When asked which upcoming movies I am most anxious to watch, I instinctively feel I should reel off the titles of the intellectual-sounding Oscar nominees of The Artist, Moneyball, and The Tree of Life. Regardless of my response, I know my heart’s true desires lie with the latest installments of today’s countless sagas.
For some, the idea of yet another Twilight movie is tiresome—more broody expressions from vampires, werewolves and humans alike; endless displays of superhuman abilities; and never-ending exhibitions of sappy forbidden love. Nonetheless, I will most likely fork over the cash to pay for an overpriced cinema viewing of The Twilight Saga – Breaking Dawn Part 2—the fourth and last of the series. Is it the sight of Robert Pattinson’s sparkly abdominals? Or the dark and tanned ones of Taylor Lautner? Or is it the picturesque scenery and sweeping musical score?
Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, on the other hand, I anticipate with substantially less embarrassment. Although Bruce Wayne isn’t superhuman, his super cool gadgets and super admirable bravery keep us coming back for more. Just by casting the legendary Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine, The Dark Knight Rises already features elements of timelessness that won’t be going out of style any time soon. Bringing back blast from the past, Nolan also introduces the renowned Catwoman, played by Anne Hathaway. So is there anything new to offer in this last dose of Wayne’s romantic vigilantism?
There are the series that keep piling the sequels on, and then there are those that start over. Having not gotten enough of his arachnid coolness, we welcome Spider-Man’s comeback this year in The Amazing Spider-Man—a reboot of the 2002 series. Not a sequel but not quite a reboot, The Bourne Legacy replaces Matt Damon’s iconic Jason Bourne with a new leading man played by Jeremy Renner. Along with The Dark Knight Rises, both upcoming Spider-Man and Bourne feature young, hip and fresh characters with the hope of reviving the zealous popularity surrounding the old series, as well as introducing something refreshing into the mix. The new Batman welcomes the recently successful Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Thomas Hardy; Spider-Man casts the wildly successful The Social Network’s Andrew Garfield as the titular character and the popular Emma Stone as his love interest; while Bourne features the still young but established stars of Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton.
I once heard that the longer you stand in a line [or queue], the less likely you are to leave it. Is that what keeps us coming back to these seemingly endless film franchises—the psychology of commitment? While several of these series base their continuation on valid success, others do so out of sheer hope of becoming a blockbuster worthy of reboots. This year’s Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, for instance, follows 2007’s rather negatively reviewed Ghost Rider.
Debuting, however, is the first of The Hunger Games trilogy. Based on the tremendously successful novels of the same name, the plot centers on a futuristic society with gladiatorial customs, promising a thrilling and action-packed flick. Employing the aforementioned strategy of featuring both reputable and fresh names, The Hunger Games presents the young Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson, as well as the time-honored Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, and Woody Harrelson. Whether this year’s first episode of the trilogy will prove to be both a success and an obsession worthy of our commitment (voluntary or otherwise), only time will tell.
Not only are most of these upcoming flicks continuations of already established series, each one is an adaptation of a literary work; none of them are entirely original. Batman, Spider-Man and Ghost Rider are originally comics, while Twilight and The Hunger Games are based on novels.
Yet whether we’re bored of originality, or if the hold of commitment is just that strong, these sagas keep us coming back for more. And more.
Image credit – Quentin X