Friday, July 19, 2013

Enough Already

I understand that many movie goers can and do, in general, just relax and enjoy themselves no matter what film they are seeing.  I often envy them.  I guess I can't shut off my critical brain sometimes.

I say all this because I have been struck by the horrible quality of Hollywood's remakes over the last few years.  This post isn't expansive enough to lament the lack of originality in Hollywood overall; I won't even begin to cover how most big budget movies are sequels, remakes, or adaptations (and bad ones at that).

But I will briefly cover two recent offenders: Marc Webb's The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) and Zack Snyder's Man of Steel (2013).  I caught up with Amazing a year after its release, so I saw these two comic book adaptations for the first time within a month of each other.

There is no hope of Hollywood letting up on its deluge of comic movies; they simply make too much money.  I have accepted this, yet my appetite for all these super heroes on screen was satiated by, like, 2008.  The standard of quality for these blockbusters, particularly in the screenwriting, is just too low, and that is a double shame because all of these comics provide years and years of rich story material to adapt.

Amazing was widely recognized as a cash grab.  Sony pictures had to make another Spider-Man movie or lose the rights to the character.  But this movie didn't need to be made.  It was an origin story.  We just saw the same basic origin story 10 years ago, with Sam Raimi's Spider-Man (2002).  Everything from the spider bite, to discovering of powers, to young romance and Uncle Ben's death was all seen, only with different performers in front of the lens and an (arguably) different tone.  Spider-Man launched a trilogy that ended just five years before the remake.  I was amazed, pun intended, at how similar The Amazing Spider-Man was overall to its predecessor.

Superman: The Movie (1978) is one of my favorite films of all time.  Directed by Richard Donner, it tells the story of Superman's origin, including the destruction of his home world, his acquiring a job at the Daily Planet newspaper, his meeting love interest Lois Lane, and his discovering of his heritage and destiny.  Snyder's over-long and over-loud remake covers the same thing, only without any humor or subtlety.  Why did audiences need to see this?

(And in defense of Superman Returns [2006], that film was a love letter and a sequel, but it did not try to retell Superman's origin.)

Am I off base, here?  Did anyone else feel that they were watching the exact same movie over again, only weaker?


  1. Although I agree with you in some sense, I have come to terms with the notion of remakes/reboots/retellings. It's actually a very old tradition in literature (yes, I am calling film literature), so I'm okay with seeing the same story again and again because it isn't really the same story. That being said, for the most part, the quality of the writing has declined in movies, but I think that's across the board, not just remakes. There's a lot of 'original' superhero movies with just as terrible writing. A certain green bejeweled space cop comes to mind.

  2. Touche. I'm just saying too soon, man. Too soon.