Punisher: War Zone

Maybe this could be better put in the “studios are dumb” section, but I’m getting a little bit weary of some relaunched properties.  A couple of relaunches have proved to be very successful – Batman and James Bond, notably.  They took them in a new direction, rewound virtually to zero and now we have two awesome franchises.  But that doesn’t mean relaunching anything that failed to perform is a good idea, in fact, it’s kind of stupid.

This weekend Punisher: War Zone hits theaters and instead of being a sequel to the recent 2004 The Punisher, rewinds and retells the origin and ignores the previous film.  Smart move?  I don’t think it was necessary.  First of all, everyone who reads this site knows we love Tom Jane here and I honestly enjoy his version of the Punisher and liked the direction they were heading and the road they were taking to get there.  Sure, there were problems and setting it in Miami didn’t necessarily make any sense.  But at the end of the film, it was a good origin.  Now, only a few years later, we’re starting over.  We all know the Punisher’s origin by now, so why retell it?  Why relaunch?  Why not just pick up and go?  It is a bad sign, of course, that at least three people walked away from the project citing concerns about a bad script (Tom Jane, potential director John Dahl, and writer Kurt Sutter).

Superman Returns was a pretty abysmal movie, so DC has found the answer.  Relaunch it!  Make it dark!  Make it Batman Superman Begins! Bad idea.  Again, we know the Superman origin.  We know the basics.  You can ignore a lot of what happened in Returns, change directors and actors, and just create a new Superman story.  The thing about a lot of these characters is that we already know them.  They are already franchised.  We don’t need to hear the whole story, just a story.  We get who and what Superman or the Punisher is and represents and we just want to see them in different scenarios.  You don’t have to relaunch and start from scratch and try to make a serial every time.

That said, I will admit that The Incredible Hulk did a good job of taking the franchise in a new direction after a pretty short period of time.  The reason?  They ejected the origin story.  The entire origin of the Hulk was compressed into about a 5 minute intro.  Then we got a Hulk story.  And it was pretty fun.  I’m looking forward to the relaunch of Friday the 13th, as the new version of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was good and gory.  Rob Zombie’s Halloween was unnecessary and the original was great and we probably could have just used another installment done well, rather than a new start.

So all I’m saying is Hollywood, chill out.  Don’t rush these things.  What is your obsession with starting over?  Just pick up the broken pieces, fix them, and go forward.  Don’t retell the same story, just tell a new story and do it better.  Maybe I’m the only one who gives a shit and maybe everyone out there is fine with the same story told with new faces.  But I’m not and every time I see a useless relaunch being fired at my face I go right past my boiling point.

What do you think of relaunches – especially those with short turn arounds?


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