It was a sunny summer day in 1997 when I made my way into a dark theater to see the newest Batman movie, Batman & Robin. I had enjoyed Batman Forever for the most part, and fully expected to enjoy this new film.
I did not. At all.
It was a complete mess, a piece of cinematic garbage that had me very close to walking out of the theater in disgust (only Mortal Kombat: Annihilation has actually succeeded in getting me to leave the theater before the end of the film). This was not the Batman I had come to know and love through Batman: The Animated Series and the original Burton film. I had tolerated Batman Returns, enjoyed Batman Forever because of the cool plane and Jim Carrey's Riddler. But I wanted a Dark Knight, dammit!
In 2005, I finally got my wish. And it was glorious, made only more so by The Dark Knight in 2008. Batman was the dark avenger I had always known him to be, at long last. And though The Dark Knight Rises wasn't perfect, it was a fitting enough end to the trilogy (if I ever make my own Batman movies, I'm going straight for a Knightfall trilogy. If people don't know the origin of Batman by now, it's their own damned fault). This was a perfect example of when a reboot saved a character for me. Batman was cool again, as opposed to a sad joke.
I will never reboot Batman. To me, it's been done perfectly. However, there are many other franchises out there that are dying, crushed by the bloated weight of studio greed and filmmaker incompetence.
I'm not fanboy raging here. I'm genuinely concerned, as someone who was literally raised by movies and television instead of human parents. I have learned honor through the 1980s version of Optimus Prime, wisdom through Yoda of The Empire Strikes Back, courage from the Batman of The Animated Series, compassion through the Christopher Reeve Superman, gender respect through the heroines of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and perseverance through the heroes of Deep Space Nine. My mind was expanded by the first Matrix and Unbreakable, and I have learned filmmaking from both the successes and missteps of the greats. I have studied the craft my entire life. I was brought up on it.
To see the franchises I had grown to love suffering under the likes of Orci, Kurtzman, Bay, Old Lucas, and Abrams is heartbreaking. I know these franchises can be better. I feel it in my very cells. And I feel like if I don't get myself into a position to do it, no one will. That may sound conceited, and maybe even crazy. After all, these are just movies and TV shows. But without them, I would be a far worse person. I owe them a great debt, and I can think of no greater way to repay that debt than to rescue them from the abyss of mediocrity.
For the next few weeks, I will be sharing my ideas to save the franchises. If those ideas are well-received, I'll write screenplays based on those ideas. The time for "secrets" and "surprises" has passed. We've had our hearts broken too many times. It's time filmmaking became a democratic, collective endeavor. And while you may know what's coming, there's a big difference between knowing it and experiencing it on screen.
The Matrix can still be liberated. The Enterprise can still be salvaged. The Galaxy Far, Far Away can still be freed. The Autobots can still prevail. The Aliens and Predators can become awesome again. Donatello, Leonardo, Raphael, and Michelangelo can still be fantastic. And the Phoenix can still burn brightly, and be saved by her X-Men comrades.
Yes, we are deep within the Dark Times. But as a wise man (before he was horribly disfigured and went insane) once said, "it is always darkest just before the dawn."