Walt Disney Studios via Everett Collection/Paramount via Everett Collection
Not all sidekicks are created equal. Some can be an invaluable godsend, while others can be a mind-numbing liability. in building their vast cinemanic universe, Marvel has brought to life a ton of lovable and loathable sidekicks to screen, and some plucky companions are better than others. In prepearation of the upcoming film Captain America: The Winter Soldier, we've graded each Avenger's group of sidekicks. With categories including fighting skills, quippiness, and ability not to get captured, see if you're favorite group of second stringers makes the grade.
Stark Industries and Associates (Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3)
Members: Pepper, Rhodey, Happy, JARVIS, Black Widow (occasionally), Harley (the kid from Iron Man 3)Fighting Skills: Modest. Rhodey has his own version of an Iron Man suit, but it doesn't seem like he's all that great at using it. Meanwhile, Pepper and Happy are both pretty useless when it comes to fighting. The standout here would be Black Widow, but her contributions to the grade is stunted by the fact that she only appeared in one of the three Iron Man films.Intelligence: High. While Happy is often characterized as being pretty dopey, Rhodey is a high ranking military officer and Pepper is the current CEO of Stark Industries, so they certainly have the smarts. The obvious stand out in this category is JARVIS. Tony Stark's computerized assistant/butler has given Tony the edge in many a sticky situation.Quippiness: Off the charts high. The Iron Man films often feel more like comedies than action films thanks to the abundance of snark flowing from every mouth on screen. Damsel in Distress Rating: Off the charts high. While this team should be better at fending for themselves, considering Rhodey is literally a second Iron Man, they all require saving a whole hell of a bunch (seriously, get it together Cheadle). Plus, Iron Man 3 adds Harley, a pouty 10-year-old: the most vulnerable sidekick type there is. Poor Tony has his hands full.Overall: B
Sif and the Warriors Three (Thor, Thor: The Dark World)
Members: Sif, Volstagg, Fandrall, HogunFighting Skills: Very high. These near ageless god-like warriors have a couple millennia of fighting experience under their belts. This, plus their juiced-up Asgardian strength give them an edge when compared to most superhero sidekicks.Intelligence: Modest. These four fierce warriors know their way around ancient weaponry, but the finer points of modern earthly society seem escape them. Just like Thor, the Warriors Three often seem baffled by life on earth,which has the potential to get them into trouble.Quippiness: Modest.While Fandrall is a sly romantic at heart and is shown to have the gift of gab, most of these guys aren't the most quick-witted band of fighters. They're also missing about five thousand years of built-up pop culture to bounce off of, so our post-millenium love of snark might be lost on them.Damsel in Distress Rating: Low. Thor can rest easy. These guys are more than adept at handling themselves in battle.Overall: B+
The Soldier Squad (Captain America: The First Avenger)
Members: Bucky Barnes, Gabe Jones, Dum Dum Dugan, Jim Morita Fighting Skills: Moderately high. This is a handful of highly trained soldiers, but for all of their tenacity and hoorah fighting spirit, these guys are still plushy and vulnerable humans without powers or advanced technology. When facing of against supernatural threats, they likely won’t stand a chance. It also doesn’t help that they’re saddled with vintage 1940s weaponry.Intelligence: Modest. Throughout First Avenger, these guys often show their hidden depths and are a far cry away from the meathead soldier stereotype, but they don’t come near some of the other scientists and special agents on the list. They’re not idiots, but don’t expect Mensa to give them a ring anytime soon. Quippiness: Modest. Jokes are a necessity on the battlefield, and these guys can sure crack wise. Their jokes might not be as razor sharp as some of the others on the list, but they do deliver the necessary goods.Damsel in Distress Rating: Moderately High. As stated before, these guys are plushy humans, and Captain America does have to come to the rescue on occasion during First Avenger. One of them even bites the bullet during the film. Overall: C+
The Scientist Squad (Thor, Thor: The Dark World)
