow to Pixar’s prestige, but probably a win for families who don’t have to drag the kids out to the theater. The film tells a story of a 13-year-old Chinese-Canadian girl named Mei, who discovers that strong emotions transform her into a giant red panda. She’s like the hulk, but way cuter. She has to maintain her secret while navigating high school, which is of course known for being totally chill. The film will be available exclusively on Disney+ on March 11.

Film Highlights

The Lost City” is a comedy starring Sandra Bullock as a romance novelist and Channing Tatum as the guy who models for the cover. When Bullock is kidnapped by a super-rich Daniel Radcliffe, Tatum gets his chance to play romantic hero, until he is upstaged by Brad Pitt, a real romantic hero. This is probably standard action comedy fare, with a great cast and a silly premise. That’s enough for me to check it out when it drops in theaters on March 25.

Gaming Highlights

Kirby and the Forgotten Land” is a colorful new entry in the long-running franchise that seems like a soft relaunch for the character. Traditionally, “Kirby” games have been 2D side-scrollers, but this is a much larger scale 3D platformer, with a wide arrange of abilities drawing comparison to Nintendo’s other flagship “Super Mario Odyssey,” and new systems like building up a town. Also, the game is curiously set in a post-apocalyptic world being retaken by nature. It’s been over a decade since I last played a “Kirby” game, but “Forgotten Land” has my attention.

The colorful "Kirby" aesthetic offers a unique take on a post-apocalyptic city, though it's not exactly clear how an apocalypse could happen in Kirby's world. Photo courtesy Nintendo

Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands” is a spin-off of the successful “Borderlands” franchise, lifting the shooting, looting and unique tone of that series and putting a new coat of paint on it. Instead of the science fiction wasteland of the original series, this spin-off is framed as a game of something like “Dungeons and Dragons,” where the abrasive demolitions expert Tiny Tina plays the role of the dungeon master. I’ve historically failed to connect with the franchise, but they certainly have an audience who will probably be jumping into the wonderlands when the game launches on March 25. 

There are also several significant titles for more niche audiences dropping this month, like “Gran Turismo 7” for the simulation racing crowd on March 4, “Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin” on March 18, a “Dark Souls” style game which looks completely absurd, but which I will play because of the “Final Fantasy” in the title, and surreal first-person horror game “Ghostwire: Tokyo” on March 25.

Streaming Highlights

Netflix is putting a lot of promotion behind their new movie “The Adam Project,” which stars Ryan Reynolds at the top of a star-studded cast and releases on March 11. In it, a young boy meets his future self and they do action-comedy for a couple of hours to save time. Netflix also has a second season of “Bridgerton” releasing on March 25.

Disney+ is headlined by the previously mentioned release of “Turning Red,” but also brings a remake of the 2003 Steve Martin film “Cheaper by the Dozen,” starring Gabrielle Union and Zach Braff on March 18. Last fall’s very well-received “West Side Story” remake comes to the service on March 2. “Moon Knight,” the latest series part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, premieres on March 30, and follows Oscar Issac as a man seemingly unaware that he is a superhero. This is the first of these MCU series to not be centered on existing characters from the films, and it will be interesting to see what the reception will be. 

HBO Max features several of last year's biggest films this month, with “West Side Story,” “F9,” “Dune,” “Halloween Kills” and “King Richard” all arriving on the platform.

Paramount+ brings the science fiction with the second season of its “Star Trek: The Next Generation” sequel series “Star Trek Picard” on March 3, and then its adaptation of the video game series “Halo” on March 25. Film and television adaptations of “Halo” have been in various stages of development since 2005, and this is the first to ever reach release. The story of “Halo” the series is removed from the games, featuring familiar characters and concepts, but not taking place in that canon. I’m really hoping it's good.