I’m not always big on movie franchises. Some manage to reel me in, but most don’t. However, this year there are several series sequels that I’m wholly on board with. Coming to a computer near you: A list of franchise sequels Max actually wants to see!
The Hangover Part III, May 23
This time, there’s no wedding. No bachelor party. What could go wrong, right? But when the Wolfpack hits the road, all bets are off. (Warner Bros.)
I went to see the first movie in this franchise at a midnight showing after a long day of classes, so I was properly out of my mind by the time I was watching it (there may or may not have been alcohol involved). My state of mind, combined with the film’s fun premise, led to me having a pretty good time.
The hilarity of this franchise thrives on its ability to throw increasingly ridiculous situations at its characters, so when the sequel came out following the exact same formula as the first, much of the magic had worn off. Instead of going with the pattern of oneupmanship – through ever-increasing depraved mania – of the original, the writers chose to plateau.
This time around, they’ve promised a completely different set up, and based on the trailer it looks like they’ve followed through. We’re presented with more of a road movie this time around, and I’m hoping the change in storyline (it starts with a funeral instead of a wedding, how metaphorical) will allow the franchise to go out on top instead of flop around in an unchanging, static void.
Before Midnight, May 24
We meet Jesse and Celine nine years on in Greece. Almost two decades have passed since their first meeting on that train bound for Vienna. (Sony Pictures)
I loved Before Sunrise, but Before Sunset has managed to make it onto my list of all-time favorite movies. The exotic location, semi-improvised dialogue, and well-thought out characters came together in a way that made me fall instantly in love.
The danger with making a story like this into a franchise is that it destroys the mystery behind the characters’ future. Before Sunset in particular ended in an intentionally vague fashion, with the audience left in the dark about whether the main characters got together.
This third entry will answer that question, for better or worse. However, this movie has already gotten a debut at Sundance, and the reviews coming out of the festival are painting a very positive picture. WIth a 95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, I’m hoping this one can stand up to all my hopes and dreams.
The Wolverine, July 26
Wolverine makes a voyage to modern-day Japan, where he encounters an enemy from his past that will impact on his future. ( 20th Century Fox)
The X-Men franchise is responsible for the major increase in superhero movies in the last decade or so. While the final entry in the original trilogy was iffy, and the attempted Wolverine prequel was terrible (supposedly – never saw it myself), it’s nice to see the mutant cinematic universe making a come-back of sorts.
X-Men First Class paved the way for better quality X-Men stories, more on par with the first two films. The success of First Class, along with its upcoming sequel (which will be combining the original movies with the new set for a time travel extravaganza), give me hope for the future of the franchise. But before that sequel comes out, we’re getting The Wolverine.
I don’t really see why Wolverine needs another movie (he’s already got that other shit-storm, on top of the original trilogy being mostly about him), but the themes of immortality and heroism being explored in this follow-up sound pretty interesting. Plus there’s the fact that it’s going to deal with the fall-out of X-Men: The Last Stand, which should make for some good character work if handled correctly.
Kick-Ass 2, Aug. 16
The costumed high-school hero Kick-Ass joins with a group of normal citizens who have been inspired to fight crime in costume. Meanwhile, the Red Mist plots an act of revenge that will affect everyone Kick-Ass knows. (Universal Pictures)
The first Kick-Ass was a surprising success. It could have gone very badly, but the tongue-in-cheek approach ensured that it wouldn’t be taken too seriously; the humor and great characters came together in an awesome way.
Now the sequel’s coming out. Based on the trailer, I’m excited. The characters still seem great, and there are some new additions who look promising. The writers seem to be going for more obviously heroic themes this time around, which could be either a winning or a terrible idea, depending on how it’s handled.
The only issue I have with this movie is a possible romantic sub-plot. I don’t know specifics, but there is a picture on the internet where Aaron Taylor-Johnson (who should be college-aged in the movie) and Chloe Grace Moretz (stated to be 15) kiss.
I’m hoping this is some sort of unrequited crush on Hit-Girl’s part that is either a) part of a dream sequence that has very little to do with the actual movie, or b) going to be instantly rebuffed. Otherwise, that’s going to add some seriously creepy undertones to their relationship.