Tuesday, 14 October 2014

My Issues with Reboots and Superheroes

Rebooting old movies have now become a strong part of our media culture. It allows a new, often younger, audience to relive the stories that others have enjoyed but with the added bonus of better graphics and usually a much bigger budget.

My personal problem with this is simply, why? Why can’t people just appreciate the original for what it was? What’s the real point of rebooting movies? Yes, I understand that in some cases a reboot can only help it, whether it’s simply improving the story or just raising awareness to a franchise. For example, I only found out in the last few years that there was a live-action Spider-Man before Tobey Maguire in 2002. In 1977 we had Nicholas Hammond who actually did well enough to spawn a television series, The Amazing Spider-Man in 1978. But I know for a fact that the majority of my friends have heard of this. The majority of young people think of their first Spider-Man as being Tobey Maguire because those movies did so well as a reboot. Except the third movie. We don’t talk about that.

So I’ll admit, reboots do have their advantages. But the vast majority of them are pretty useless in my opinion. Yeah, they’re pretty to watch and they make my bank account roll around sobbing for me to stop spending so much going to see them, but that’s about all they do. Going back to the Spider-Man example, we now have Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man in the new series, The Amazing Spider-Man. This was only released in 2012, a pathetic 10 years after Tobey Maguire’s first Spider-Man movie.

Why are you rebooting something that isn’t even that nostalgic yet?! It makes no sense to me! The only logic I can grasp at is the fact that the new movies follow a different story arc in the comics than the 2002 movie did. Yes, even comic books reboot, in some cases they’re worse than the movie industry. We have so many types of Spider-Man comics I’ve begun to lose count. All I’ve managed to understand is Tobey Maguire was following (I use the term very loosely) the “Ultimate Spider-Man” comics, and Andrew Garfield is following (again, very loosely) the “Amazing Spider-Man” comics. To me, that’s not a valid reason to spend so much money rebooting a franchise that was already doing fine even after the disaster we call Spider-Man 3. Wait, I said we wouldn’t talk about that.

The worst thing is the movies are fantastic! The writing makes you feel much more attached to the characters, the relationships between the characters are so much more believable because the acting is better, Andrew Garfield is pretty to look at, the villain kind of has a reason to do what he’s doing (well more than Maguire's Green Goblin did anyway), the editing is sharp, the fight scenes are exciting, Spider-Man is fun and sassy like the Spidey we know and love from the comics, did I mention Andrew Garfield was pretty? Well done to you, casting director! You did well. And because of these reasons, I’m excited for further sequels. It looks like it’s going to be really good series and that annoys me to no end because the entire series didn't need to be made. We didn’t need another Spider-Man we had one. Yes, he was a bit silly but we liked him! Except in the third one, but we don’t speak of that.

So now that we’ve peaked into the little dark chest of reboots and spoken about Spider-Man, I’m going to ask a question that tends to divide fans in an almost scary way, in order to speak about the general franchise of that superhero and its possible future.

What do we think of Ben Affleck as the new Batman?

Now I hated Daredevil. It didn’t even feel like a movie to me, it was more of an extended Evanescence music video featuring below-par fight scenes, cheesy lines and graphics that made me want to gouge out my own eyes. But what I have to say about it is, it wasn’t the actors’ fault. It was the writers, the directors and it was also the comics’ fault for giving us high expectations on a movie adaption by Fox when it should have been cuddled safely into the arms of mother-Marvel. Ben Affleck isn’t that bad an actor. I liked him in Dogma; I haven’t really got anything against the poor guy.

As far as Batfleck is concerned, I’m going to withhold judgement until I see the movie. Mainly because everyone doubted Heath Ledger as the Joker in The Dark Knight, and how awesome was he?! Batfleck may surprise us… or it might be as bad as the Daredevil movie in which case I will happily flee the internet.

But when we speak about Batman as a whole I have to ask you, who on this Earth needs to have eight Batmans?! (Or is it Batmen?) It’s insane! No one needs that many people playing Batman. Doctor Who can get away with it. Doctor Who has, albeit poor, explanations for the change in actor, writer, story etc. Batman just does reboot, after reboot, after reboot with sequels in the middle of all that!

