Univer­sal fash­ion sense

Hav­ing an ex­tended movie uni­verse is so in right now, you guys.

Esquire (Singapore) - - Man At His Best -


70 per­cent sure In­de­pen­dence Day 2: Resur­gence is a pre­quel to the Power Rangers movie. That’s prob­a­bly the most op­ti­mistic thing that I’ve said all decade, and maybe the nicest thing any­one has ever said about ID2. If you haven’t seen it, you missed a B-moviequal­ity dis­as­ter flick that felt like noth­ing was re­ally at stake.

Near the end, ID2 sets au­di­ences up for the next two se­quels (gulp). Wait, what? That’s like or­der­ing a set meal based on the salad ap­pe­tiser only to find out the main is a bale of hay and dessert is the head of Great Old One, Cthulhu. The only way that this will make sense is if, in the se­quel, Liam Hemsworth and Jessie Usher de­cide to morph into blue and red Power Rangers. And why the hell not? It’s not like ev­ery­one else isn’t clam­ber­ing to be part of an ex­tended uni­verse.

Nowa­days, to make a prof­itable film, you sim­ply need to be as­so­ci­ated with an ex­ist­ing fran­chise. Let’s face it; if some­one made a movie about check­ing stock lev­els in a Manch­ester bot­tle cap fac­tory but linked it to the Star Wars uni­verse, we’d go see it. So nat­u­rally, ev­ery movie wants to make a big­ger deal out of the uni­verse that they cre­ate.

Does any­one re­mem­ber Drac­ula Un­told? Univer­sal have de­cided that a Marvel-like uni­verse would be the best way to re­vive the old-fash­ioned mon­ster genre, with Mummy, Wolf Man and The In­vis­i­ble Man re­boots planned. These guys are per­haps more de­serv­ing than oth­ers to “steal” Marvel’s idea. Their first cross­over movie, Franken­stein Meets the Wolf Man, came out in 1943. The New York Times called it “a great dis­ap­point­ment” be­cause the fight be­tween the two mon­sters came too lit­tle, too late. Now, why does that sound fa­mil­iar?

Be­cause that’s the ex­act re­ac­tion to Bat­man v Su­per­man: Dawn of Jus­tice. Build­ing a uni­verse isn’t nec­es­sar­ily a recipe for suc­cess, and the more fran­chises do it, the less im­pres­sive the feat be­comes. BvS did an aw­ful job of in­tro­duc­ing their uni­verse—liter- ally five video gifs at­tached in a sin­gle email—but at least it made sense. It’s an es­tab­lished brand with recog­nis­able char­ac­ters.

But how will a Call of Duty movie uni­verse make sense? We have plenty of war films fea­tur­ing priv­i­leged white peo­ple killing poorer, darker-skinned peo­ple—what can CoD add? In fact, when the Has­bro uni­verse gets go­ing, with GI Joe, MASK and Mi­cro­nauts, we’ll be in­un­dated with movies about white peo­ple feel­ing in­se­cure be­hind their heavy weapons.

These fash­ion­able movie uni­verses might make things look a lit­tle bleak right now (ex­cept for Marvel and Star Wars, of course), but stay op­ti­mistic! If we carry on this way, the stu­dios will end up com­bin­ing all their in­tel­lec­tual prop­er­ties into one mas­sive movie fea­tur­ing ev­ery­thing! It’ll be the movie adap­ta­tion of Ul­ti­mate Show­down of Ul­ti­mate Destiny (google it) and it’ll be freakin’ amaz­ing. Fin­gers crossed ID2 and Power Rangers de­cide to do that and be­come the cat­a­lyst for awe­some­ness.

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