4 Sequels Hollywood Should Have Made by Now
With the current box office landscape dominated almost exclusively by sequels, arguing for even more sequels is bound to be a fairly unpopular opinion. Moviegoers have had enough superhero trilogies, they're frustrated because every single movie suddenly becomes a "franchise" by default now (there's another Journey to the Center of the Earth movie?), and I've personally lost track of how many Pirates of the Caribbean movies exist. Considering the fact that studios don't have a problem making another Jason Bourne movie despite the fact that Jason Bourne isn't even in it, there's no reason to assume this trend will stop any time soon, either.
But I'm not looking for sequels just for the sake of making sequels. Some movies leave amazing little ideas completely unexplored, because sometimes there's just too much awesomeness to cram into one movie. That's what I'm talking about. Not sequels that could be made; sequels that should be made.
The Iron Giant
I don't have a lot of room in my brain for criticism on Brad Bird's directorial debut, The Iron Giant, because I absolutely love that movie, which is exactly why the only way I can improve it is by expanding it with a sequel. My single complaint about The Iron Giant is that I could have used more The Iron Giant.
If you haven't seen it, The Iron Giant is an amazing animated feature about an enormous, metallic robot sent to Earth from some other planet bent on ruling or otherwise destroying the world. The Giant, voiced by Vin Diesel, was originally programmed by his alien creators for war and mayhem and was, by all accounts, completely unstoppable.
"Hi, my name is John Irongiantington, and I'm made of guns!"
Thanks to the help of a lovable young Earth boy, the Iron Giant miraculously overcomes his programming, learns the value of human life and settles on a life of protecting and preserving humans, instead of crushing them all with his hundreds and hundreds of guns. Or, his feet. He could easily crush us with feet (he's very tall).
We learn that the real enemy in Iron Giant is the paranoid United States government officials who, instead of trying to understand and communicate with the Giant, stoop to desperate, shady methods and go to extreme lengths to obliterate it, even if it means losing innocent lives in the process.
The Imaginary Sequel:
No, no, the real enemy is absolutely the alien race that sent an unstoppable war robot to destroy the Earth. The government officials went a little overboard, sure, but the fellas who loaded a metal skeleton full of lasers and machine guns? They're the bad guys.
Even if the Giant decides to commit himself to a life of peace, there's still a technologically superior race somewhere in the stars that, for no clear reason, wants to beat the absolute shit out of us, and they're not going anywhere.
Realistically speaking, a sequel to The Iron Giant would follow what happens when the alien warlords, assuming their original Giant was defeated, decide to send another, possibly more advanced Giant. They didn't have an adorable kid sidekick, so they never learned about how precious human life is, so they wouldn't stop at just one war machine; they'd send wave after wave of gun-filled robo-monsters until they reach their goal.
It would sort of be like Terminator 2; the first robot didn't work, so now the enemies have to send out a better robot. Except the new robot has to fight the old robot, who understands love thanks to a child sidekick and his hard-working single mom. Wow, holy shit, it's exactly like Terminator 2.
In Kill Bill, a woman, Beatrix Kiddo, gets shot to near death by a quartet of assassins and their assassin boss (her former lover), on her wedding day. They also steal her baby. She falls into a coma, eventually wakes up, and proceeds to hunt down and exact her revenge on the five people who wronged her. There's a lot of murder, a bunch of ninja fights and a pretty interesting though completely unnecessary deconstruction of Superman.
It's pretty awesome.
The first assassin that we see Kiddo kill is Vernita Green (Vivica A. Fox). Kiddo tracks her to her suburban, Pasadena home, fights her for a while, and ultimately throws a knife through her heart. This all unfortunately happens right in front of Vernita's 4-year-old daughter, Nikki.
This was absolutely not part of Kiddo's plan. When Kiddo realizes that Nikki was watching, she apologizes, explains that Nikki's mother had it coming, and says "When you grow up -- if you still feel raw about [this] -- I'll be waiting," (it's this scene).
That happens within the first 20minutes of Kill Bill: Volume I, and it's the last we see of Nikki ...
