Friday, May 27, 2011

Ready, Set, REBOOT!

Is Hollywood Going Too Far?

The idea of the remake or the reboot in Hollywood is nothing new under the media sun. As long as there have been movies, there have been new adaptations and versions of famous stories and characters. The Maltese Falcon has been made into film adaptations plenty of times before Humphrey Bogart stepped into the role of Sam Spade, but it still sticks out as the definitive version of the story. With comic book movies becoming more and more mainstream, the studios have decided that it’s important to constantly be exposing different audiences to the characters, so reboots have become a standard when it comes to superheroes.

The most obvious one right now is the new take on Marvel Comics' wall-crawler, Spider-Man. Marc Webb, and yes that’s his real last name, is taking the franchise in a new direction with The Amazing Spider-Man, which is actually the name of the ongoing comic book series. The tone of the film seems to be, of course, much darker than the previous. It almost seems like it’s the rule of rebooting. Did the other one not end so well? Make it darker! What does that even mean? Obviously just from the promo images of the movie it’s a tale that’s very shadowy and has that ominous night feel to it, but I think it really means making the story more raw and for adult audiences.

Reboots aren’t always a failure or a bad thing. Without them we would have gotten J.J. Abram’s Star Trek or Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. Fresh takes on classic characters are something that people in the world of literature and media do love, whether they like to admit it or not. It’s when rebooting becomes more about selling action figures than story telling that angers fans. My biggest argument for this is that Warner Bros. has stated that it plans to reboot the Batman movie franchise as soon as The Dark Knight Rises is finished being released. They don’t even plan to let it have its time in the world of cinema culture before they shout: “now here’s the story a different way!”

I don’t see how they could take it into another mainstream direction. The Nolan Batman movies all try to be as realistic as possible, straying away from what the Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher did, which was trying to make them overly fantastic. Granted that Burton’s version was a little more accepted than Schumacher’s version was, but it still took the concept into the bigger than life context. The only way you could reboot the franchise again would be to make it more like the current Batman comics, which would take too much back story and suspended belief for the audiences that now believe Batman has to be super realistic.

I personally would love to do away with the whole term and just start releasing comic book movies as their own separate entities. Who says that you can’t have two different styled Batman movies come out in the same year? One could be the more PG-13 version and the other could be the R version where it borrows more from the ongoing Detective Comics title. No one is really to blame for this not happening. It’s more like the two people who both want to date each other, but don’t have the stones to do anything about it. Instead of finding out something wonderful would have happened if one of them had spoken up, they go their whole lives never knowing. It’s like that with Hollywood and the true audience for these films – comic book readers. Then again, Hollywood listened to the fans last time and Venom was forced into the third act of Spider-Man 3, and we all know what that led to . . . Reboot!

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