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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Ultimate Geek Fu

What else could UGF be talking about today but The Avengers, opening in movie theaters all across North America this coming Friday?

It's already opened overseas and raked in about a zillion-kajillion bucks so far, so no need to worry about whether there's going to be an Avengers 2. In fact, Chris ("Captain America") Evans is reportedly under contract to make a total of six films, including two more Captain America sequels and two more Avengers sequels. Along with that Iron Man 3 either has begun or is shortly to begin filming, Thor 2 is already in the works, and Samuel L. Jackson reportedly is unhappy he's not getting his own Nick Fury movie, so if the Marvel universe is your thing, you're set for a good long time to come.

They'll eventually jump the shark, of course. Hollywood being Hollywood and Marvel being Marvel, sooner or later they're absolutely bound to make another Spider-Man 3, or X-Men: First Class, or Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. The history of cinematic franchises is littered with such miserable wreckage. Consider, if your stomach can handle it, Star Trek: Nemesis, Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, or Blade III: Who Cares What the Subtitle Was? If your memory reaches back that far you might even consider Powell & Loy's Thin Man movies, Warner Oland's Charlie Chan movies, or the only seemingly endless series of sequels spawned by the original Boris Karloff film, The Mummy.

Sooner or later, a successful franchise inevitably turns on itself, and invariably, you wind up with a  Charlie Chan on Broadway or an Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy.

So there's today's UGF challenge. This coming Friday, of course, we will all be in the theaters, with a jumbo bucket of popcorn in one hand and a bladder-buster size Coke in the other, eagerly taking in every thrilling moment of The Avengers. But just for today, I want you to imagine that you are in charge of the Marvel universe, and it's a couple years down the road, and however unwittingly, you're about to make the franchise totally jump the shark.

What's your idea for the movie that will kill the franchise for a generation to come? Thor Loves Jane: The Sit-Com? Iron Man Meets Emo-Spider-Man? The Incredible Hulk on Broadway?

Let the arguments begin...
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