Franchise movies are certainly nothing new, even going back to silent film serials, but lately there’s been an abundance of them in cinemas. So far, 2017 looks like it will be overrun and conquered by more franchise product.
‘Transformers: The Last Knight’
I will never the understand the continued success of this franchise, but it has a devoted fan base that worships massive amounts of destruction and eye candy at the sacrifice of substance or narrative coherence. Ten years since the first adaptation of the Hasbro toy line, we’re now entering the fifth installment in the film series where Michael Bay, once again, demonstrates his talent for visual razzle-dazzle devoid of storytelling skills. This looks to be just as bad as all the others. Somehow, actors from the first three movies have been roped back in while also bamboozling Anthony Hopkins into selling his soul.
‘War for the Planet of the Apes’
On the opposite end of the franchise spectrum, we have the surprisingly intelligent ‘Planet of the Apes’ reboot/prequel series. Fans of the old ‘Apes’ movies, like myself, loved seeing Caesar’s myth-making storyline as well as the world-building in the last two films, which also managed to win over a new generation of viewers who enjoyed where this story is heading.
Woody Harrelson, playing a relentlessly brutal military colonel fixated on the extinction of all apes outside the human race, looks to be an awesome addition to the franchise. I’m really excited for this and can’t wait to see it in the theater.
‘The Fate of the Furious’
Just to balance things out between the bad and good, we have a franchise that falls squarely in the middle. It wins some audiences over, including yours truly, but leaves others simply not caring. Nevertheless, the series continues to be good brainless fun. Each installment raises the bar when it comes to awesome practical action choreography with badass cars.
With ‘Friday’ and ‘Straight Outta Compton’ director F. Gary Gray in the driver’s seat, the latest entry leaves fans with a bit of mystery while also introducing a new sinister villain in Charlize Theron. The idea of the crime family being destroyed from within is a nice touch that makes me want to see this on the big screen, but I’ll wait for reviews before deciding on that.
‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales’
Speaking of good, bad and middle franchises, I’m not sure where the ‘Pirates’ series would fall, but it’s been a rather mediocre ride for me since the third installment. So far, this new teaser with Javier Bardem as Capitán Salazar doesn’t excite me much. For those who like the series, Orlando Bloom will reprise his role as Will Turner.
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