Members: Jane Foster, Dr. Selvig, Darcy, that InternFighting Skills: Dire. These guys are not fighters. Like at all. Intelligence: Off the charts high. With probably more academic degrees than Iron Man has suits, Thor's lackies have a ton of brain power surging through their heads, which is good since Thor is essentially a meathead with a hammer. If the problem at hand requires more than brute force, this is your team.Quippiness: Modest. While Kat Dennings' Darcy can quip for days on end without rest, the rest of these guys are often more on the wrong end of snark, rather than being the ones to dole it out.Damsel in Distress Rating: High. These scientists couldn't fight their way out of a paper bag, and are constant need of saving by Thor.Overall: B-
Black Widow and Falcon (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)
Members: Self ExplanatoryFighting Skills: Very High. One’s a juiced up ex-Soviet super spy with years of combat training, while the other is a military dude with freaking mechanical wings. These guys are geared up to the teeth with advanced S.H.I.E.L.D. weaponry, and can certainly handle themselves in most fights. Intelligence: High. Becoming an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. isn’t only about being able to punch things you don’t like really hard. The position takes smarts, and both these guys prove to be pretty intelligent when it comes to tactics and weaponry. Quippiness: One high, one low, averaging to modest. For a super spy, Black Widow is surprisingly snarky, and operates as a nice foil to the mostly stoic Captain America. On the other hand, Falcon is an agreeable straight shooter, and leaves most of the jokes for others to tell.Damsel in Distress Rating: Low. Both Falcon and Black Widow are more than capable at handling their own battles. Besides, Cap has his hands full with the Winter Soldier.Overall: A
ABC Television Network
Mission BriefingWhew that was a doozy! Episodes upon episodes of languorous table-setting has finally led to this: definitively, the most engaging episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. yet. The show's recent shift into high gear is probably thanks to the upcoming Marvel flick Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which promises to have game changing consequences for the S.H.I.E.L.D. organization.
The newly-minted cyborg Deathlok (formerly Mike Peterson) begins attacking S.H.I.E.L.D. agents in classified locations, which means one thing: S.H.I.E.L.D. is getting close and the Clairvoyant is getting nervous. The agency has narrowed the Clairvoyant's possible identity to 13 gifted individuals, but as is always the case, things aren't quite what they seem.
The AgentsAll of the usual subjects are geared up for this mission, plus a big cast of supporting agents, including Agents Victoria Hand, John Garrett, Blake Felix, Jasper Sitwell, and Antoine Triplett. This is the most agent-heavy episode of the series yet.
Mission FalloutS.H.I.E.L.D. decides to have a big pow wow on the bus to discuss the best ways to finally close in on the could-be psychic. Skye gets promoted to a full-fledged S.H.I.E.L.D. agent thanks to her skills and her ability to get shot, and is able to narrow down the most likely Clairvoyant subjects down to three.The agents decide to split up into groups of two, in order to go after each subject, with Skye running backup via laptop. The duo of May and Blake draw the proverbial short straw, and get attacked by a upgraded Deathlok, who's now sporting a fancy new gauntlet equipped with missiles. Blake is nearly killed, and May is momentarily incapacitated by one of Deathlok's rockets. S.H.I.E.L.D. wrestles up a tactical team to go after Deathlok and suspect Thomas Nash after it's discovered that Blake was able to implant a tracker into Deathlok. The team tracks down the signal to Florida, and move in on Nash. After dodging Deathlok, Coulson and Garrett locate Nash, who proclaims himself to be the Clairvoyant. Nash states that a unknown force is coming after Coulson and Skye, and that Skye will die giving the force something they want. Ward shoots Nash and kills him after being pushed to far, and is apprehended by S.H.I.E.L.D.
After the mission, Coulson has doubts that Nash was really the Clairvoyant. Coulson and Skye puzzle out that The Clairvoyant's knowledge of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s movements and intel must make him higher up in the S.H.I.E.L.D. organization. Coulson confronts Ward, thinking he's working for the Clairvoyant. Meanwhile, Fitz discovers the encrypted line that May used to communicate with her handler at the end of the last episode. May discovers Fitz snooping around and gives chase. Coulson finds May, and the two engage in a classic Mexican standoff with Skye pulling her own gun on May. Coulson demands the identity of the real Clairvoyant before the jet is rerouted via Victoria Hand, who commands her agents to kill everyone on board when it touches down. Could Hand is the Clairvoyant? I guess we'll have to wait and see.
