Remakes are a common occurrence in Hollywood these days. With an industry unwilling to come up with entirely new ideas, the strategy has become to borrow from pre-existing ideas and remake them to try and turn a profit. Most of the time, this is just to cash in on the popularity of a franchise, but it can occasionally lead to some great filmmaking. Nowadays, remakes are notorious for being bad and being made without the love or spark that went into the original production. As a result, they become boring and uninspired versions of those movies, proving that some things are better left untouched. For some reason, there is a fascination with making those remakes dark and gritty and embracing a more raw or realistic tone. This is largely because certain movies in this style proved successful, but that doesn't mean it should be done for every project.
While gritty remakes are usually thought of as poor and shameless productions, there are a few times where they are done for the better. With new directors with clear visions at the helm, they understand what made the originals so great, and inject an element of realism into the mix, offering up a retelling of a classic film that feels distinct and separate. Believe it or not, many of the most beloved movies are remakes, and most people don't know it. Hollywood has a lot of remakes of popular films under its belt, and we're looking at 10 gritty remakes that are better than the originals and 10 that are much worse.
20 BETTER: BATMAN BEGINS
After the disaster that was Batman And Robin, there was nowhere to go but up, and this is where Christopher Nolan enters the picture, who decided to take the world of the Dark Knight and ground it in reality. The result was a believable take on Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins.
Not only was the tone a massive step up from the last Batman film, but the acting, cinematography, score, and story were all on point. Christian Bale as Batman remains one of the best of the character, and Liam Neeson as Ra's al Ghul is near-perfect casting. Nolan would later outdo himself with the film's sequel, The Dark Knight.
19 WORSE: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN
While some people believe that The Amazing Spider-Man was unique with its darker tone, that's not to say that it was a great film, especially when compared to Sam Raimi's first two Spider-Man movies. The wall-crawler benefits more from a lighthearted tone where events aren't taken too seriously.
By taking his lore into a darker world, it felt like Sony was riding on the coattails of The Dark Knight without having much reason. They would try to alter the tone in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, but ended up breaking under their own ambition. Neither of the films in this series could stand above Spider-Man 2 either.
18 BETTER: POWER RANGERS
While Mighty Morphin Power Rangers has its fans, it's easy to see why the characters aren't quite as popular as they once were. In short, the style of the Power Rangers doesn't hold up today. 2017 brought a new take on the series with the Power Rangers movie.
Taking a much darker tone, there were a lot of benefits to the franchise as a whole. While there were certainly some decisions that hurt the film, it's something that feels much more at home than the older version. Furthermore, the film benefits from greater special effects to properly portray the power and size of the Zords.
17 WORSE: MAN OF STEEL
Richard Donner's Superman: The Movie is a hard film to live up to. Having a heroic and patriotic setting, it brings to life everything that made Superman so popular in the comics. With Warner Bros wanting to have its own cinematic universe with a tone similar to Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy, they brought Zack Snyder to create Man of Steel.
What could've been a meaningful and triumphant start to a new franchise ended up mixed and inconsistent. While Superman's movements certainly benefit from better CGI, his portrayal is never properly captured. The movie also leans too much into its depressing tone.
16 BETTER: DREDD
Judge Dredd, admittedly, is a ridiculous character, but he is never played off like one. This didn't stop Sylvester Stallone's portrayal of the cop in Judge Dredd to be every bit as campy as if Adam West were under the helmet. With a lack of understanding of what makes the character so unique, the movie was a misfire.
The under-praised 2012 Dredd film, however, is much better and Karl Urban captures what makes Dredd such an imposing character. He is perfectly straight the entire time, never having goofy movements or laugh-out-loud jokes. The movie treats everything with a serious tone, and it's much better for it.
15 WORSE: TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES
After Michael Bay had his time rebooting the Transformers into the crazy explosion fests people know them as today, he set his sights on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. With the advanced technology of modern special effects, the film creates the turtles into ugly monsters rather than the cool heroes they were back in the day.
The film also suffers from its tone by having an inconsistent juxtaposition of the turtles' interaction with the rest of the world. Much like The Amazing Spider-Man franchise, the sequel to this film tried to lighten things up but leaned too hard in the opposite direction.
14 BETTER: CASINO ROYALE
Years of James Bond films proved to have a negative impact on the character -- after throwing in an invisible car and having him fly through space, it seemed that he had gone down a campy road to his detriment. However, Casino Royale released in 2006 to re-imagine what could be done with a character like James Bond.
This is no movie with silly gadgets and cute one-liners. This film is about a man trying to keep the world in order while realizing that he's a bit tortured himself along the way. It gave more background to James Bond as a character and set the tone for the Bond films that followed it.
13 WORSE: FANTASTIC FOUR (2015)
When it came to remaking the Fantastic Four movies, it seemed that there was only room for positive improvement after Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Much to everyone's surprise, though, Josh Trank's Fantastic Four proved not only to be a major disappointment, but worse than the previous two movies.
With a problem between both studio and director, the film was plagued by obvious reshoots that turn the film from an interesting look at how advancement can negatively change a person into a run-of-the-mill action movie. FOX was willing to change so many things at the last minute that nothing fit together.
12 BETTER: GODZILLA (2014)
After the 1998 Godzilla was met with critical failure, it was up to Gareth Edwards to try and revive the franchise. As the first film in a new, connected monster universe, Godzilla was made to feel purposefully realistic, making the giant lizard both frightening and awe-inspiring.
While the parts with the human characters left much to be desired (as did writing off Bryan Cranston's character so early), there was no denying that, when Godzilla was on-screen, it was perfection. Edwards managed to respect the origin of the character with the atomic breath and iconic roar while still making him look and feel like a monster from the modern age.
