With the release of the rebooted and re-imagined Fantastic 4 hitting theaters tomorrow (August 7th). Let's take a look back at some of the reboots and re-imaginations of some of our favorite superheroes. Yes, think about it this way, we've been alive long enough to see some of our favorite movies get rebooted more than once. These movies are ONLY movies that have released and been rebooted in MY lifetime.
At one point, reboots were something that was being done to introduce to a new generation to classic movies in a way they would enjoy. With technological breakthroughs throughout the years in the movie industry, they are able to re-do certain movies and give them some pretty impressive upgrades, but with upgrades comes the need to tinker with the source material so it doesn't look like a carbon copy and it is at this point where things tend to go south with a lot of these reboots we've seen in the past 10 years of so. This article is going to age me a little, but I will only talk about movies that I've seen and then watched them get rebooted some time later.
Fantastic 4: 2005 and then 2015
I will be the first to admit it, this franchise needed a reboot after Fantastic 4, instead they gave us a sequel no one was really asking for in Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Unfortunately, there are a lot of negative reports coming out of production hitting the internet surrounding the casting of young actors, and most notably the casting of Michael B. Jordan as the Human Torch, who we all know is a white male in the comic books. That to me personally was the highlight of the castings for the movie. M.B.J. is a very good actor who has taken on different roles since his years on The Wire.
As I said in an article prior to this, that you can find here, the casting is starting to look like it's not the issue that everyone thought it would be, but more like the most positive part of the movie. It would be a shame if, after two tries at the original super hero team, they seem to still not be able to get it right.
Spider-Man: Toby Maguire (2002, 2004 & 2007) Andrew Garfield (2012 & 2014) Tom Holland (2016 & 2017?)
Spider-Man is probably the most confusing of them all. This character has had a total of 5 movies in 12 years, and 5 years separated the original film series lead by Toby Maguire and the Amazing Spider-Man movies that were lead by Andrew Garfield. 5 years! Think about it, the most marketable and recognizable super hero character in the Marvel roster got rebooted only 5 years from the end of the original trilogy. Many will say that it was ONLY to retain the rights to the character and keep it from falling back into the Marvel Studios plans, but after two mediocre movies in two years, Sony and Marvel worked out a deal to include Marvel's version of Spider-Man into their cinematic connected universe. Which in turn resulted in a new and younger actor playing the role, a cameo in Captain American: Civil War releasing in May of 2016, and a new standalone movie to release in 2017.
Superman: Christopher Reeves (1978, '80, '83, '87) Brandon Roth (2006) Henry Cavill (2013, '16, ??)
It's hard to believe that a superhero as well known and liked around the world as Superman has had three reboots since 1978. Yes, it is true, there are many more actors that have played the role of Superman/Clark Kent in TV shows, but the movies are what we are concentrating on. Christopher Reeve still remains the face most of us see when we think Superman movies. He played the role for four movies in nine years. After enough time had past by, they decided it was time to reintroduce Superman to the masses with Superman Returns. A fitting title for a franchise that had been dormant for some time; but, it was dissected and scrutinized by reviewers, which of course resulted in many viewers not giving the movie that much of a shot. Even with the great actor that Kevin Spacey is, it was still not enough to justify a sequel. Then, in 2013 we got Man of Steel starring, at the time, upcoming actor Henry Cavill. It was a darker look at the origin story of Superman which came under fire for having Superman ,*spoiler*, snap General Zod's neck in the climax of the movie. Let's not forget to mention the destruction and total disregard for life during that last final battle. Instead of getting it's own sequel, they've decided to give the fans what they've been asking for for years. Which of course is to see Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Batman Michael Keaton (1989 & '92) Val Kilmer (1995) George Clooney (1997) Christian Bale (2005, '08, '12) Ben Affleck (2016 x2, '17, ??)
This one is a little harder to fathom. Batman is probably the character with the most known origin story, but it has been told twice and is expected to be told again during Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice in 2016, if only in passing. The original Batman film series went from 1989 until 1997, and it took three different Batmen and a pair of nipples to conclude it. That was the most comical and energetic Batman series, which all started once Michael Keaton decided that he didn't want to dawn the cowl anymore.
Then Christopher Nolan was brought in to, of course, re-imagine the hero and his character. The result was a darker and grittier Batman with more real life scenarios and storytelling. This series by far became the most critical acclaimed superhero film series to date, revitalizing DC to look into another way to take their characters and put them on the big screen. Even though we let them slide for giving us Green Lantern.
That trilogy set the stage for Man of Steel and possible other DC movies, but for reasons I still don't understand, they went away from Christian Bale and decided to go into the direction of Ben Affleck for the Batman that will be going toe to toe with Superman in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. I will be the first to admit, I was skeptical, but after watching the trailer, I can totally see Bruce Wayne when looking at Affleck. His portrayal of Bruce/Batman is yet to be seen and we will find out more once the movie hits theaters in early 2016.
At the end of it all, the real reason behind MANY of these reboots is box office money. For every generation there will be a reboot of sorts to introduce characters to the new fans and add nostalgia to the older ones. Luckily for me, I have been able to witness all these reboots and hopefully many more to come, 'cause why would they stop there.
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