The Summer of Sequels
Spring 2015 is in full swing! With that comes a clear view of which direction the captains of Hollywood are steering their studios for the summer. Yet again, it seems to be that the soup of the day is sequels, reboots, and recycles. The amount of original material vying to be the next summer blockbuster pales in comparison to the number of continuations and remakes that are in the coffers.
Not that I’m really complaining. There’s a number of them that I am really looking forward to this summer. The way I see it though, each of these movies has a few obstacles to overcome if they want to hold their own. A few off my list are below:
We already know the plot: Our favorite Marvel Cinematic Universe heroes team up to defeat the bad guys, whilst setting up the scene for our next foray into superheroland. I’ve always been a sucker for superhero movies, and ever since 2008’s Iron Man, Marvel has been on fire, pumping out blockbuster after blockbuster. It seems that there’s been a trend for each new release to have to top its predecessors, both in the terms of action and destruction, as well as character crossovers. The other night I rewatched the first Avengers to catch back up before Ultron and I had to press pause and read a refresher on who did what and where and in which movie, because in my head it was all a run on montage of action and explosions. I think there in lies the danger for both Avengers 2 and the rest of the upcoming Marvel films; they run the risk of audiences becoming bored with more of the same. Although, the rumors that I’ve been hearing about Captain America: Civil War give me hope that Marvel is going to be getting back to some more story driven plots.
This is the movie that I want to be excited the most about this summer (and it probably is!), but I have major reservations. The original Jurassic Park was probably one of the most memorable movies of my childhood. If I’m being honest here, it was my love for that first trip to the Park that made me convince myself that I enjoyed the two sequels. Now, 22 years later, the carrot is being dangled again. I just read that Jurassic World is considered a direct sequel to the original film, ignoring the events of 2 & 3. There was another article that had a quote from Spielberg himself, saying that he is happy with the direction that this new film takes the franchise. I also read that this film’s director grew up with the same love for the original film as I did. But, I’ve already been lied to twice, so my expectations are low. That said, I’ll be in the theater opening weekend.
Comedy sequels have a notoriously hard time living up to their predecessors. They tend to fall into the pattern of recycling the same jokes from the first movie so that through the power of familiarity, not humor, they can weasel a few more dollars out of your wallet. Now, I’m a huge fan of the stupid, irreverent, and crass humor that is Seth MacFarlane, but he is notorious for beating a dead horse. The first Ted wrapped all the storylines up pretty tightly, but the trailers for Ted 2 seem to dole out at least a passable reason why we are revisiting the characters. If MacFarlane can find a way to not rehash his first film, then this could be one of the rare comedy sequels worth seeing.
The last two Terminator movies have lacked a key element that was a driving force in the first two: suspense. T3 played off as a straight action movie, and Terminator: Salvation was heavier on the drama then it had to be. It seems, from the trailers at least, that Genisys is shooting for the in-your-face, heavy action, summer thrill ride of a movie, instead of the paced, suspenseful action that started it all. I hope they get their formula right this time, but if not, they can always send back another machine from the future and reset the timeline, yet again.
If you pretend that MI:2 never happened, then you have a solid series that has been running strong with the same lead actor for nearly 20 years. Tom Cruise, love him or hate him, has made the role of IMF Agent Ethan Hunt his own, and his commitment to the role is one of the things that make the series one of the more enjoyable in the genera. I think the fact that there has been a different director for each film has helped maintain its freshness, even after all these years. Tom Cruise wanting to do a lot of his own stunts definitely adds to the flavor as well. As long as the writers stay away from the camp and ridiculousness that plagued the 2nd installment, I will always look forward to a new Mission: Impossible flick.
(20th Century Fox)-August 7th
It’s a morbid curiosity that fuels my desire to see this movie. The Fantastic Four is one of the Marvel properties that they sold the movie rights to back before Disney bought the company and turned Marvel’s movie studio in to a multi-billion dollar industry. It’s been only 10 years since Fox, who had bought the rights, released their oft panned first Fantastic Four movie. It would now seem that Fox is trying to grasp at straws the way Sony did with Spider-man. Add into that drama the personal and professional issues of the films director Josh Trank, and this is set up to be a train wreck that I don’t want to miss, when it hits Netflix, of course.
I recently read that Jason Statham turned down reprising his role in this series because they offered him a 3 picture deal for the same money as only one of the previous films in the series. Again, I have super mixed feelings on that. The first Transporter movie was phenomenal. From there, there was a sharp nosedive into mediocrity. Casting another actor as Frank Martin seems a bit odd, but it works for James Bond, so I guess anything is possible. This is another series that would do well to go back to its roots. The first film had a less is more feel to it that set it apart from other movies in it’s category. Hopefully they bring the story back to basics, or this movie could wind up on a rack at the dollar store very quickly.