The Imaginary Sequel:
... until the future! I hope, anyway. A Kill Bill: Volume III that follows grown-up Nikki, another strong, scorned woman out for revenge is just begging to be made. Or, if it's not begging to be made, I am begging someone to make it.
KB:3 would be just as action-packed and exciting but with an added layer of moral ambiguity (moral ambiguity sells, right? Moral ambiguity is sexy, right?). The first two installments were about a clear protagonist (Kiddo), and a clear antagonist (Bill). There was no question that Bill was manipulative and underhanded, and there was no question that Kiddo was the gal you wanted to root for. Volume III would show us that things aren't that clear cut, because nothing ever is. It would be a Kill Bill to make us think about stuff.
But with sword fights, too.
The audience already loves Kiddo, the badass, strong-willed woman who doesn't know the meaning of taking shit. Of course we want her to win; she's Medea. The audience will also probably like grown-up Nikki, the hardened, similarly strong woman who had to watch her parent get murdered, right in front of her. We want her to win, too; she's Lady Batman.
Who's the "good guy" in that fight? Who should win? It's not an easy answer. This movie would have all of the badass ridiculousness of a Quentin Tarantino with all of the interesting complexity of ... like, "life," I guess.
Also? Kill Bill III would be Batman versus Medea, you guys!
In Independence Day, an army of evil but technologically superior aliens travel to Earth bent on world domination. They spend the first two-thirds of the movie wreaking absolute havoc on our planet until they are defeated by the ragtag team of Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, Magilla Gorilla and one of the "Bill" actors whose last name starts with a P, whichever one wasn't in Aliens.
Left to right: Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, An Actual Trained Ape, Bill ... Patton?
By giving the aliens a sophisticated computer virus, and subsequently shooting them with much less-sophisticated bullets, the humans bring down the alien space bases all over the world.
"It truly was an independence day," one of the characters probably never remarked at one point.
The Imaginary Sequel:
Independence Day 2 should have taken place immediately after the events of Independence Day, and it should have been a cross between Independence Day and The Patriot.
A few years ago, Jacopo della Quercia wisely pointed out that, just because the alien ships crashed to earth doesn't mean all of the aliens contained therein are dead. In fact, there's plenty of evidence in the movie to suggest that the aliens are perfectly capable of withstanding these kinds of crash landings.
So, what happens when ships that are 15 miles wide crash land in major cities all over the world and thousands and thousands of tentacle-waving, armor-wearing, telepathic and pissed off aliens spill out into town? Man versus alien in hand-to-hand combat is what happens.
It's just like in the Revolutionary War film, The Patriot. The invading aliens, with their technological superiority and telepathic mutant powers are just like the British, and the humans, with their heart, determination and home-field advantage, are just like the Mel Gibson-fronted militia.
British people can control minds, right? That wasn't just a nightmare I had, right?
Independence Day 2 (or Windependence Day, or Indeependence Day, if I decide to set the sequel mostly under water), would be two hours of furious aliens, desperate for a victory now that they've lost their trips home, versus a bunch of strong-willed, strong-smithed humans in a man-on-alien battle for world dominance. I can't be the only person in America who wants to watch Jeff Goldblum and Will Smith hiding in the jungle, setting traps for the invading aliens, like the wacky and deadly game of cat-and-mouse that Home Alone should have been. I just can't be.
The Dark Knight
This is where I'd summarize the plot of The Dark Knight for anyone who hasn't seen it, but if you're reading Cracked, there's no reason for us to bullshit each other: You've seen The Dark Knight, and if you haven't, you're not the kind of person I'm writing for, nor will you ever be.
It's just as well. My plot summary would have just been a bunch of pictures of awesome explosions mixed with the phonetic representation of the odd humming sound my erection makes whenever it knows someone is watching Dark Knight within a five-mile radius. I went to a doctor with this condition and he described it as "not harmful" or "scientifically possible," but "ultimately really badass, from a strictly non-medical perspective." (Because of its sonic nature, we're calling it an "earection" for now.)
"I'd prescribe some pills to make this sensation stop, but I get the feeling you don't want it to."
The Imaginary Sequel:
Just to be clear, I know The Dark Knight has a sequel in The Dark Knight Rises, and I know that it will absolutely be better than whatever I come up with. But I also know that mine will be totally different, and that I sure would like to see it.
