It’s a common complaint nowadays for people to complain about Hollywood’s insistence on franchise filmmaking, usually around the time the summer season starts or when a comic book movie is coming out in the fall. It’s a tactic to get views, the peak of clickbait culture.
Yes, there is a lot of franchises in the world and it would be nice to see studios back up lower budgeted movies from time to time, but the lower rung of cinema is still flourishing with the amount of outlets for media there are these days. That doesn’t negate the fact that there is still plenty of franchises that are just completely worthless and should not be sucking audiences dry every time they disgrace cinema with their presence.
Some have been skulking around for decades, just embarrassing their forefathers with each new entry. Some are new and just didn’t deserve the additional time in the sun. Others are once promising franchises that have just fallen off after too much time. The one thing that connects all of these franchises is that the last entry in each of them has not done much to argue for their continued existence.
How did a once promising franchise like this go completely off the rails? It could have done good for itself if it had changed with the times or had a studio head that wasn’t a complete halfwit that tried to take out all the comic book elements of the comic book property he had. The first two movies in the series, helmed by Bryan Singer, are landmarks in the progression of comic book cinema.
But right after that, they went off the rails with the Brett Ratner helmed X-Men: The Stand. They could have rebounded but they went even further down the bowels of hell with one of the worst movies ever made, X-Men Origins: Wolverine. A truly abysmal piece of crap that represents some of the worst aspects of blockbuster cinema and a true low point for the comic book genre. Any arguments against comic books could be aimed right at this immense piece of crap.
Then a little miracle happened with X-Men: First Class, as it represented the best in the series by a big margin. It’s one of the best comic book movies ever, and it is a blast of fresh air after a few years of stagnation. Hiring Matthew Vaughn was a great idea, one that would make any movie better. Bringing back Bryan Singer for the next outing would seem like a good idea, right? Well, it wasn’t the worst idea, but Days of Future Past was a slight step down in execution and style. Singer seemingly hasn’t moved past the early 2000’s days of style, with everything being less colorful.
This would all be done in an even worse way with Apocalypse, a truly mediocre movie that should put the nail in Singers comic book coffin and should be a sign that the series needs to change. But there’s no real reason to think that it will. The next one doesn’t seem that much more promising, with a rookie filmmaker taking on the reins. What has done this series in more than the decline in quality and lack of progression with the times is the solo movies to have come out of them.
For all intents at being a solo movie, Origins was just another X-Men movie filled to the brim with mutants that just so happened to focus on Wolverine. But when we get to The Wolverine, we get a true solo outing that stands out. It feels different and fresh in a way that the group movies never have. Multiply that for Logan, and you get possibly the best comic book movie ever. A singular work that has no worries about fitting in to something else. It just is and it’s all the better for it.
Then there’s Deadpool, a movie that is nothing if not aware of the rest of the movies issues. It’s brash and violent and foul and just juvenile. It never takes itself seriously, drowning in self importance the way the other movies did.
Watching these solo movies showed us all that the group movies never focused on the groups well enough, so they just stagnated with repetitive stories with Wolverine/Magneto/Xavier and that they never allowed themselves to feel grow. They were stuck in the past and they lacked personality (minus Vaughn’s entry). So the X-Men movies need to stop and we need to just stick with the solo outing, allowing them to be freer in all regards.
A franchise that just never connected in any real way, it’s lasted this long for two reasons. One, kids love the toys. Two, John Lasseter is boss and he loves cars. Those two elements converge into make a series that never overcomes it’s cheap, thrown together feeling. A feeling that manages to feel sincere and cloyingly cynical.
It was the first chink in the armor for the previously untouchable Pixar, and it signaled that a serious downswing for them was imminent. It could have been a bump in the road for them after a string of unparalleled winning. Especially when the next 4 movies they put would be classics, arguably the best they’ve ever done. But the cynical and marketing mandated sequel would arrive into theaters and Pixar hasn’t been the same since.
The spark has gone, with a momentary burst of creativity with Inside Out. Cars 3 limped along to the finish line this year to hopefully put an end to franchise, but who knows what Pixar will do when the toy sales don’t fatten their wallets in a certain fiscal quarter. Cars and Cars 3 are bland but fine. Nothing out of the ordinary cartoon fare.
Would have fit right in with early Dreamworks output. Cars 2 though is one of the worst cartoons ever made, and an absolute blight on Pixar. Cars and Cars 3 are just forgettable and cliche ridded sports movies that put no thought into any world building elements. Which is weird, because they are usually so good with world building. But in these movies it’s just not though through at all, leaving the viewer (of an older age) to put the world together in their mind, and it’s a nightmare. Cars 2 though is a nightmare of miscalculations at every step of the way.
