This past Sunday we took advantage of a rare free afternoon, and the husbeast and I went to see a movie. Sunday afternoon movies are the best. The general fact that we can typically make a matinee and pay less makes them even better. There is just something nice about getting lost in a movie for a few hours on a lazy Sunday that is just so appealing.
We decided, or rather I decided, that we should go see the new Superman reboot, Man of Steel. I have been interested in seeing this since they announced it whereas the husbeast would have been content to see it when it just happened to come on TV one afternoon when there wasn't anything better to watch. In fact I think he might have opted for a rerun of Pawn Stars or Duck Dynasty to watching this movie.
It wasn't so much that he was opposed to a reboot of Superman, he just wasn't interested in the least. This wasn't the reasoning I had been expecting from him as he followed me reluctantly into the theater. I was expecting him to be on the side of the argument that a reboot was a bad thing. He is a huge fan of the original movies with Christopher Reeves so it wouldn't be far fetched for him not to support a new Superman.
After a bit of prodding I got from him that really it was the idea of reboots in general that he was no longer interested in. You hear all the time that Hollywood has run out of ideas, and looking around I can't argue with that. How many reboots have we seen in the last decade? We have had two Spiderman franchises, multiple Batman franchises, people who will argue that X-Men has gone into a second franchise even as the people behind it are struggling to merge the two. There are more Punisher and Hulks than most people can count. They have even remade pretty much every horror movie there is from the lowly Prom Night and Last House on the Left all the way up to Psycho, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Nightmare on Elm Street. Everything is a reimagining of something that we have already seen.
I know there are many people out there who are very much against this trend. People who are rabid fans of the original see no need for it to be remade. They love what they have already and see it as perfection. Remaking it is insulting to a die hard fan of the original. It is a sentiment that I can completely understand.
On the other hand I can see use in rebooting certain franchises. I think making the stories and characters more accessible to new generations is a fantastic idea. The stories are really timeless, but time doesn't stop. Updating and modernizing something so that it speaks to new audiences is a good thing. I mean they have been doing it with Shakespear for almost 500 years, and it is part of the reason it is still so well known and loved.
Sure the original will always be wonderful, and it would be great if everyone could go back and watch it and love it, but you know sometimes that isn't possible. Sometimes the original was wonderful for its time, but now it comes across as so dated and cheesy that it is hard to appreciate and take seriously.
Take Star Trek for example. I am a fan. I have always been a fan. I cut my teeth in Sci Fi on Star Trek: TNG. I actually own all of TNG. I have seen all of Deep Space 9. I watched Voyager on and off. I even watched Enterprise and found redeeming qualities in the show. That being said I have never watched the original series.
I know that should get my geek card revoked or something, but it is the truth. I just can't handle the level of cheese that is the original series. I know for its time it was so amazing. I know that it was incredibly forward thinking. I know all the wonderful things about it. None of that makes me able to watch it and take it seriously.
Star Trek has become one of those things that is just for the fans. It is a thing that just the geeks love. It grew into this thing that a lot of newer generations weren't willing to try out because it carries a little social stigma with it. There was nothing new and cool about it for a lot of people.
Then J.J. Abrams got his hands on it and made it all shiny and new. Very shiny in fact. Throw in some hot young stars and a reboot that honors the existence of original cannon but allows for a completely new story and adventure to emerge, and you have created a new generation of Star Trek fans. You have extended the life of the fandom and that is a good thing.
Of course not all reboots can recapture the magic of the original. Some stories can't be modernized or fail miserably in their attempts. Some reboots don't honor where they are coming from and simply turn it into a mockery of the cheese that wasn't meant to be cheesy to begin with. This is all too often seen when they turn old TV series into movies. I think though that is a post all to itself.
It is exhausting though. With all the remakes, reboots, and reboots of reboots going on I can see how someone could no longer be able to get excited over a story that once would have thrilled them. There comes a time when you have to just stop and say "What? Again?".
As it was we were left with a feeling of indifference from Man of Steel. It was not the catastrophe that many have made it out to be, but it wasn't the amazing revitalization that was hoped for. I had points of character development and plot that I could not reconcile as a Superman fan. I had points that I could not accept from a movie in general. I had things about it though that I adored. It ended up a draw for me.
So was this worth the reboot? Was this something that furthered the fandom and the franchise and enhanced the entertainment of the world? I can't decide. It certainly was no Star Trek, but I can't say it was another Punisher fiasco either.
Of course that is just my opinion, and you know what they say about those.