Sade Green on reboots, rebrands and remakes…
There is a distinct lack of originality in the film industry at the moment. Perhaps that’s too harsh actually; there is a distinct lack of originality in Hollywood. The market is over run with sequels, spin-offs, reboots, rebrands, films-that-are-now-television-shows and the dreaded ‘late-sequel’. You know, that sequel that the studios have decided that we need over a decade after the first came out – it’s essentially pointless, but it makes them good money.
If we tried to devise a list of all of the pointless sequels, franchises, spin-offs and reboots, we could easily have a list of over a hundred films (way more actually), and of course, it is all a matter of opinion. Some may argue that the Rocky franchise, the Terminator franchise, The Fast and the Furious franchise, the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, the Marvel franchise, the Jurassic Park/World franchise, the Star Wars franchise, the Halloween franchise, the Friday 13th franchise, the Transformers franchise, the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise (I’ve now said franchise so much, I’m not sure it’s a real word anymore, but you see my point) could all have been reduced to three films maximum, a neat little trilogy, but when you consider a franchise such as the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it wouldn’t work at just three films. It would be a mess trying to introduce as much as they have in six short hours (although this doesn’t make popping out a couple of films a year right). However, despite the popularity of The Fast and the Furious franchise, one must question how it has turned into an eight (soon to be nine) film series – was it necessary? Did the eighth film add anything else to the series? Could Rocky’s story have been told in three films? Probably, but would it have been as good? Like I said, it’s a matter of opinion.
When it comes to one-off sequels, the same thing seems to be happening. In Hollywood, it is not often that you get a stand-alone film anymore. It may have begun as a stand-alone film, but as soon as it becomes successful, a sequel is automatically planned. Take Kick-Ass for example. The first film was outstanding. Surprising, exciting and showcasing some excellent, new talent. Kick-Ass 2 however, was the exact opposite. It lost its charm and relied on the violence that was a surprise hit in the first one. Or Kingsman: The Secret Service. Another wonderful surprise. Who expected to enjoy Colin Firth take part in several high-octane action scenes? But Kingsman: The Golden Circle was horrendous, relying too heavily on stupid cameos and criminally underusing the comic abilities of the likes of Channing Tatum; it was a bitter disappointment.
Then you have the ‘late-sequel’? The sequel that absolutely no-one asked for, that has hit the screens over a decade after the first one came out, purely in the name of money. These might be the most frustrating – these are the films that clearly indicate that there are no original ideas left. ‘No one can be bothered to write a new film, so we’ll just build on one that someone else wrote thirty years ago – I’m sure everyone will love it!’ And annoyingly they do. Otherwise it wouldn’t keep on happening.
Given the vast choice of reboots, remakes and sequels that have come out over the last twenty years, I’ve chosen a mere five, yes ONLY FIVE, to talk (or rant) about here. In no particular order, these five have riled me marginally more than others, but believe me when I say I could have listed a thousand more…
T2: Trainspotting (2017)
Directed by Danny Boyle
Category: The late-sequel
When I first read about T2, I was actually quite excited. Dubious, but excited. The original Trainspotting, also directed by Danny Boyle that came out in 1996, was disturbing and memorable in equal measure. There are iconic, incredible scenes in that first film that will be forever seared in my mind. But T2 was weak. The idea that Renton returns to Edinburgh after twenty years, having been so desperate to leave his horrible life in the first place, is hard to believe despite his issues. I can’t recall a single scene from T2 when I think about it. Overall, T2 is nowhere near as brilliant as its predecessor thus making it completely pointless.
Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man and MCU Spider-Man (2002-present)
Directed by Sam Raimi, Mark Webb and Jon Watts
Category: Reboots and Sequels
There are several issues here, almost too many to speak of. The original incarnation of Spider-Man, with Tobey Maguire, came out in 2002. It garnered two sequels that came out in 2004 and 2007, the second of which posed the first real issue. Spider-Man 3 did not fare as well as the previous films with several laughable scenes, and too many villains to properly develop any real storyline. Although more sequels were planned with Maguire as the lead, they were soon cancelled. In 2012, The Amazing Spider-Man was released with Andrew Garfield in the lead role, which in turn also lead to a sequel that came out in 2014. A third and a fourth film were planned but were cancelled when Spider-Man’s involvement in the MCU was announced. Although The Amazing Spider-Man opened to generally favourable reviews, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was a little less successful. Fast forward a measly two years, and Spider-Man had been re-cast again with Tom Holland in the lead role. Tom Holland’s first appearance as Spider-Man was in Captain America: Civil War, with a solo film, Spider-Man: Homecoming following in 2017. In a meagre fifteen years, the role of Spider-Man has been recast and rebooted three times, with several sequels and spin-offs cancelled, and more appearances by your friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man scheduled. You may have enjoyed each phase of Spider-Man but that doesn’t detract from all of the unnecessary reboots that it has undergone. Now that the franchise is in the hands of the MCU however, we can hope that it will have some continued success.
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