11 Movie Reboots, Ranked From Worst to Best
The only thing Hollywood loves more than a sequel, or remake, is a reboot. Blame Christopher Nolan, who kicked off the trend with his 2005 success, "Batman Begins." With the new "Fantastic Four" movie giving Marvel's first family a mulligan, here are 11 more reboots, ranked from worst to best.
11. 'Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit' (2014)
Chris Pine's failed attempt to notch another Paramount franchise under his belt does everything different from, and nothing better than, the previous Jack Ryan outings. The intermittently engaging but ultimately lazy plot finds Jack forced to unbelievably team up with his civilian fiancee (?!) in Russia on a mission to ugh who cares. Avoid this movie. Like the plague.
10. 'Man of Steel' (2013)
Expanding upon Superman's Kryptonian origins with a very "Avatar"-y prologue, Zack Snyder went louder and bigger with the second Superman relaunch in less than a decade. The end result is a very pretty, but emotionally shallow, affair that sparked so much debate about its ending -- which neglected to put any focus on the collateral damage Supes' city-destroying brawl with Zod caused -- that Snyder is practically making "Batman v Superman" to address those concerns. Let's hope Superman can be better serviced as a co-star in this team-up than he was when headlines his solo film.
9. 'Superman Returns' (2006)
Yes, in Bryan Singer's film, Superman doesn't throw a punch. But neither did Richard Donner's Kal-El in his first Superman movie, which "Returns" serves as a quasi-sequel (rebootquel?) that finds Supes returning to Earth after a long absence to find a world that's moved on without him -- just as Lex Luthor resurfaces to cause worldwide trouble. While "Returns" is too much of a love letter to Donner's film for its own good, it does provide more earned moments to emotionally invest in than Snyder's reboot, which favored punching over heart.
8. 'The Sum of All Fears' (2002)
Ben Affleck's first, and only, stab at the Jack Ryan role pits him against a rising neo-Nazi faction with the means to nuke a hole in the world. Tonally, it's a very assured adaptation of the Tom Clancy book -- with strong supporting work from CIA mentor Morgan Freeman and President James Cromwell. While it lacks the showy pieces of "Shadow Recruit," it makes up for it by being a thousand times more watchable.
7. 'The Incredible Hulk' (2008)
The most neglected of Marvel's Phase One films, "Incredible Hulk" is a significant improvement over Ang Lee's noble misfire -- less extreme close-ups of moss, more "Hulk SMASH!" Edward Norton is especially likable as the Big Guy's alter ego, Bruce Banner, as he goes on the lam to eventually duke it out with Abomination on the streets of Harlem. A gold star to whomever thought of the set piece where Hulk uses two halves of a car as boxing gloves.
6. 'Dredd' (2012)
Audiences wisely caught up with this underrated action film on home video, which all but erases Stallone's crappy "Judge Dredd" from memory. Karl Urban (and his squared jaw) star in this ultra-violent and very inventive comic book adaptation that's "Die Hard" meets "The Raid." If you have yet to see this film, fix that. Soon.
5. 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes' (2011)
While "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" builds upon the storytelling here and takes it to exceptional levels, attention must be paid to "Rise" successfully rebooting the almost 50-year-old franchise. The photo-real CG apes, coupled with the script's commitment to emotionally honest human-ape drama, makes "Rise" one of the genre's best entries.
4. 'X-Men: First Class' (2011)
A modest success at the box office, creatively, "First Class" marks a high point for the X-Men franchise. It's basically "Magneto Begins," as we explore the origins of mutant heroes and villains as the evil Sebastian Shaw (scene-stealer Kevin Bacon) threatens to use the Cuban Missile Crisis to spark WWIII. Director Matthew Vaughn ("Kingsman: The Secret Service") treats the 60s-set adventure like a Bond film -- even Magneto (Michael Fassbender) goes Nazi hunting with Connery-esque gusto -- and the end result is quality blockbuster filmmaking.
3. 'Star Trek' (2009)
Before leaving for "Star Wars," J.J. Abrams put a very "galaxy far, far away" stamp on this highly entertaining and rewatchable sci-fi adventure. For the first time in the history of "Trek" on the big screen, space actually feels like The Final Frontier, as Kirk, Spock and the rest of the Enterprise crew get the alternate reality treatment while also boldly going where no previous "Trek" movie had gone before.
2. 'Casino Royale' (2006)
Despite initial fan outcry, Daniel Craig proved himself as more than capable in the role of James Bond -- arguably delivering the best performance of any actor in the role with this prequel/reboot. "Casino Royale" pits Bond against a terrorist in literally the highest-stakes poker game ever, going the Nolan route to ground Bond in a very real world where he can get hurt, and, even riskier, fall in love. When comes to "Best Bond Ever" talks, it's either "Royale" or "Skyfall."
1. 'Batman Begins' (2005)
For the first time in his long movie history, The Dark Knight came off as actually something to be feared. Using the theme of fear, Christopher Nolan crafted a near-flawless sprawling epic that just happens to be a comic book movie. Gary Oldman and Michael Caine lead an inspired supporting cast, as Christian Bale delivers the closest version of the comics' Batman yet. "Begins" is character-first storytelling at its finest; if only more reboots could be this great.