In Nolan's Batman trilogy, so far we've seen Bruce Wayne become Batman, and we've seen him question and then ultimately embrace this decision. Since he can't be Batman forever, the logical third step in the franchise is the end of Batman, which, as my coworker Cody suggests, means Bruce Wayne has to die. I don't think Wayne needs to die, but I do believe that he has to stop being Batman. We've already seen him struggle and support his decision to become the Dark Knight; to see him support that choice again in a third Batman movie would just be redundant, and a surprising misstep in a franchise that's clearly been building to something.
Here's where I'm going to lose some readers: the boldest and most interesting thing that Christopher Nolan can do is prove that Bruce Wayne becoming Batman was the wrong choice. Because really, it is. Objectively. Batman helps clean up the street, but his vigilante-copycat-inspiring antics are ultimately dangerous for Gotham (a point raised in The Dark Knight), and his ridiculous, over-the-top style will only encourage more ridiculous and over-the-top villains (a point raised in After Hours). For Nolan's trilogy to reach its logical conclusion, Batman needs to, as Harvey Dent put it, "Live long enough to see [himself] become a villain."
He needs to become an ultimate villain, too, not just a power-hungry jerk that operates in a moral grey area. Rachel Dawes, the love of Wayne's life, died as a result of his reckless shenanibatmanigans, and that didn't stop Wayne from fighting the good bat-fight, so it's going to take quite a lot to get him to retire. Bruce Wayne needs to see himself as a monster, a monster that's so horrible he would have to hang up his mask and quit Batmanning forever. Since this is Bruce Wayne we're talking about, the most monstrous thing he could see himself doing would be to kill his own parents. Which, obviously, he can't do.
Or can he?
Alfred cares more about Batman than anyone in the world (excluding me, obviously). He took care of Bruce as a boy. He raised Bruce. He covers for Bruce whenever he decides to go Batmanning all over town, he stitches Wayne up when said Batmanning doesn't go as well as Batplanned. He lies, helps defraud Wayne Enterprises and breaks several laws, all for Bruce Wayne. He's like a father to Bruce. And if you think that Alfred wouldn't kill to protect Bruce's secret identity, then you're vastly underestimating the strength of a father-son bond.
That's the Batman movie I'd make. The film opens on a series of murders, and all of the victims are people who, through research and analysis, are clearly on the verge of discovering Batman's identity. The police are hunting Batman, because clues support the idea that Batman would be the one to murder to protect his own identity, and Batman meanwhile is doing his best detective work to find the real killer, to clear his name and to, you know, stop all of that killing. But he can't catch the real killer, who always seems to be one step ahead of Batman. It's almost like the killer knows everything before Batman knows it; he's a better detective and knows exactly how to fly under Batman's radar. Only someone with intimate knowledge of Batman could be that good at avoiding capture. And obviously they'd probably have some kind of police or military background.
Alfred. Because Alfred, decades ago, swore to Thomas Wayne that he would protect Bruce with his life, it's clear that he would do anything to preserve Wayne's secret identity, even if it meant killing a bunch of people who could potentially reveal everything. It wouldn't be an easy choice, but Alfred knew that being Batman's associate was never going to be easy. It means being the Alfred that Batman needs, not the Alfred that Batman deserves.
Batman, being Batman, would eventually catch and be forced to stop Alfred, by any means necessary (death or jail, which would also basically be death). Essentially, Batman would be killing his own father figure, thereby watching his father die twice. It would be heartbreaking and horrible and difficult, but it would also be the only thing that could teach Bruce that being Batman does come with a cost, a cost that even he can't withstand. Nolan's Batman universe is a realistic one, and in reality, no one should be Batman, because it's wrong. Legally, morally and ethically.
The first two Batman movies set this up so perfectly, I would almost be depressed if Nolan didn't end up making this movie. I say "almost" because, again, Nolan will make a different movie and it'll be way, WAY better. Certainly less depressing, anyway.
Daniel O'Brien is Cracked.com's senior writer (ladies) and is prepared to write any of these movies (movie people).