Top List Thursday – Top Ten Best Movie Franchise Reboots

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So it seems that you guys have a lot to say about reboots. A lot. And rightly so, seeing as too often the word “reboot” has become a synonym for “using fans’ memories as toilet paper”. But sometimes, the film gods smile down and the planets align and I mix a whole lot of metaphors, and we actually get a reboot that not only works, but works damn well. Here are ten of them.

The Amazing Spider-Man

Yes, I wasn’t completely sold on Marc Webb’s rebooted adventures of Rabobi, especially since they outright lied in their trailers and got all snippy in the editing room, but there was a hell of a lot that was done better than Sam Raimi’s trilogy. Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker/Spider-Man was a pitch perfect translation from screen to page, the costume and character designs were better, Spidey’s supporting cast finally had some personalities, and, most importantly, no snaggle toothed Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson.

Man of Steel

Okay yes, destruction porn and all that, but by Rao’s Kryptonian cojones, when Supes started throwing down against Faora and co in Smallville, like the blue and red pyjama wearing alien god that we fans always believed him to be, my grin was so wide that it nearly bisected my skull. Bryan Singer’s previous reboot, Superman Returns, looked like the lame-o-bizarro version of this in retrospect.

21 Jump Street

Seriously, hands up anybody that expected this 2012 film reboot starring Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill to be any good? A classic, but cheesy TV drama from the 1980’s being turned into a R-rated comedy starring a talking six-pack and that fat kid from Superbad who’s suddenly not fat anymore? This shouldn’t have been any where as good as it was, but not only did it turn out hilarious, it did something that I had considered impossible: Get me to not hate Channing Tatum.

Buffy  The Vampire Slayer

Speaking of TV/Movie reboots, sometimes the magic works the other way. It’s rather telling that many people actually have zero idea that spunky nosferatu ass kicker Buffy and her Scooby Gang actually started life on the big screen, when Joss Whedon’s apparently superb script got turned into a rather mediocre movie starring Kristy Swanson. It was only when Whedon got to do Buffy 2.0 on TV with Sarah Michelle Gellar now in the title role that things went from meh to amazing. Well, actually that was only in Season 2, because lets be honest, while the actors did a fantastic job bringing Whedon’s words to life, Season 1 had the production quality of an informercial for a revolutionary new mop.

The Muppets

“Am I a maaaaaaaaaaan or am I a muppet? (am I a muppet?) If I’m a muppet then I’m a very manly muppet (a very manly muppet). Am I a muppeeeeeeeeet (muppet) or am I a man? (am I a man?) If I’m a man that makes me a muppet of a man (a muppet of a man).”

That song alone earns this reintroduction of the classic characters a spot on this list. And then you still have to add in the maniacal laugh, maniacal laugh!

Star Trek

Once you regain your sense of sight after having your retinas broiled away by one too many lens flares, you’ll see that what JJ Abrams pulled off with this 2009 reboot of the classic sci-fi franchise was rather brilliant: Reinvent just about everything, without poo-poo-ing all over the original. It was fun, slick and perfect summerARGH MY EYES! DAMN YOU, ABRAMS! YOU’RE LUCKY THIS MOVIE WAS SO GOOD!

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Hands down the biggest surprise on this list. The only people who expected a reboot of a decades old sci-fi franchise that featured guys in monkey suits riding horses, by a relatively unknown director and writer and starring James Franco and Draco Malfoy, to not only be good but one of the best films of 2011, were probably taking copious amounts of hallucinogenics. And yet, that’s exactly what happened as director Rupert Wyatt’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes proved that it wasn’t monkeying around. Because it was bloody good and apes aren’t monkeys. Just to be clear.

X-Men: First Class

So maybe it’s not so much a reboot as it is an alternate timeline, as we’ve now learned with the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past, but Matthew Vaughn’s psychedelic, yellow jumpsuited take on the previous leather bound X-films was a superpowered breath of fresh air. A breath that completely blew away all the buzzing flies, and smell of digested death that was coming from the steaming turd that was X3: The Last Stand.

Casino Royale

“Blonde, James Blonde”, this was the type of lame joke that was levelled at the unexpected casting of Daniel Craig in the role of the world’s greatest lover and part time spy, James Bond. Except, there wasn’t a single person laughing when Casino Royale eventually got released (well except MGM’s bank manager) as the film gave the franchise – which had ironically been turning into a less funny, slightly bigger budgeted version of Austin Powers – a swift and very grim ‘n gritty kick in the pants.

It made Bond cool again, and also taught men everywhere to fear cane furniture with mysterious holes cut out of the seats.

Batman Begins

Speaking of grim and gritty… Chris Nolan’s decidedly un-comic book like take on the Dark Knight was about as far removed as you could get from Joel Schumacher’s neon, bat-nippled schlockfests. Nolan, about as unlikely a choice to helm a Batman film as there could ever be, showed the world that sometimes you just needed to treat the source material with a bit of respect. Also, talk like you’ve been smoking twenty a day since you were a fetus.

The result was undoubtedly the definitive cinematic vision of Batman that not only raised the bar stupidly high for any future iterations of the character (that means you, Mr Affleck) but for all comic book movies in general. And that’s not even including the twisted genius that was Heath Ledger’s Joker in the sequel.

Last Updated: September 12, 2013

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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