The Most Valuable Agent AwardWe're giving agent Felix Blake the honor this week for getting stomped on by Deathlok and having the sense of mind to implant Deathlok with a tracker. Good going Blake.
Mission Highlights and Other Observations- We really enjoyed the banter between Coulson and Garrett this episode. It really gave the characters a sense of shared history.- Simmons and Triplett continue to throw googly eyes at each other, but their attraction feels rather forced.- We’re not totally convinced that Victoria Hand is the real mastermind behind the Clairvoyant. There’s still a handful of episodes for S.H.I.E.L.D. to throw acurve ball or two our way, and it will be interesting to see where everyone’s allegiances lay once the dust settles. - Judging by the snippet of Captain America: The Winter Solder shown at the end of the episode, we're guessing the events of the film will play a large part in the next episode. You might want to try to catch the film before next Tuesday in order to be all caught up. It's nice that we’re finally seeing some more connective tissue between the television show and the films.
Tribeca Film via Everett Collection
Ugh... Mondays, am I right? Every week kicks off with that trademark despair so expertly articulated in Mike Judge's Office Space: you've got a case of the Mondays. Luckily, Netflix has you covered, with plenty of pick-me-up comedies to make the worst day of the week a bit more jolly. To start off our Netflix Hand-Picked Flix recommendations, we suggest Romantics Anonymous.
The leads of most romantic comedies are usually quick-witted and sassy approximations of real people, effortlessly gliding though social situations. But what happens when you're an introvert? What if every tiny social interaction feels like a herculean labor? This is the struggle highlighted in Romantics Anonymous. This little French film centers around Angélique (Isabelle Carré), a genius chocolatier that's scared of positively everything. Her expert chocolate crafting abilities are often hampered by her inability to talk to other people. She goes to work for Jean-René (Benoît Poelvoorde) a fellow introvert and the owner of the Chocolate Mill, a struggling chocolate factory. Sparks fly as the two try to break out of their comfort zones, and let their feelings be known.
Romantics Anonymous is a sublimely cute and funny film that explores the difficulties of breaking old patterns, and truly escaping your comfort zone. It's inspiring, and it's hard not to feel a sense of vicarious triumph when the main characters take the steps necessary to improve their lives. It's quirky, hilarious, and undeniably French.
You can stream Romantics Anonymous instantly on Netflix, and make sure to check back tomorrow for our recommendations for the perfect Bluesday Tuesday movie.
Lionsgate via Everett Collection
It's Saturday night. The game is on. The town is yours. You're ready to go. But you need a little cinematic pep-talk. A movie that'll get your adrenaline rushing top speed. Something with action, adventure, excitement... hell, maybe even something fantastical every so often. This week, our Netflix Hand-Picked Flix recommendation for Saturday Night Fever is Dredd.
Judge Dredd is comic book property tailor made for the kind of ultra-violent action film that turns heads and stomachs alike. When the 1995 Stallone vehicle didn't deliver, the universe seemingly righted itself with the release of Dredd in 2012. Cut out all the goofy filler, replace Sylvester Stallone's ever-curling lip for Karl Urban's best grimace and what you have is a streamlined action thriller that's simply thrilling.
In the future, America has become a dystopian wasteland laden with huge mega cities and skyrocketing crime rates. The only thing protecting the streets are the Judges, who unilaterally clean up the streets by serving as judge, jury, and executioner for those that dare to commit a crime on their watch. Two Judges, Judge Dredd and a new recruit named Anderson go to investigate a large residential tower held in control of a drug trafficker named Ma-Ma (Lena Headey) but are soon locked in, while Ma-Ma sets a bounty on their heads. What follows is a literal tower of terror.
Dredd is, simply put, bad ass. It's the Judge Dredd movie we all deserved back in 1994. It's brutal, tense, exiting, and well worth a Saturday night full of popcorn munching.
You can watch Dredd on Netflix, and check back tomorrow for our Lazy Sunday pick.
