Any major film release will see the majority of its success during its run in cinemas. For this reason, its understandable that filmmakers would aim to make a film that offers one-time thrills and excitement as opposed to creating something that’s more likely to have people returning to the film multiple times because its just that powerful. They’re both fantastic experiences and one isn’t necessarily better than the other, but it does mean that sometimes fans find that certain films have aged poorly and that their beloved heroes need a reboot to keep their concepts fresh and alive.
We’ve gathered a list of seven different films that fit that criteria, each one being outdated in one way or another. To be clear, the goal of this list isn’t to criticise these films — though some might deserve it. In fact, for some of these, we’re praising the depiction of the heroes, they just need to be brought into the present to maintain a level impact. For comparison, we’ll also be showing you eight superhero films that will likely prove to be timeless, either because of how well they were made or simply because of how incredibly difficult they’d be to recreate. These films will be listed in no specific order.
15. TIMELESS: THE AVENGERS
Looking back, everything that first Avengers film accomplished might seem much smaller, given the current state of the MCU, but we cannot forget that it was The Avengers that gave studios the confidence to make things bigger and better as they allowed this universe to grow. Not studio, studios. It wasn’t just Marvel Studios that saw The Avengers as proof that connected films could work.
The film marked the beginning of an age in cinema as well as the potential of the concept Marvel Studios had introduced: film universes. The impact of this film will not be easily matched, which is why it has earned a special place in the hearts of many moviegoers and it will not be forgotten any time soon.
14. NEEDS A REBOOT: FANTASTIC FOUR
Fox has tried to create a Fantastic Four film franchise twice now and while at least one of them was a fun ride, none of the three films could see the kind of success needed to compete with other major superhero films. That might seem like the end for the Fantastic Four but it shouldn’t be. This superhero family is worth trying to adapt at least one more time.
With the Disney-Fox deal, there’s a chance we’ll see the Fantastic Four introduced into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Marvel Studios has quite the track record so if it does produce a Fantastic Four reboot, fans should be able to expect a greater understanding of the characters. The family-friendly tone of the MCU would fit a Fantastic Four film perfectly. It can be done well, which means one more reboot is in order.
13. TIMELESS: SPIDER-MAN 2
Sam Raimi’s trilogy got a lot right and Spider-Man 2 shows that perfectly. It’s why both of the adaptations that followed were and continue to be compared to Tobey Maguire’s portrayal of the character. The MCU’s version of Spider-Man seems to be faring well among audiences but as good as Spider-Man: Homecoming was, it still cannot seem to match what Spider-Man 2 did for the genre.
Most of that can be attributed to timing. Spider-Man 2 came at a time when superhero films were still a bit foreign to mainstream cinema. Like its predecessor, it helped audiences take the genre more seriously by showing everyone that superhero films could have a little bit of everything for everyone. It won’t be easy for any Spider-Man film that follows to have as big an impact.
12. NEEDS A REBOOT: GHOST RIDER
So far the only film adaptation of Ghost Rider audiences have gotten has been Sony’s Ghost Rider and the sequel no one asked for, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. They failed to impress for a variety of reasons which just isn’t right. Ghost Rider has since been reintroduced into the MCU through the series, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Is that enough?
Ghost Rider needs a film of his own, one that tells the story of Johnny Blaze, which the television series hasn’t quite delved into as it focuses on Robbie Reyes as the host to the Spirit of Vengeance. A film could expand on the Ghost Rider myth and reintroduce the character to mainstream audiences, so they don’t have to settle for the unfortunate quality of the film.
11. TIMELESS: LOGAN
Logan definitely earned its praise. It was able to present audiences with something highly distinguishable from the multitude of other superhero films out there, especially the other films in the X-Men franchise and it was no small part due to the talents of James Mangold and of course, Hugh Jackman, who played the character for close to two decades.
Logan captured the spirit of the titular character and it’ll be difficult for any adaptation that follows to match it. Not only is Hugh Jackman a hard act to follow, but with so many successful superhero films, it’s generally quite difficult for any superhero film to distinguish itself as well as Logan did. This is one film that will last quite a while in the hearts of fans.
10. NEEDS A REBOOT: X-MEN
Back in the early 2000s the X-Men franchise was off to a great start, but since X2: X-Men United, the X-Men films haven’t been able to reach the same heights of success which is why nowadays you’re likely to see a notable lack of excitement for new installments, which seems to be the case for X-Men: Dark Phoenix.
The franchise needs to be rebooted and with the Disney-Fox deal, we might see fan favorite X-Men characters redone and reinvented, bringing new life to an almost completely antiquated concept. Adding the X-Men to the MCU would fix other issues too, after all, we need more of explanation for Wanda’s powers than vaguely defined experimentation.
9. TIMELESS: DEADPOOL
After warping the character once and allowing the solo film to sit in development hell for about a decade, Fox finally greenlit Deadpool after fans expressed overwhelming enthusiasm following the leak of test footage. With the backlash of the affectionately nicknamed “Baraka-pool” in mind, Fox allowed Deadpool to be an adaptation that was much more faithful to the source material.
