Miscalibrated Internet Receptor Stalks

A Franchise Dream Deferred

I watched chunks of RIPD and Amazing Spider-Man 2 on cable tonight, and I could almost tell that the filmmakers realized, on an instinctual level, that the audience just wasn't going to give a crap. There's just the sense that they understood that all the big emotional/funny "beats" they'd worked so hard to craft were going to have all the impact of a wet fart in a monsoon.

I think what distinguishes the Marvel movies, as well as most Pixar films, and things like the LEGO Movie, is that there's this tremendous sense of confidence that you can sense going into the project that the audience is really gonna care what happens to the characters, and that's what the eventual brand, or the franchise, is gonna be built upon. There isn't a heavy reliance on an abstruse mythology or an origin story, so much as the cultivation of a deep interest in what's coming next. What works just becomes part of the overall legendarium; what doesn't is forgotten as swiftly as Spider-Tyrion's acrobatics.

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Of course, lots of good would-be franchises don't quite get their moment in the sun — or spawn sequels worthy of the original — and there are utter shitpiles like Transformers that seem unkillable. What do you think? Is there some quality that comes through?

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