Sony Pictures Classics
There was a bare and efficient kind of storytelling in 2011's The Raid: Redemption. The film told a simple story of man vs. building, as series hero Rama (Iko Uwais) steadily progressed through a tower of terror, floor by floor and fight by fight, with just the flimsiest thread of a plot stitching all of the action together. It wasn’t an intricate weave of a story, but one sewn for efficiency - and it was damn effective, even if it could all unravel with the slightest bit of mental tugging. The Raid was a lean and mean action thriller that got right to the brutal business of fighting, and that’s part of the reason why it's sequel, The Raid 2: Berandal doesn’t thrill quite as consistently as its predecessor. This one actually has a story it has to tell beyond “Hey Rama, go into this tower and don't die,” and it doesn't measure up to the graceful carnage of the fight scenes.
This time around, Rama gets caught in the middle of two rival crime bosses who have carved up Jakarta with a meat cleaver; sneering Bangun controls one part of the city, while a set of Japanese gangsters controls another. It's an over stuffed powder keg full of posturing gangsters and assassins, and all it takes are a couple of sparks from both sides set things ablaze. The Raid 2 is markedly more ambitious film than the first, and that’s both a gift and a curse. The film postures itself as a sprawling crime epic, liberally plucking from some of the most celebrated crime films of all time, and at times, the story works well enough. This one does feel decidedly bigger in scope, and towards the end of the film it seems like Rama won’t get a rest until he’s managed to roundhouse kick the entire country of Indonesia.
But because of this ambition, the film starts to sag under all the extra weight. The mobster story has a fresh sheen of Indonesian style, but it’s still a generic pastiche of tired mob tropes - you’ve seen it all before, and you'll see it all again. While the story of the first Raid was more of an afterthought, here it’s treated as almost the main attraction. Whole minutes pass by without Rama pulping someone's innards into mashed potatoes, as the story spends precious time constructing a tapestry of mob alliances and betrayal, and at 148 minutes, the film slightly overstays its welcome (especially compared to the first film’s snappy 101 minutes).
Sony Picture Classics
Truly, the film is at its best when it's moving, and when it's introducing gleefully absurd killers like "Hammer Girl" (Julie Estelle) and "Baseball Bat Man" (Very Tri Yulisman). There's a deep black humor running through Berandal and watching the duo of assassins using everyday household items to dispatch their enemies is a sadistic pleasure. But like its predecessor, the film isn't about soulless bloodletting. The best fight scenes are like a intricate dance of body blows and bone breaking kicks, shot in long cuts that put the shaky cam and hyperactive editing of other movie fight scenes to shame. Also, some of the effects shots are truly horrifying. It's all a marvel to behold and cringe at.
Unfortunately, even extreme violence hits a point of diminishing returns, and Berandal is just too long, which make some of the action scenes jammed into the middle of the film feel like a forgettable wash of violent white noise. But just when I thought I was tired of Bernadal, the last 40 minutes unfold in a marvelous showpiece of action choreography that features a revolving door of opponents for Rama to face, and it's when the film is singularly focused on providing bone crunching carnage at a rapid pace is that the film works best. And it’s no small coincidence that the best part of the film is the section that most closely resembles the first Raid: a base under siege sequence, except Rama is the monster. It feels like Evans and Co. saved their best fight choreography for last third of the film, and from then on, it's nothing short of epic.
The Raid 2: Berandal is missing the streamlined charm of the original, but that's a small complaint in a largely fantastic experience. When it works - which is an overwhelming majority of the time - The Raid 2 is marvelous, a celebration of gore and grace that will leave the genre fan dizzy with glee, and everyone else frantically searching for a sick bag. It's an audacious, brassy, and exhilarating sequel to The Raid. It doesn’t tell as great as a story as it wants to, but this is a movie that reaches for the stars, and comes up short by just a few precious inches.
Open Road Films via Everett Collection
David Ayer's Sabotage is just the latest stop in Arnold Schwarzenegger's comeback tour, though it probably won't do the actor too many favors. Schwarzenegger plays John "Breacher" Wharton, the leader of an elite DEA task force that specializes in taking down drug cartels. Each member of the team is a blunt instrument drunk off of their alpha male (and female) machismo, but to be fair, they are damn good at what they do. They're masters at going in hard, killing whoever needs killing, and heading to the strip club and drinking themselves into a stupor before the next round of street sweeping. Unfortunately, it turns out years of busting cartel bosses and being deeply unpleasant to everyone you come into contact with eventually catches up to you, and members of the squad start dying in ghastly and elaborate ways. And just like that, we have what basically amounts to an Agatha Christie novel with a gym membership and a pile of meth.
