You've probably heard at least someone you know give the opinion, "The sequel's never better than the original", or just plainly that their favourite movie from the franchise was the first one that started it all off. So the question begs to be asked, 'What's the point in making another movie?' Prequels, sequels, reboots, where does it all lead to? The obvious answer you probably already have in your mind mind is money; but let me finish my introduction already. Jeez! There is more than one side to this dice so let me remind you about the others. Besides from the first quote, you've also probably heard someone say "I can't wait for the next one!" or "When's the next one coming out?". Hypocrites!? No, it's perfectly natural to want more of something good, but in the movie business a lot of the time they don't deliver. So, would it be better to have a one hit wonder movie where the franchise is never touched again, or have a massive multinational franchise which starts to get watered down quality content?
Let me start off by saying that I'm a Robert Downey Jr fan. No... I'm not off topic. It's actually quite relevant. He was in that movie 'Iron Man 3', the one that grossed over a billion dollars, making it one of the highest earning movies of all time. What could the secret be? Good writing?... omnipresent advertising?... that RDJ charisma, right? Personally, I think it's just because it was the last movie of the trilogy. Hear me out on this one. At the time, there had already been a rumour that the actor might want to walk away from the role and move onto better things:
“Let’s just say that the only thing I ever let go of had claw marks in it. There’s a little bit of soul reclamation going on. I feel that the first time I played Tony, I did it best. Sorry! The affinity with Tony now is: How do you sustain something? I’m not stupid, I like to play ball, I love the company, I love the character, and the business side of things, I’m not too picky about that either.”
Then there was that whole thing with RDJ threatening to quit unless the Avengers got a pay-rise... My point is, people were sad at the possibility that the man born to play this role could move on. Loads of people were going to go see it anyway, and this just added to the snowball effect. As a result it became a big deal, and from Marvel's perspective, Shane Black had just struck gold for them. From my perspective as a viewer I ask the question, "At what cost?" Initially, I wasn't a fan of Iron Man 3 because I felt it lacked quality and didn't stick to the franchises both comic and cinematic that I know and love. You heard about the infamous Mandarin controversy and then the 'All Hail the King' One Shot that kinda fixed it? Don't get me started! At that point I wondered whether this sequel was needed, or that the franchise should be carried on through the 'Avengers' series or even an eventual reboot. I'm still not quite sure about the answer myself... I'm leaning towards the latter but i'll get back to you on that.
However, before you accuse me of anything, I'm not trashing sequels, I swear there is a silver lining...somewhere. Let me talk about another franchise that you'll know of if you're an RDJ fan. Sherlock (bloody) Holmes. Specifically the 'Game of Shadows' movie which I want to start off by saying that all directors and writers should look towards this movie as an exemplar of how to make a sequel. It follows a very important cardinal rule of mine - Don't take away anything away, just keep on adding improvements and make it the best it can be. A sequel should:
- Not take anything away from the movie that has already been established. Odds are that its pretty important and even core to the franchise.
- Only make improvements. If something worked out really well in the original then stick to it and repeat or make it even better. Just don't mess it up!
'A Game of Shadows' almost followed this to the letter, what with the inclusion of more incredible cast (Jared Harris, Stephen Fry) and *SPOILER* Moriarty also fights in slow motion - I should have expected it since he is his other intellectual arch-rival, but I never saw it coming. With the exception of *SPOILER* Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams) dying very early on - everything else was so great I took it as an acceptable loss, no offense Rachel. "I can't wait for the next one!"
Anyway, the argument to the question may be still up for debate, but I do hope I shed some light on the subject and also that you found my perspective to be interesting through the looking glass.
P.S. Throughout this post I hope you picked up on the fact that the reason there was a lot of unnecessary chatter was to show sequels as a metaphor for being a little too much sometimes. It's not because I talk a lot. Just look at my reviews, short and sweet.