Warning: Major spoilers ahead!
For a while there it seemed like the comic book adaptions from Marvel and DC had successfully taken over Hollywood. Recently however, a number of familiar titles have reappeared under the marquee as studios rally to maintain their positions on the industry's scoreboard. While a great number of people frown upon the various iconic movies that have been revamped with new faces, a greater portion of the movie-going population are thrilled about the few franchises that have embraced their roots and kept the stories of our favorite characters alive.
However, is our excitement justified? Let's take a look at five beloved film franchises that have returned in the last five years with stories fairly reminiscent of their source material.
1. The Pirates of the Caribbean Franchise
14 years since the first Pirates movie was released and six years since the commercially successful but critically panned On Stranger Tides, #Disney has thrown #JohnnyDepp back into the boots, hat, and drunken Keith Richards impression that made him an icon.
The fifth film in the franchise brings the series full circle, as Henry Turner — the son of Will and Elizabeth — seeks the help of Captain Jack Sparrow to find a legendary artefact that can be used to break the curse of his father, who is bound to the Flying Dutchman.
The film's directing duo, Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg, cited the original film Curse of the Black Pearl as inspiration leading into the film's production, and that is evident upon first viewing. Young Henry certainly follows in his father's footsteps, seeking Jack Sparrow's help (despite his reputation) to defeat a cursed enemy who cannot be killed as he attempts to free his father.
For the first time since the first film, Jack has not been the central focus point of the plot, yet he's still the scene-stealer we fell in love with 14 years ago, while Henry and Carina Smyth are the new Will and Elizabeth. Another parallel is the origin of his rival — this time Captain Salazar — as he seeks revenge upon #JackSparrow for vile deeds from long before the film's runtime, not unlike Captain Barbossa in the first film.
While Dead Men Tell No Tales certainly brought new elements to the table, it did rely heavily on the factors that made the first film a success.
Ridley Scott tried to recapture the magic of the original #Alien while maintaining a continuity that did #Prometheus justice, all resulting in the remake/sequel hybrid that was this year's Alien: Covenant.
Despite boasting a larger crew and better special effects, Covenant was not much more than a modernized Alien. Once again, we see the crew of the Company spaceship drawn to an unfamiliar planet by a cryptic transmission, leading to the discovery of the alien that we've nerd-gasm'd over since 1979.
For the sake of Prometheus-continuity, the transmission was sent by David, the android brilliantly portrayed by #MichaelFassbender. This second chapter in the Alien prequel trilogy reveals that David is responsible for the spread of the titular alien's species, as he believes it will progress his goal to create a perfect race.
Speculation suggests that the ill-fated Covenant is the ship that #Ripley and the crew of the Nostromo find full of alien eggs in the original film. While this has not been confirmed, it is near certain that such a full circle will be formed by the end of Ridley Scott's new trilogy, which will hopefully see a third instalment that feels a little more original.
3. Jurassic Park/World
After 14 years of radio silence, #Universal revamped its colossal dinosaur-dominated franchise with #JurassicWorld, a breakout hit for director Colin Trevorrow and mega-vehicle for #GuardiansoftheGalaxy star Chris Pratt.
In this new installment, art imitates life as the #JurassicPark brand has been revamped and the park has officially opened to the public. In a world where it is actually possible for humans to grow bored of living, breathing dinosaur exhibits, the scientists behind the park's success (led once again by B.D. Wong's Dr. Wu) have created a new breed of dinosaur known as the Indominus Rex. When the Indominus proves too powerful for its creators to handle, it's up to Chris Pratt's Owen and Bryce Dallas Howard's Claire to save the day.
Jurassic World's action-film approach may feel original in comparison to the 1993 film's homage to classic monster-movie style. But if you really enjoyed Jurassic World, then you shouldn't look too deeply into it's plot because it really is just another movie about a dinosaur park that follows the only character who knows better.
2018 will see the release of a fifth instalment, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, which will also star Pratt and Howard. It will also see the return of #JeffGoldblum's Dr. Ian Malcolm, who has not been seen onscreen since 1997's The Lost World: Jurassic Park. While a certain amount of nostalgia will definitely prove necessary, let's hope for something we have not seen in a Jurassic Park movie before.
4. James Bond
Before 2006, every #JamesBond film was a standalone adventure, regardless of how many flicks the star had put out before it. But when #DanielCraig stepped into the role for the critically-acclaimed Casino Royale, the Bond franchise seemed to have changed forever.
Casino Royale freshly rebooted the Bond franchise as it showcased the MI-6 agent's first mission as 007. In spite of the seemingly-perfect agent in every previous iteration, here we saw a flawed, human character who got hurt, made mistakes, and learned to keep on keepin' on. The sequel, Quantum of Solace — despite its criticisms — was also a first for the franchise, as it was the first film in the series to actually pick up where its predecessor left off and tell a continuing story.
But when #Skyfall came around in 2012, we started to see more aspects of the original Bond films reprise. Ben Whishaw and Naomie Harris stepped into the shoes of Q and Moneypenny, while Bond was given a handful of gadgets to use behind the wheel of his Aston Martin DB-5. In addition, Judi Dench's fresh new iteration of M was killed off, and despite being a two-time Oscar-nominated actor, Ralph Fiennes ultimately played a cardboard cutout of the Ms we saw in the original films.
Daniel Craig was reportedly involved in the writing of the most recent film #Spectre, and is partially responsible for the return to the silliness of the franchise's roots. While it remains continuity with Craig's previous films, Spectre embraces a lot of what made the series a success back in the 1960's, including a new iteration of Ernst Stavro Blofeld, Bond's only recurring antagonist and this time played by Oscar-winner #ChristophWaltz.
Now, although Craig will not be returning for the franchise's 25th film, based upon the creative direction of the last two films, it seems almost certain that the next chapter will be another classic, standalone Bond story.
5. Star Wars
Under the hands of #StarTrek director JJ Abrams and The Empire Strikes Back/Return of the Jedi screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, #Disney and Lucasfilm put the #StarWars franchise back in action with the 2015 release of Episode VII: The Force Awakens. While the film was actually praised for the emergence of the original trilogy's feel and tone (Lucasfilm had to make up for the disappointing prequel trilogy), a great many did feel that the plot was a little too similar to the first Star Wars outing.
In the 1977 Star Wars, Luke Skywalker seeks the help of #HanSolo to free #PrincessLeia from the evil Galactic Empire that kills his mentor Obi Wan Kenobi. He endeavors to recover the plans to the Death Star, which are hidden inside of R2-D2. Then, in the 2015 Star Wars, Rey seeks the help of Han Solo to aid General Leia in her fight against the evil First Order, which ultimately kills her mentor Solo. Here, the aim is to recover the map to Luke Skywalker, which is hidden inside of BB-8.
Those are very broad descriptions of the films, and they already seem very similar. While The Force Awakens did introduce a handful of original characters with interesting backgrounds, there are many more parallels to the first film.
And it does not stop there. The newly-founded Star Wars anthology series is also relying on source material. The first standalone film, #RogueOne, revolved around the Death Star plans and led straight into the original film and the next Star Wars Story will tell of the origins of Han Solo.
With Episode VIII: The Last Jedi only a few months away, fans all over the world are speculating whether the film will draw from the original film's successor, The Empire Strikes Back.
Do you agree with my analysis? Leave your opinions in the comment section below!