|New Takes on Favorite Film Franchises|
With a new 'Spider-Man' on the way, we grade past film series reboots
By Sean Axmaker
It seems like the "Spider-Man" movies, which helped turn the superhero movie into a Hollywood boom industry, just wrapped their blockbuster run and already there's a brand-new incarnation of the superhero story, with a fresh young cast and a new take on the origin story. It's nothing unusual for sequels or even film franchises to recast roles with new actors. There were three Charlie Chans in the classic Hollywood run of mysteries (none of them were Asian, I might add), and even more actors played James Bond. And, of course, Hollywood has never been shy about remaking its past successes for the next generation.
But the wholesale reboot of a successful series is a relatively new phenomenon, a matter of retaining a brand name without the baggage of previous incarnations (or the ballooning price tags of veteran stars). And the sudden turnaround on "Spider-Man" announces an alarming trend. Word is out that Universal wants to reboot its supernatural action series "The Mummy" (itself a reworking of the old horror series) and Lionsgate is tamping down rumors that it is rebooting "Twilight" after the final film. Modern Hollywood has increasingly shown its preference for product branding over original stories. Everyone wants to launch a successful franchise. Now they can just rework those old ones over and over again!
That said, there have been some interesting reinventions along the way. Here's our report card of the best – and the worst – of the film series revivals and reboots.