11 WORSE: PLANET OF THE APES (2001)
Planet of the Apes was an iconic sci-fi movie that was simultaneously a political commentary, full of interesting points that reflected American culture back in the day and it also contained one of the best twists in film history. However, Tim Burton did away with most of that stuff with his 2001 version of Planet of the Apes.
Despite having a big actor like Mark Wahlberg, everything about the remake fell apart. Opting to confuse viewers rather than intrigue them, the remake had none of the punch of the original. It still attempted a twist, but it left viewers with nothing but more questions.
10 BETTER: RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES
While Planet of the Apes remains one of the best sci-fi movies ever made, its sequels about the birth of Caesar left much to be desired. That's where Rupert Wyatt came in, who directed this remake of Conquest of the Planet of the Apes. Casting Andy Serkis as the lead ape, Caesar, the potential was there.
Not only was Rise of the Planet of the Apes an excellent story, but its one that properly explored the psyche of a monkey who would lead a revolution of apes. Caesar is one of Andy Serkis' best performances, and the film spawned two sequels that were even better.
9 WORSE: ALICE IN WONDERLAND
Tim Burton strikes again with another one of his remakes. This time, he was working with Disney to recreate Alice in Wonderland in live-action. While the film wasn't all bad, it's clear that Burton's quirky style was at odds with the movie, leading to a climax that felt surprisingly generic.
There were also changes to the lore that seemed unnecessary. Perhaps what was most unsettling about the film is most of the characters were recreated with CGI, leading to some that looked downright horrifying and nightmarish. It was far from the definitive version of the story, and its sequel was even worse.
8 BETTER: TRUE GRIT
It's hard to believe that anyone could remake a western movie starring John Wayne and get away with it, however, the 2010 remake of True Grit proved that it could be done. The Coen Brothers helmed this project, casting Jeff Bridges in the lead role. Not only does Bridges fit into the role nicely, but he arguably provides more mystery and bravado than even Wayne did back in 1969.
Keeping the feel of the original intact while not shying away from some of its darker elements, the Coen Brothers provided a film that was surprising to many. It was a loving recreation of not only the 1969 film, but of the western genre as a whole.
7 WORSE: ROBOCOP
RoboCop is one of those action movies that never gets old. Despite it being a bit outdated, there's no denying that the heavy social message and gun-toting of the original film was extremely entertaining. It was campy, entertaining, and had plenty of iconic moments that were more than enough to captivate audiences for a couple of hours.
Then 2014 came around and a remake was released. Long story short, the RoboCop remake was bumped down to PG-13 and had less heart and soul than the original. Replacing a lot of 1987's timeless effects with lazy CGI, this version was never going to compare.
6 BETTER: THE FLY
The '50s brought a series of iconic movies to the forefront but if The Fly proves anything, it's that there is always room for improvement. The story of a scientist being fused with a fly is an interesting and disturbing one, but the constraints of 1958 prevented the movie from taking off.
The 1986 version with Jeff Goldblum, however, was much more memorable. Not only were the effects much better, leading to some genuinely scary moments but it was also a darn good film, with great acting, directing, and story progression. Throwing its more comedic moments aside, this version benefited from horror.
5 WORSE: THE MUMMY (2017)
As a remake of Scott Summers' The Mummy back in 1999, Alex Kurtzman's version in 2017 doesn't hold up as well. Where the 1999 version had plenty of adventurous moments inspired by Indiana Jones, the 2017 remake was more focused with setting up a cinematic universe with plenty of movie monsters.
Furthermore, Tom Cruise isn't quite as memorable a lead as Brendan Frasier and the 2017 version was meant to be grittier, but it was bogged down by its own premise. When the movie goes out of its way to spend time establishing Dr. Jekyll, that's a clue that something went wrong.
4 BETTER: SCARFACE
Scarface is one of the most iconic movies from the '80s, but most people don't realize that it was a remake of a 1932 movie. The Scarface of the '30s followed a gangster who slowly became a bigger deal in his own city.
The '80s version has a similar story, but features a darker take with a seemingly ordinary man who slowly becomes one of the biggest criminals in the entire world. Coupled with stellar performances across the board and some of the most iconic lines in movie history, Scarface in the '80s was a better film than in the '30s.
3 WORSE: SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNSTMAN
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is a classic tale that just about everyone knows, which means we weren't surprised when Universal decided to remake the property. It did, however, give it a much more adult tone than the Disney animated feature. Snow White and the Huntsman tells the story of how Snow White was trained by the Hunstman to fight and eventually wage war with the evil queen.
However, the film is a prime example that bigger isn't always better. It is an inconsistent story that never settles on what it wants to be. While Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth both give decent performances, they do little to distract from the fantasy epic that the movie tried and failed to emulate.
2 BETTER: THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN
The Seven Samurai is one of the most iconic Japanese movies of all time, featuring a group of seven samurais defending a town. When Hollywood got their hands on it, they decided to remake it in the form of The Magnificent Seven, which featured seven cowboys defending a town from some rugged outlaws.
Despite having plenty of humor, the film plays into its more bleak tone. Still, it has plenty of action thrills to keep even the shortest attention spans captivated for its entire length. Unfortunately, The Magnificent Seven got its own remake in 2016 that proved less than favorable. A remake of a remake -- that's Hollywood for you.
1 WORSE: STAR TREK: INTO DARKNESS
Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan remains one of the best Star Trek films to date, so it makes sense that the rebooted franchise would try to remake it for a new audience. The resulting Star Trek: Into Darkness was an attempt at reviving it, but putting a more sinister spin on it.
While Benedict Cumberbatch is a huge get for the character of Khan, the movie felt extremely derivative, going out of its way to recreate scenes from the movie it was remaking. While not an awful movie, Star Trek: Into Darkness doesn't hold a candle to the space-faring adventure that is Wrath of Khan.