It's the rare franchise that makes it to four films at all, so maybe just making it there is a badge of honor. Or, maybe not. The problem is each film in a superhero franchise has to keep topping the one before it, and by the time you reach film number four, it's very hard to keep from straying into the ridiculous.
Therefore, by using Hollywood logic, if the previous film jumps the shark, the only way to repair the damage is by jumping the shark again, backwards, and continuing the series from a previous point, ignoring the movies that came in the middle.
For instance, Superman IV had the distinction of proving all the critics wrong who claimed that no superhero movie could be worse than Superman III.
It was bad enough that the studio shut down the Superman cash cow for almost two decades. So Superman Returns required a reboot for casting if nothing else, since Christopher Reeve suffered his horrible accident and eventually died, and Margot Kidder (Lois Lane) was certifiably insane, probably from the horrors of working on Superman IV. Also, actresses her age are generally not allowed to continue acting, so they replaced her with an actress young enough that, according to the film's timeline, she would have been a teenager when the original film took place.
Thus not a single actor from the original four movies appeared in the fifth, other than Marlon Brando, who was brought back from the dead specially for this film. The storyline presumably picks up sometime during the events from Superman II, specifically after Superman bonks Lois Lane (the rules and physics for alien-superhero intercourse will have to be covered in another article).
Of course Superman IV didn't hold the title of worst superhero movie ever made for very long, as the fourth Batman film (Batman and Robin) came along to take the title, with the film makers trying to cram in so many villains, costumes and sets, the whole thing became a nightmarish mess. Thus when it came time for the fifth film reboot, the decision was made to pretend the entire first four movies never, ever happened.
We guess what we're saying is if they make Blade IV next year, run far, far away from the theater. Then come back a few years later for the reboot.
The fifth film reboot doesn't only apply to superhero movies, though maybe it should. The Rocky franchise got more and more inflated over the course of four films, culminating with Rocky, a legally retarded boxer, ending the Cold War. Stallone tried to do a "back to its gritty roots" reboot (twice) but the results were less than Batman Begins. And in case you thought there was no coming back from the fourth Karate Kid starring Hillary Swank, get ready for a Karate Kid reboot directed by Will Smith and starring his son Jaden. Seriously.
If the pattern holds, we should be due for gritty reboots of the Die Hard and Alien franchises any time now. Don't let us down, guys.
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