But am I excited to see another new movie with another new Batman? Hell yes I am! Batman vs. Superman (oh Superman, another character with more reboots than sense) is going to be awesome, and they're finally introducing Wonder Woman in a live action movie! Wonder Woman has had plenty of success in the animation world but we haven't seen her in live action since her TV show from 1975-79. There have been plenty of attempts at bringing her back in live action but none of them have been successful.

Now remember when I said this was the eighth Batman? We've only had two live action versions of Wonder Woman. Unfortunately this makes sense as well; Batman makes money. Wonder Woman also makes money but only for girls, which is much less money. More Batman, more money. More rants from bloggers.

Now going back to Daredevil, as I said that was a God-awful movie. It even had a spin-off, Elektra, which was the dirty gum stuck under the shoe of the Daredevil movie. However, Daredevil is being rebooted into a TV series by Netflix! And it actually looks okay! I'm excited to see this because the original was so terrible. It might make me like seeing the character again; I still enjoy the comics, but I'd like to watch the character on screen as well.

Now when the Fantastic Four movie was released in 1994, it was an indie-movie created on an almost non-existent budget that was never actually supposed to be released. Stan Lee said in 2005, before the release of the intended film starring Ioan Gruffudd, "The film was never supposed to be shown to anybody." The producer, Bernd Eichinger, needed to hold onto the rights to the movie until he had the budget needed to make it great. The 1994 movie was released anyway and they hadn't intended to make a B-Movie. But the original producer remade it for the 2005 release and that's what a reboot should be. Taking the old, figuring it out and making it correctly.

But Fantastic Four is still having another reboot set for release next year. It'll have a bigger budget, new actors and... what else, exactly? The 2005 movie really didn't have anything particularly wrong with it. It was by no means perfect, but the action was good, the effects showed the teams' powers well and it had a decent sense of humour. It even had a sequel which in terms of reviews, did even better. It even introduced the Silver Surfer, something the fans were ecstatic about at the time. So right now I really don't see the point of the 2015 reboot. Again, only time will tell if it was a good move but in my opinion this is one of the many reboots that simply doesn't need to happen.

Speaking of reboots that don't need to happen, here's a general list:
  • Annie - being released December 2014. Why? Because it's a hard knock life for the movie industry.
  • Highlander - "There can be only one." Whatever happened to that quote meaning something? After the tortuous sequels with absolutely no sense of continuity we really don't need someone to try again.
  • Gremlins - a reboot-sequel. Set 30 years after the original, so a sequel, but still being classed as a reboot for a whole new set of unnecessary sequels. Joy.
  • Beetlejuice - technically a sequel, also technically not needed. Better be good though.
  • The Mummy - set for release in 2016. While already technically a reboot, this reboot of a reboot would be set in present day with new mythology. I like the idea of present day, but don't change the mythology, that's what made the Brendan Fraser movies great!
  • Van Helsing - Starring Tom Cruise and somehow apparently sharing a universe with the reboot of The Mummy. Interesting concept but please get a better lead than Tom Cruise. Like Hugh Jackman.
  • Terminator - set for release in 2015 and still starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. A reboot with the original cast is interesting, but why mess with a classic? Didn't work out well for Robocop, just saying.
  • Tomb Raider - I liked the Angelina Jolie movies. Rumored to now star Olivia Wilde and be more of an origins story. Because we didn't just have a rebooted origins game, nope.

So while looking at all of this, I can kind of say that reboots are okay when they're justified. When the original was so awful that they're going to try again and fix all the mistakes, that admittedly shouldn't even be there if they're going to release a movie, then I can understand why there is a reboot. But when franchises are just rebooting for the sake of draining the sad amount of money left in peoples wallets after the first, or in some cases seventh, version of that franchise, I get annoyed. Do something new and interesting with these characters. Look at it from a new angle at least.

Don't just make me watch the same story with new people.

No comments:

Post a Comment