So, we all are fairly familiar with the concept of a movie franchise. It started out to tell a complex and compelling story. Now it seems to be all about milking the box office public for everything they’re worth.
In this post I’m going to discuss comic book based franchises and an attempt by another studio to reinvent themselves. I’ll be upfront; I was NEVER a comic book hero junkie. What i know of any individual franchise is essentially from friends and video media interpretation.
Arguably, DC started the whole comic book movie franchise with Batman and Superman back in the black n white TV days. The draw to their stories seems simple enough but the reinvention of both lines over the years has been chock full of hits and misses due to both direction and acting.
This summer we have the release of Wonder Woman. I paid to see it, it was worth the money and i was surprised at the overall character development and depth they managed in the time allotted. It was gritty and told the story well. It did feel a bit abbreviated and the big reveal seemed to be telegraphed about mid film.
The followup Justice League movie should be interesting as my only memories of that group were Saturday morning cartoons. I wasn’t a fan of Batman vs Superman for various reasons. The acting was likely hobbled due to the script which in turn was limited by the need to cram the whole story into a single movie. It was intended to jump start the path to Justice League and there’s only so many times you can retell origin stories for either title character.
TV series are another bright spot for superheroes. The CW has done an amazing job bringing DCs catalog of characters to life on the small screen.
The only fly in the ointment is Supergirl. Her shows seem to be written with an agenda to beat down stereotypes no matter the effect on the actual story. I had to stop watching the show because the politics were overpowering the suspension of disbelief required to really enjoy a superhero story.
Marvel has a solid franchise history and I’m mostly happy with the films they’ve produced even though they seem to think rebooting is the only way to get it right, or not. Besides the X-Men series Marvel has started building up their own stand alone heroes. Spiderman, Logan, Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, Antman and the Avengers. All decent action movies that tell their tales and feed into the larger Marvel Universe. Soon we’ll travel to Africa to experience Black Panther’s tale. The trailer looks promising but they always do.
Universal Studio’s ‘Dark Universe’
Now comes the re-re-reboot of the classic tales of darkness and horror that have been rehashed so much that there’s really nothing new to tell in the genre. Universal launched their new franchise with The Mummy starring Tom Cruise.
The movie is an attempt to retell the story of ancient evil trying to destroy the world. It’s a definite departure from the adventurous films starring Brenden Frasier being set in modern times with all the associated trappings. I missed the mix of classic adventure and comedy but understood they need to reinvent the story for a new generation.
Overall the back story feels very familiar and if you’re willing to enjoy the ride there’s room for some fun. The shift to a female lead monster is an interesting twist, the creep factor is there in many scenes but the tale feels compressed and hurried to fit the allotted time. The foreshadowing for the planned Dark Universe theme is fairly blatant in one scene but wasn’t enough to jar you out of the story.
Apparently the next installment will be the Bride of Frankenstein. Why the focus on the female leads out of the gate? Is it bowing to the political correct loons who sacrifice a good story for not offending their sensibilities? We shall see.
I enjoy franchises but as I get older it seems like Hollywood is just rehashing the same stories with a slight adjustment of characters or settings.