How Marvel Should Reboot These 4 Movie Franchises
Disney's $4 billion acquisition of Marvel in 2009 has turned out to be one of the wisest purchases the media conglomerate has ever made.
To date, the three Marvel movies distributed by Disney -- Iron Man 3, The Avengers, and Thor: The Dark World -- have generated combined global box office sales of $3.3 billion. Upcoming movies like Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Avengers: Age of Ultron, and a rumored solo Hulk film will help the Marvel Cinematic Universe continue growing.
Back in April and May, Disney reacquired (Editor's note: not "bought back") the rights to Daredevil, Blade, Punisher, and Ghost Rider from Fox , Sony , Lions Gate , and Time Warner's New Line Cinema, greatly expanding the comic book roster in Disney and Marvel's new movie universe.
Although Sony still retains the movie rights to Spider-Man, and Fox retains the rights to Wolverine and The Fantastic Four, adding these new additional characters to Disney's version of the Marvel Universe could yield some fantastic results, if done correctly.
A look back at past box office successes and critical failures
In the past, Marvel films featuring Daredevil, Blade, Punisher, and Ghost Rider were mostly commercial successes, but they haven't fared well with critics.
Global Box Office
Rotten Tomatoes Rating
Blade II (2002)
Blade Trinity (2004)
The Punisher (2004)
Punisher: War Zone (2008)
Ghost Rider (2007)
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2012)
The main problem with these films, produced by three different studios with various creative teams, was that they lacked the singular creative vision that Marvel and Disney created with the current Avengers-centered film universe.
Therefore, as these four characters are brought back into Marvel and Disney's film universe, let's see how they should be rebooted and integrated with the rest of the Avengers.
Reboots #1 and #2: Daredevil and Punisher
I think the original Daredevil starring Ben Affleck wasn't a horrible film -- it just failed to live up to the high expectations set by Sam Raimi's critically acclaimed Spider-Man, which was released the previous year. It also didn't help that Daredevil tried too hard to replicate Spider-Man's rooftop plunges and pile on Matrix-like flourishes in its fight scenes, which detracted from the film's paper-thin plot.
The screenplay and casting of the original film were also problematic. Ben Affleck was a passable Matt Murdock, but Jennifer Garner was woefully miscast as Elektra. Garner was apparently chosen for the role due to previous work on Alias, but her petite frame and girl next door look simply didn't fit the character, who was taller, tougher, and Greek.
Meanwhile, the previous two Punisher films (excluding the hilariously awful 1989 film with Dolph Lundgren) failed to find an audience for the same reason -- they start out the Punisher story with Frank Castle as the violent hero, avenging the Mafia murders of his family by declaring a one-man war on organized crime Death Wish style. They both ignore the fact that the Punisher was originally created as a Spider-Man villain in 1974.
Since Spider-Man still belongs to Sony, a logical step would be to introduce the Punisher as the primary villain in a Daredevil reboot. In the comics, Daredevil has clashed with the Punisher before, most notably in the "Means & Ends" storyline in which Daredevil takes issues with the Punisher's brutal brand of justice.
It would be a great setup for an uneasy alliance between two characters with dramatically different philosophies, and also a way to lead into SHIELD's involvement -- since both Daredevil and Punisher would make great companion characters to Hawkeye and Black Widow.
Last but not least, Marvel should hire Frank Miller, the legendary comic book writer and artist who single-handedly revived Daredevil in the early 1980s, as the screenwriter. Although Miller has a mixed record with screenplays -- Robocop 2 and Robocop 3 were definitely not high points in his career -- he knows exactly how Daredevil should be written. It would be a move as clever as hiring Joss Whedon to pen and direct The Avengers.
Reboots #3 and #4: Blade and Ghost Rider
Meanwhile, Blade would be an easy character to reboot, since his story actually becomes intertwined with SHIELD's in the comics.
Rather than rely on a retired vampire hunter for guidance, as Wesley Snipes' Blade did in the original trilogy, it's likely that he will be saved and recruited by SHIELD, which will equip him with plenty of cool undead-killing toys to add some more fun to the mayhem.
And "fun" is a word that Blade definitely needs -- the original trilogy, for the most part, was a glum affair filled with Matrix/Underworld CGI flourishes that took itself far too seriously. A new take on the character, which mixes some old James Bond gadgetry magic with vampire-killing swordplay, would definitely breathe new life into the franchise.
Ghost Rider, however, will be a tougher film to reboot. The franchise has arguably been tarnished by Nick Cage's over-the-top theatrics and some epilepsy-inducing direction from Neveldine & Taylor in the second film, so Marvel will have to consider a serious reboot of the character to make it fit back into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Instead of sending him back to the big screen immediately, I think that Ghost Rider should be reintroduced into ABC's Marvel's Agents of SHIELD as a villain. As a reader pointed out in my previous article on SHIELD, the show could benefit from introducing recognizable CGI Marvel characters from the films, rather than rely on cameo appearances from the big-name actors.
Since Ghost Rider's head is usually engulfed in flames, he could make an interesting adversary for the SHIELD team to track down, and be a big improvement over some of the dull, cheesy villains that we've been seeing on the show. From there, it could just be a few steps back up for Ghost Rider to rejoin the continuous TV and movie universe that Marvel and Disney are building.
A final thought
Marvel obviously reacquired these four characters with an intent to reboot them somehow. For now, it's all speculation, but it will be interesting to see how Marvel and Disney plan to expand their vision of a seamless Marvel Cinematic Universe by integrating these characters.
Will Marvel's TV and movie universe eventually become as huge as its comic book one? I look forward to hearing your thoughts, dear readers. Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!
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The article How Marvel Should Reboot These 4 Movie Franchises originally appeared on Fool.com.Fool contributor Leo Sun owns shares of Walt Disney. The Motley Fool recommends Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of Walt Disney. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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