Mission Impossible, John Wick, Fast & Furious or Creed show that the great action movie sagas continue to work in the face of the failure of many other Hollywood franchises.
Year 2023 is being catastrophic for the box office of blockbusters Hollywood. Two movies that, a priori, had ballots to be the most popular of the year, Flash and Indiana Jones, have ended up causing millions in losses to two of the biggest majors: Disney and Warner.
It is partly to blame exorbitant budgets of more than 250 million dollars, but if that happens in the first place it is for a blind faith in fan service and believe that a popular saga will always be so.
The itch to see the heroes of our childhood with wrinkles and gray hair, which led to Episode VII of Star Wars in 2015, it no longer works the same as before.
The stars of those two recent blockbusters (Harrison Ford with 80 years and, in Flash, the co-starring role of Michael Keaton like 70-year-old Batman) are two action characters totally out of place in 2023. It’s time to turn the page, and if a saga wants to stay young forever, digital makeup is not enough: they must offer something new.
It is not an aversion to franchises and sequels: other sagas like Fast & Furious, Creed (Rocky) o John Wick they still work great.
And now a new installment is released in the queen of all action sagas: Mission Impossible: Deadly Judgment Part 1, with a very rare 99% en RottenTomatoes and starring Tom Cruise still surfing on the success of Top Gun Maverick, one of last year’s highest grossing hits. What do these franchises have that Indiana Jones doesn’t?
The last of Indiana Jones may not be the worst in the saga, but it had many flaws, all permeated by a feeling of reluctance which can be summed up little justifiable reason to exist: if a director or screenwriter left, he was exchanged for another.
I will not be naive: no commercial film Is it “necessary” or “unnecessary”?. They are all born from a mathematical projection: if the accounts are expected to be positive, they go ahead.
Despite this, Indiana Jones 5 stays so half throttle in everything (script, action scenes, the supposed closure of the character) that gives the impression of having been done only to meet the demands of some shareholders, because it was Indiana Jones and how could another Indiana Jones not be made!, without being motivated by a true intention of tell something or show something that has never been told or seen before.
The action franchises that refuse to grow old
John Wick may experience the same thing as Indy, and may also suffer from burnout in a few years, if the planned spin-offs don’t pan out. But at the moment it is a saga that rises like foam, with each new installment performing better than before both commercially and before the public and critics.
In John Wick 4, the director Chad Stahelskiforever enshrined in the action movie pantheon alongside a Keanu Reeves With incombustible charisma, he accepts the challenge of overcoming the insurmountable with choreography and photography that show that you can still innovate and surprise when shooting action scenes.
Creed is a curious example, because it is a franchise that was born with the same purpose as the wave of “nostalgic sequels” of the last eight years: showing the decline of a mythical character from the seventies and eighties action cinema.
However, in his third installment ya no sale Stallone, withdrawn in time with a very dignified ending, and that has not prevented it from becoming the highest grossing of the three, with a fourth film already secured. Instead they focus on Adonis Creed, played by Michael B. Jordanone of the best actors of his generation, turning Creed into a 21st century franchise fully fledged
And we cannot forget about Fast & Furious, a saga that knew how to reinvent itself until it became Universal’s “top” franchise, with truly spectacular action scenes and still betting on a large number of practical special effects– Real crashes, stunts and explosions, minimizing the CGI.
And that brings us to this week, the return of Ethan Hunt in Mission Impossible. Perhaps it is a franchise that was born in a series of the 60s and then returned with a remake by Brian de Palma in 1996.
But the Mission Impossible that we all know now is a totally different entity, personalized in Tom Cruise not only as an actor, but also as a producer, who along with Christopher McQuarrie has created the definitive action saga of the 21st century (especially from the fourth installment).
After a very disappointing month of June (along with Flash and Indiana Jones, films like Transformers or Elemental have also been released with very poor box office results), Tom Cruise once again has the mission of saving summer.
Projections forecast that he could earn up to 250 million dollars in its first week (opens Wednesday in more than 70 markets), but due to its budget it would need to exceed $700 million to be profitable.
Mission Impossible, John Wick, Creed y Fast & Furiouseven with their disparate origins and their irregularities, they know bring freshness and innovation to action and spectacle cinema of today, in a way that other franchises, driven by inertia and pedigree, are unable to achieve.