5 movies that changed the future of their franchises
There’s no doubt: moviegoers are no strangers to franchises big and small. You have your cinematic universes, you have your trilogies, you have your sequels — no matter the size, it can be certain that all franchises have their highs and lows. Some of those highs and lows ended up having incredible effects on the remainder of their respective franchises. Great changes can often be made because of massive failures or successes, thus changing the future of their franchises and resulting in some fresh and new perspectives on the same old material.
Mission: Impossible II
Despite being one of, if not the, most exciting franchise going right now, even the Mission: Impossible franchise has a low point that led to some very different sequels. Directed by John Woo in 2000, this sequel proves that bigger isn’t necessarily better. More action, more style, and more kills, Mission: Impossible II tries its hardest to up the ante from the first installment but ends up diverging from what makes Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt so compelling: he’s grounded and realistic and avoids killing whenever possible. Woo has him doing insane flips, gunning down henchmen, and flirting with anything that moves for just over two hours. It’s the lowest point of an otherwise perfect franchise, especially compared to the very different directions the third through the sixth films go in from here.
Thor: The Dark World
Before Marvel brought in Taika Waititi to make an interesting Thor movie, director Alan Taylor delivered the most boring and uninspired Marvel movies thus far. Thinking back on it, it’s impossible to recall any significant plot points beyond picturing Thor tumbling through portals during the climax of the film. It’s uninteresting, it’s a slog, and it’s considered by many to be the lowest point of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s no surprise that, after two Thor movies that were met with less than enthusiastic praise, Marvel decided to make the third film more or less an extension of the tone and feel of James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy movies.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Don’t let the animation fool you: this movie is still canon. It’s three or four episodes of the television series The Clone Wars strung together to make for a feature-length experience, and it revolves around a rescue mission to save Jabba’s little booger-looking son Rotta the Huttlet. Again, it’s important to remember that this movie is still canon. The Clone Wars took a very different turn after the release of the film, though, and it actually ended up being somewhat engrossing — it still continues to this day, with new episodes being announced every couple of years.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
It seems that the most magical franchise of the 21st century has absolutely lost its… well, its magic. Fantastic Beasts’ first two movies were met with criticisms saying the films are visually bland and its leads are uncharismatic. With three movies still planned and the most recent proving to be a real box office flop, one can be sure that the franchise is about to head in a very different direction — whether that means turning five planned films into three or refocusing the series completely to make things more interesting.
Fast & Furious
For a franchise that prides itself on car chases and big action, 2009’s Fast & Furious is awfully barren. It looks and feels like an extended CW pilot and is completely devoid of the vibrant colors, exciting set pieces, and B-movie thrills we’ve come to expect from this series. It serves as a midpoint for the series, showing us how far we’ve come and where we’re headed with the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth installments, but it serves as a low point for the series as well. From the fourth movie onward, the films took a much different approach to the story — no doubt because of the abysmal reviews this installment received. Ultimately it was for the best, though: the rest of the series onward continues to thrill and excite audiences more than any of the first four films ever did.
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