Dear Network Executive: The Case for Why a Wolverine Franchise Wonít Work
The release of the new X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie is in just over a month and I find my television set assaulted with endless commercials for the new movie. The thing is, I donít care. Donít get me wrong. I loved the X-Men cartoons as a kid, have read some of Chris Claremontís work, and I went to see all three X-Men movies. But letís face it X-3 was just plain bad. It was a badly written and badly executed story. But in typical Hollywood fashion, instead of just letting the franchise be (there are so many other franchises worth digging into!) they decide to mine the property one more time, with an origins story based on Wolverine. Which makes me wonder: Do spin-off franchises really work?
Case #1 is Catwoman. Everybody loves Catwoman in the Batman world. Sheís a wonderful villainess. But did audiences really need to see a Catwoman movie? Well, apparently not, considering the movie is rated 3.2 stars out of 10 on IMDB. The star of the movie, Halle Berry who played the title role, actually received a Razzie in 2004 for worst actress. The movie is almost a parody. Catwomanís costume is awful, the scripting is juvenile, and as I said already, Iím not the only one that thinks this.
Case #2: Elektra. Now, true, Daredevil wasnít exactly a brilliant movie to begin with, but it still shouldnít have led to Elektra's lightening fast delivery to DVD stores everywhere, shortly after it was released. Jennifer Garnerís portrayal of Elektra in Daredevil (heightened by Alias fever) was so popular a spin-off starring Garner was inevitable. Unfortunately, that doesnít mean itís good. Elektraís rating on IMDB, whilst being a little better than Catwoman is still an abysmal 4.9 and the movie was universally panned by critics. Another thing that Catwoman and Elektra and the Wolverine movie seem to share is that while the studio has coughed up for a star for the title role, the rest of the cast is somewhat more B-list. Catwoman co-starred Benjamin Bratt, whilst Elektra co-starred Goran Visnijic (yes, the guy from ER). And this new movie? While it does also star the always wonderful Liev Schreiber, it also stars a whole bunch of mini-X-Men. Does this automatically mean itís a bad movie? No, but it makes me wonder what else the studios is skimping on.
Can Wolverine carry his own movie? Iím not so sure of that, even despite the fact that he is a massively popular character. And of course, letís not forget some of the trailer clips which seem to go against what we already know about X-Men, such as Wolverine having claws as a kid. I just donít have high hopes for this movie. The movie has already had controversial re-shoots that led to Jackman releasing a statement to the fans about the re-shoots. While Iím sure Twentieth Century Fox has put some money into this movie, what I feel most of all, is that this is first and foremost, a way for Fox to wring every last penny out of this franchise, and thatís not okay with me. It hasnít worked before. And while Wolverine is more popular than Catwoman or Elektra, Iím certain it wonít work this time either. I know itís too late for this movie, but please, next time, just let it go. There are plenty of other comic book movies to be made.
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