The result was a fun film about a fourth-wall-breaking antihero unique among the protagonists of any other superhero film. It’d be virtually impossible to recreate the film in any way and expect the same kind of reaction from fans. For Deadpool fans, there’s no doubt that Deadpool will remain a very special film for a very long time.
8. NEEDS A REBOOT: X-MEN ORIGINS – WOLVERINE
We’ve talked about Logan being unique and distinct from other superhero films and that’s still very true, but it doesn’t include the rest of the films in that trilogy. X-Men Origins: Wolverine and its sequel, The Wolverine had their good qualities but they weren’t very well received. Many critics and fans shared the opinion that those films just weren’t as well written.
Wolverine must be introduced to the MCU after the completion of the Disney-Fox deal and he needs to have an origin story. One that does the character justice without trying to compete with what Hugh Jackman left behind during his run as Logan.
7. TIMELESS: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
Guardians of the Galaxy had all the makings of a great superhero film: a great cast, lovable characters, funny moments, an epic battle and a great soundtrack to accompany it all. The film had a modern comedic style but aside from that, nothing in the film was really latched on to the present.
It’s a film set in space with a vintage soundtrack. Even if one were to watch it years from now, without having seen any of the other films set in the MCU, Guardians of the Galaxy will still prove to be an enjoyable and easily relatable ride. Even the sequel — though still highly praised — seems to have been unable to satisfy fans in the same way. That says a lot about how unique Guardians of the Galaxy is as a film, which in turn indicates that it’ll stand for quite a while against the test of time.
6. NEEDS A REBOOT: ELEKTRA
The last Elektra film we got was a spin-off of Daredevil and was simply not as well made or as well written as it could have been. As an adaptation, it failed to do the character justice. Luckily, Elektra was introduced to the MCU through Daredevil and developed into a complex character over the course of the series and The Defenders. However, there’s potential for so much more.
What the MCU needs is a reboot of Elektra set within the MCU where the character can be every bit as complex, lethal and well written as the comic book character on which she’s based. If the Netflix Marvel series ever does connect fully with the films, an Elektra film should certainly be one way Marvel Studios should consider doing it.
5. TIMELESS: CAPTAIN AMERICA – CIVIL WAR
It’s rare for superhero films to explore something as unanswerable as the question, “how would governments react to a team of superhuman vigilantes?” mostly because, there’s really no need for a film to try and answer that question unless it’s done really well, which is what Civil War is.
That’s in no small part due to the years spent developing each of the characters involved in that conflict as well as the world in which that conflict took place. Any filmmaker that attempts to create something similar would have a hard time avoiding making the film seem derivative. Thanks to the years of world-building behind it, the unique qualities of this film will not be easy to replicate, which is why it’s likely to remain one of the MCU’s more memorable films long after the MCU has come to an end.
4. NEEDS A REBOOT: NICK FURY – AGENT OF S.H.I.E.L.D.
Before Nick Fury was played by Samuel L. Jackson, there was David Hasselhoff, who played the character in the 1998 TV movie, Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D, which pitted Fury against the children of the former head of HYDRA, Baron Von Strucker. Hasselhoff nailed the part but the rest of the film failed to impress.
In recent years, the MCU has given audiences a pretty well developed Nick Fury and he’s earned his own solo film, one that’s well executed. With the existence of HYDRA and a well-established, complex world, a solo film would have a lot to work with. If we look at the MCU’s version of a spy thriller, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, as an indication of what that solo film could be, then we know that it could be great.
3. TIMELESS: BLACK PANTHER
Critical praise and overwhelming financial success for a superhero film are all well and good but it’s not enough to make it timeless. The themes of Black Panther may become somewhat unrelatable in the future — with any luck — but as a film, it will always remain significant, both as a landmark in cinema and as a part of American culture.
It’s a film that’s unafraid of exploring specific issues from a different perspective, one that has thus far been in large part ignored. It’s a great film and its significance, no matter what, is unlikely to be lost, no matter how much time has passed.
2. NEEDS A REBOOT: BLADE
People remember the Blade trilogy fondly…for the most part. It was dark, included vicious vampires, had the perfect actor playing the titular character and its success actually had an impact on the comic book from which the character had been adapted.
Unfortunately, everything from the special effects to its setting has become somewhat outdated and since there’s an expansive film universe just waiting to welcome it, its time for a Blade reboot. With an introduction into the MCU, Blade can become the popular film superhero he once was. It would also help to expand the MCU itself by adding more than magic or technology — it would introduce vampires into the mix.
1. TIMELESS: AVENGERS – INFINITY WAR
Even if you view the film on its own, it’ll look like more than just a flurry of bright characters thrown on to the screen. It’s a story about a villain, told in a way few films have been able to do and not just in the superhero subgenre. That’s why there’s relatively little focus on the titular characters.
It works and Thanos is allowed to develop because this film has really been a decade in the making. It’s the culmination of eighteen films full of great characters and carefully planned world expansion. It seems like every studio is trying to compete with a different film universe but they cannot match the MCU. Right now, it seems no film will be able to match the anticipation and support that Infinity War received.
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