Slate is holding a reader survey asking which recent popcorn movies are actually in need of Hulk-style reboots. I’d probably start with Bryan Singer’s Superman, which wasn’t terrible but should’ve been far better and doesn’t hold up all that well. I’d also argue that the third Matrix film, Revolutions, ought to be scrapped and done over. Aside from a few nifty visual ideas, the movie’s wretched, and completely wastes the real potential of the series. It’s a frankly bizarre sequel in that it’s supposed to be the second half of Reloaded, but it basically ignores every single thing that happened in that film. Watch the end of Reloaded — a confused movie, sure, but a promising, interesting one too — and then watch the beginning of Revolutions. The disconnect is just incredible. The focus arbitrarily shifts to minor characters, and all of the major questions asked in Reloaded are discarded in favor of a terrible, terrible Wizard of Oz metaphor and some ill-conceived war sequences. Honestly, what happened?
While on this topic, I should add that Marvel already seems to have answered this question. The studio is making another Punisher film, hoping people will forget the awful one they made with Thomas Jane a few years back (as well, presumably, as the late-night cable ready Dolph Lundgren actioner that was put out in the late 80s). The trailer suggests it will be 1) both very red in hue and 2) at least somewhat better (though probably still no better than enjoyably bad), but it won’t have the release-date advantage of the original. That film hit theaters on the same day as Kill Bill 2, which meant I got to do a glorious revenge-film double header: roughly four full hours of buttery popcorn and faux-righteous, over-the-top violence. The original Punisher was indeed a hilariously terrible movie, but it made for a nearly perfect warm up for the second half of Tarantino’s opus of referential ass-kicking. Context can do wonders for even the cruddiest film.
(Like virtually every action film in the 80s, it co-starred Louis Gosset, Jr. )