In a previous post, I discussed the implications of DC’s “The New 52″ reboot of all of its characters and storylines. The New 52 is certainly an ambitious move, but reboots aren’t just prevalent in the world of comics. Over the last decade, we’ve seen a whole slew of franchises rebooted for films – in this blog post, I’ll take a look at some of those and then look forward at the reboots to come.
The Incredible Hulk
Released to mixed reviews in 2003, The Hulk was more or less a box office flop. However, because of the Hulk’s status as a cultural icon and the success of the merchandising campaign, Marvel decided to give it one more go in 2008 with The Incredible Hulk. The reimagination of the story proved successful both financially and critically – the film did very well in theaters and received mostly positive reviews.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
After the release of the Planet of the Apes remake in 2001, the franchise went on hiatus. While the film was financially successful, it was nearly universally panned by critics. The remake was unable to recapture the magic of the original 1968 version, perhaps because it claimed to be the same story with different characters – falling somewhere on the uneasy line between remake and reboot. However, 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes created its own origin story for the Planet of the Apes franchise and firmly placed itself outside of the traditional continuity of the series. The new creative freedom and direction created a film that was a critical success and a blockbuster.
The Punisher: War Zone
Not all reboots guarantee success, however. The Punisher, a Marvel property who has struggled to have a successful cinematic debut since his arrival on the silver screen, was unable to change his theatrical reception even after a rebooted film. Punisher: War Zone was supposed to create the first successful Punisher film after the disastrous The Punisher of 2004.
Batman is a franchise that has always done fairly well on the big screen. However, after an unsuccessful outing for the caped crusader with Batman & Robin, the franchise received a darker, grittier, and more realistic realization with 2005’s Batman Begins, depicting a new story for Bruce Wayne in the far east as well as in Gotham. The film was a smash hit both at the box office and in the eyes of critics. It was followed up by the equally successful The Dark Knight in 2008, and will conclude with the highly anticipated The Dark Knight Rises in 2012.
What’s to Come
As I just mentioned, Batman will conclude in 2012 with The Dark Knight Rises. That doesn’t mean we don’t have any more interesting reboots to look forward to, though. Here are a few upcoming reboots that you should keep an eye out for:
The Amazing Spider-Man
After the success of the previous run of Spider-Man films, everyone’s friendly neighborhood Spiderman is returning in 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man (trailer featured above). The film is a reboot of the franchise and will focus on Peter Parker’s earlier years as a developing super hero. The recent Spider-Man films have been very popular, so it will be interesting to see how the reboot fares against its predecessors.
Man of Steel
As an extension of The New 52, Clark Kent is finally making his way back to the box office with Man of Steel in 2013. From what we know so far, it seems to be an origin story and part of the continuity of the DC reboot or, at the very least, inspired by it.
While we don’t have all of the information on this one, Prometheus began as Alien 5. What has spawned out of that is something that no one can predict, but Scott has mentioned that it came from the mythos of Alien. Whether it’s a re-imagining of the world or a story that merely has ties to it, Prometheus is sure to be an intriguing film. I’m not sure whether it can be classified as a reboot or simply a spin-off yet, but it seems to have the makings of both simultaneously.
Similarly shrouded in mystery, no one knows too much about this one. It won’t be a simple remake but will it just be a prequel or a sequel, or an entire re-imagining of the Blade Runner universe? Scott seems to be keeping this one under wraps similarly to Prometheus. We can only wait and see.
While this isn’t a complete list, it does highlight some of the more interesting reboots. Let me know what reboots you’ve enjoyed recently and what you’re looking forward to in the future.