9 Hollywood Reboots That Shattered Expectations
by Phil Pirrello
The only thing Hollywood loves more than sequels are reboots. Everything from Batman to Bond has been given a do-over, with more franchises in the wings. In honor of "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" turning five this year, here are the best reboots that shattered expectations.
'Rise of the Planet of the Apes' (2011)
No one expected this to be good, let alone relaunch a dormant franchise from the '60s. But the emotionally-gripping, and riveting, tale of Caesar's rise and the fall of humankind is not only one of the best reboots ever, it's also one of the better sci-fi films to come out of the studio system in years.
'Mad Max: Fury Road' (2015)
More of a "rebootquel," "Mad Max: Fury Road" turned a dormant-for-three-decades franchise into a very viable and active one, rebooting Mad Max as a younger hero with more stories to tell. It scored big with both the Comic-Con set and general audiences for its perfect visual and emotional storytelling. "Shiny and chrome" and Furiosa FTW.
'The Sum of All Fears' (2001)
Paramount's first attempt to reboot the adventures of CIA analyst Jack Ryan is leagues better than their second try (sorry not sorry, "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.") Ben Affleck stars as Ryan, in this deliberately-paced, but smartly-written thriller involving a nuke on U.S. soil and its ties to a baddie threatening to the second coming of the Third Reich. It's not the best Jack Ryan movie, but it's much better than you think.
'Casino Royale' (2006)
The franchise rebooted with a new star and its first-ever adaptation of Fleming's first 007 novel. It's hard to remember now, but there were those who thought Daniel Craig wouldn't be macho enough to fill Bond's tux. Instead, he emerged as the best "Actor" to ever play the man. The gritty, grounded take on the super spy is basically "Bond Begins," using character-driven action and a tragic love story to forge 007 into the killer he is. And there's the most satisfying delivery ever of the immortal line "Bond, James Bond."
'X-Men: First Class' (2011)
Magneto's James Bond-inspired Nazi hunt is just one of the many great things about this 1960s-set prequel/reboot. It's basically "Magneto Begins," and "Professor X: Year One," as we witness the birth of the X-Men -- a genesis which finds them struggling to stop World War III during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
'Star Trek' (2009)
For the first time in the franchise's long history, The Final Frontier actually felt "big." Thanks to J.J. Abrams' reboot of the original Enterprise crew (now in an alternate timeline), "Star Trek" is a fun, action-packed blockbuster -- one that finally gives the series the budget and scope it needs to live up to the idea of "boldly going where no man has gone before."
'The Incredible Hulk' (2008)
The second Hulk movie attempted to address one of the major criticisms of the first, by instituting a “Less talking, more smashing” policy. It perhaps went a little too far in that direction, but “Incredible Hulk” still offered a somewhat satisfying dessert after the feast that was “Iron Man.”
Yes, it wasn't a box office smash. Or remotely a hit. Until it found its audience on DVD, that is, and holy sh** did they discover one of the decade's best and tightest action movies. It puts the '90s movie starring Sylvester Stallone to shame. Even though this reboot didn't spawn the franchise it was hoping to, it did shatter expectations by virtue of being better than anyone thought it would.
'Batman Begins' (2005)
The Alpha and Omega of reboots, "Batman Begins" was the first movie to make rebooting a thing. Christopher Nolan grounded the Dark Knight in a cinematic world where, for the first time, Batman was actually scary. Its impact is evident in many movies on this list, which wouldn't exist if it wasn't for the hero we need and deserve.