It’s almost immediately wrong too, as it starts off signaling that it’s a spy movie, then shifts into becoming obviously a movie about Mater. From there it’s just the most annoying and screeching example of kids movie misery. That Pixar can do any of these damn movies, let alone the garbage fire that is 2, is heart wrenching.
These movies need to stop because we need some sort of proof that Pixar is trying to right the ship. Otherwise, every movie they make will always be side eyed until it is actually seen. Especially when it’s a 4th Toy Story movie, which is just crazy in a post Cars 2 world, especially in light of the perfection that is Toy Story 3. So if we never see these mediocre movies ever again, the world will be better off.
8. The Mummy
Here’s a little ditty that someone needed to bestow upon Universal before they started in on this Dark Universe thing they wanna get going. Their old black and white Mummy movies are not good. It doesn’t sound right to think about, but it’s true. There’s a reason why the Brendan Frazier movie from 1999 wasn’t so resoundingly booed out of theaters. There was no good will to burn, especially in changing the genre so completely. Any good will the Mummy has now is thanks to the Frazier ones.
So the recent entry this year that is a reboot meant to kickstart a shared universe may not have been the best idea. If you want to kickstart a gigantic shared universe of Universal Horror monsters, maybe don’t get started on the least liked one. That they pitched it as a big budget horror epic clearly confused people, as it was marketed as a clear action movie. Hiring Tom Cruise will do that, as there’s clearly no room for anything other than bombastic action. So the movie came out confused, as it wants to clearly be both things but just can’t. Neither angle works well.
It all just falls apart under the weight of all the crap it’s trying to be on it’s shoulders. It all just goes to show how wrong this idea was from the jump. These characters are not all meant to anchor action movies. It worked once with Frazier, and his sequels saw a steep decline. Going with a 9 figure budget isn’t the best idea for these movies, as the scale necessary to justify these costs don’t work well within a horror frame work.
People wanna come to these movies because of the monster, not Tom Cruise. So while they may be able to get the rest of the Dark Universe right, we just saw that we don’t need another Mummy movie from Universal. The insistence on going big doesn’t work and we’ve seen from the older movies that straight horror won’t work. Universal doesn’t get it, so let’s put it to rest.
7. Resident Evil
It’s so weird that this has lasted as long as it did, because there was never a good entry to be found. It started off bad and just got worse. The first one was just a bad adaptation of a video game that never managed to justify it’s own existence. Fine. But to get to the point we did this year where the 7th entry came out is just stunning.
Filled with lame action and ugly visuals, it has the sheen of a big budget action franchise but none of the charms. They look well made, but they aren’t. It’s like every bad element of modern blockbusters was rolled into one and they kept going. Somehow they tricked certain audiences into seeing them enough to last this long, but there’s nothing in them. Just interchangeable nonsense.
Paul WS Anderson is not a good director by any stretch, but he has done some good in his career. Mortal Kombat, Event Horizon, and Death Race are all good movies. These are not, not by a long stretch, and they are a good argument for Andersons expulsion from the movie making game. They claim the last one was the final one, but that’s never a guarantee.
Resident Evil has been so fundamentally misunderstood and horribly executed, that there’s no reason to expect any good to come from another movie. Rumor has it that James Wan is producing a reboot, but even if that comes to fruition, only his presence as a director could make it worthwhile. So just file this under “go away” and move onto something else.
This is similar in many respects to Resident Evil in terms of aesthetics, storytelling muddiness and a shared nepotistically inclined casting call. Both ulrta shiny fantasy action movies with over the top action that never impresses, all done with floaty and phony physics. A mythology that is just overly convoluted and uninteresting.
Casting Kate Beckinsale to play a role that ignores all of the good qualities of her talent prior to being shackled to Len Wiseman is a damn shame, in a role that just needs her to glower and fit into a tight leather outfit. These are just mindless and vacuous movies. It would be one thing if they helped the horror genre in any way, help more get made or pushed studios to take chances. But they didn’t. They would come and go.
Dare anyone to explain each movie to you, you would be met with silence. You can’t figure which is which because they just bleed together in a mix of nothing. This one wasn’t promised to be the end, but it didn’t do well at the box office. So let’s hope that the Studio learned a lesson and puts this damnable franchise in a box and forgets where the left it.