Superheroes and reboots go almost hand-in-hand when it comes to Hollywood these days – no matter the superhero, there is always a reboot just around the corner.
Check out Film Review UK‘s 10 greatest superhero reboots and have your say below.
X-Men: First Class (2011)
These two box-office hits, that have so far accumulated over $1 billion at the box-office, were reboots of the original X-Men trilogy starring Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry and Ian McKellen. Instead of re-launching the series again, filmmakers Matthew Vaughn and Bryan Singer decided to explore the younger years of Professor X and Magneto, depicting how these two influential characters became enemies.
The new trilogy stars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence and Nicholas Hoult – one thing that’s proved to be a popular choice with audiences, is the decision to merge the new and old franchises into one, as seen in X-Men: Days of Future Past that included most of the original X-Men cast.
Batman Forever (1995)
Many at the time thought director Joel Schumacher was slightly made to reboot one of the most iconic superheroes in history, especially only three years after Michael Keaton hung up his cape after two successful outings as the Dark Knight.
Despite being nominated for three Oscars, earning $350 million worldwide and boasting a all-star cast including Val Kilmer, Nicole Kidman, Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones, Batman Forever promised a lot but sadly bombed with critics after it’s release – perhaps due to it’s introduction of Robin (Batman’s less than popular sidekick).
Verdict: Success with me, but failure in Hollywood’s eyes.
The Incredible Hulk (2008)
Like Batman, Bruce Banner’s Hulk started off successfully on the small screen back in 1978, then in 2003 Eric Bana helped bring the Hulk to the big screen in Ang Lee’s blockbuster adaptation. Sadly the film bombed at the box-office and it was another five years until Edward Norton starred in the reboot, The Incredible Hulk.
Yet again though the world’s strongest superhero failed to win people over and the film only managed to earn $240 million worldwide, almost certainly ruling out any regular big screen appearance for the Hulk – that is until The Avengers.
Verdict: Not bad, but not great either.
Superman Returns (2008)
Well known for all the wrong reasons, Superman Returns was the first reboot since the late and great Christopher Reeve hung up his cape back in the 80’s. At the time it was the most expensive film ever made and promised so much but sadly failed to live up to all the hype.
Considering the stellar-cast including Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, James Marsden and new-comer Brendon Routh in the title role, who seemed to have the Superman look down to a tee, the film only made $319 million worldwide.
Perhaps it’s failure was down to the writers decision not to re-launch the franchise from the beginning, but instead carry on the story from where Superman 3 ended all those years ago. It just seemed impossible to embrace the characters.
Verdict: Epic CGI but snooze-fest of a storyline.
Fantastic Four (2015) – yet to be released
It was without a doubt the start of the epic Marvel reboot-a-thon that’s taken the world by storm (no pun intended), but after the somewhat mediocre performance of The Fantastic Four (2005) and The Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007), Marvel have decided to re-launch the franchise with a whole new look.
The biggest change is the character of Johnny Storm, who up until now has been portrayed by only white actors, most recently Captain America himself, Mr Chris Evans. Now however, Marvel has decided to break down the race barriers and rejuvenize the character, who will now be played by Michael B. Jordan (That Awkward Moment).
With a sequel already confirmed before the first has even hit cinema screens, studio execs are clearly expecting a massive return on investment.
Verdict: Ask me again in a month or two.
Captain America: The First Avenger (2012)
Many are usually surprised to hear that Chris Evans’ Captain America is in fact a reboot of a hugely unsuccessful straight-to-video film made in the 90’s.
After the mouth-watering triumph that was Iron Man in 2008, Captain America: The First Avengerwas the beginning of the Avengers series that has now spanned nine hit films and over $4 billion in box-office revenue.
With a hit in the bag last year with Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War confirmed to be starring Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man, this reboot was clearly an epic descision.
Verdict: Brilliant, epic, and awesome all wrapped up with a bow on top.
Batman & Robin (1997)
Just why?…why does this film exist and why on Earth would half of Hollywood’s elite chose to star in it?
This film was infact a reboot / follow-on to Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forever – the only reason this can’t be described as a full reboot in the fact that Chris O’Donnell once again reprised his role of the annoying and whimlish sidekick Robin. Probably explains why the film only made $200 million at the box-office.
Yet despite the horrific script and subsidized budget, the film still managed to attract George Clooney, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Uma Thurman – Clooney also recently apologized for his performance as Batman at last years New York Comic-Con.
Verdict: I shall give none, it’s just rubbish.
Man of Steel (2013)
With 300 director Zack Snyder at the helm and The Dark Knight trilogy mastermind Christopher Nolan writing the script, Man of Steel was always going to something special, even as a spectacle, we were sure to see something epic.
And in many ways this reboot of the box-office flop Superman Returns gave us just that – the story was enthralling, the special effects mesmerizing, and the cast…well what can I say?…when you’ve got Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Lawrence Fishburne and Russell Crowe all sharing screen-time, it’s definitely going to be good.
Of course, you can’t always please everyone, and Man of Steel had it’s fair share of critics, but when you earn over $600 million at the box-office, it’s can’t be all bad – and it’s already spawned an upcoming reboot of Batman, when he and Superman square off in the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Verdict: Successful start to what should be a successful franchise for DC Comics.
The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
Spider-Man actually has some claim to fame in this list for being the first superhero to successfully star in a big-screen trilogy – back in 2002, Toby Maguire teamed up with filmmaker Sam Raimi to bring the web-slinging superhero to life. Commercially the trilogy was a success, generating over $1.5 billion at the box-office. There was however a draw back – the third film left something of a sour taste for most movie fans.
Not surprising then, that with the success of Marvel’s blockbusters, Sony decided to reboot the franchise with Andrew Garfield in the title role, and in the process eliminating Mary-Jane Watson in favour of Gwen Stacey. The first film was a gargantuan success, earning over $750 million and immediately green-lighting the sequel The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
Sadly though, the second film couldn’t muster the same sort of critical praise, despite earning over $700 million and actually being a pretty decent film, especially it’s score that I still think should have received some sort of award recognition. Still, perhaps the upcoming reboot will give this popular superhero the praise he deserves.
Verdict: A great success in my eyes, shame about the lack of a third installment.
The Dark Knight trilogy (2005-2012)
The pièce de résistance of reboots – seriously they don’t come any better than this work of art. The Dark Knight trilogy, written and directed by Christopher ‘seriously needs to win an Oscar’ Nolan and starring Christian Bale as arguably the best superhero actor of all time, still is the crowing gem of DC Comics.
During it’s three installments, the franchise accumulated nine Academy Award nominations including a Best Supporting Actor win for the late Heath Ledger and amassed over $2.5 billion at the global box-office. The Dark Knight (2008) currently resides at #4 in IMDb’s top ten greatest films list.
Christopher Nolan certainly set the bench mark for reboots and it will not be easy to surpass the shear brilliance of this reboot.
Verdict: Genius, pure and simple.