Unfortunately, and as expected, giving Agatha Christie a couple of reps at the gym and a pile of drugs turns her into a blithering idiot, because Sabotage is incredibly stupid. The central mystery somehow manages to be both preposterous and predictable at the same time. The film's one saving grace is its action. The action scenes are adrenal and exciting and unbelievably gory. Bloated corpses are poked and prodded, viscera hangs like ropes from a rafter. This film takes immense pleasure in being completely disgusting. It’s downright gleeful about it. Here's a full shot of a soiled toilet, just because. Here's a piece of skin hanging on some metal, why not. Isn't that cool?
While Sabotage does manage to thrill in spurts and stutters, there's absolutely nothing beating at the heart of the film. All of the main characters are completely and utterly repugnant, and you'll pity anyone who has to endure their company throughout the film. When characters do start to die, you won't feel all that broken up about it. In fact, you may even feel a twinge of joy, like the earth was suddenly unburdened from a pure source of rampant douchebaggery. Just imagine the most disgusting, and off-putting person you can, and then give them a gun, a badge, and a fierce sense of entitlement, and you have every single member of the film's DEA squad. They're all terrible.
And if that weren't bad enough, the acting ranges from mediocre to terrible. The usually wonderful Olivia Williams and the capable Sam Worthington continually forget which continent they're on, their accents dropping in an out like a bad radio connection; Schwarzenneger has a complete inability to emote anything apropos of the situation at hand. When looking upon a pile of ooze that was formerly in the shape of one of his best friends, his disappointment is more akin to seeing a temporarily occupied gym bench on chest day. All of the charm the actor showcased in something like the recent Escape Plan is washed out by Breacher's moping about his dark past, and when Schwarzenneger isn't allowed to be fun, then he's completely boring.
Really, I should hate Sabotage. It’s a completely stupid and mean spirited film, but there’s a strange charm to the depravity of it all. There's an audaciousness to it. The film goes as far as it can to push limits, and succeeds at being appaling. It’s a film that knows how stupid and ugly it is and champions that fact. It’s playing in its own filth, and as gross as that is, at least it’s having fun. This is the kind of film that will be in heavy rotation at the local frat house. That’s doesn’t mean the film is good or even okay, but if you like watching horrific violence, awful mysteries, and awful people being awful, then boy do I have a film for you.
The Internet has spent months painstakingly examining and scrutinizing film models and concept art, trying to piece together some idea of what the Michael Bay-produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles would finally look like on screen, but now we finally have our first official look at the Turtles in action and the results are... tall.
Gone are the cute and cuddly, smooth green costumes and animatronics from the '90s films, and here to stay are these new versions of the turtles... which certainly live up to the "mutated" part of their moniker. The new gang looks like big, ugly green monsters, and they're positively gigantic. Michelangelo swoops down to meet April (Megan Fox) and completely towers over her. This is a significant departure from earlier incarnations of the Turtles, who are usually portrayed as being shorter than miss O'Neil, and smaller than the average person in general. Beyond just height, these turtles seem tougher than we remember as well. The Turtles dispatch a group of terrorist in the subway like they're made of paper mache. Later on, Michelangelo collides with a jeep and dents it like it's a cheap sheet of value-brand tin foil. We decided to compare the heights of the earlier incarnations of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and compare them Megan Fox's real life height of 5' 4''.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990 Film)Measurements are scarce, but all four turtles are shown to be much shorter than April O'Neil, who was played by 5'7'' Judith Hoag in the film
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003 Animated Series)Michelangelo 5'3"Donatello 5'2"Raphael 5'1"Leonardo 5'1"
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012 Animated Series)Michelangelo 4'9"Donatello 6'4", oddlyRaphael 5'0"Leonardo 5'3"
Except for a freakishly tall version of Donatello in the current Nickelodeon series, the Turtles are usually a pretty short bunch. We wonder if the franchise will lose some appeal by ditching the cute factor and beefing up the Turtles? I guess we'll have to wait and see.
New World Pictures via Everett Collection
By the time Thursdays roll around, you're probably exhausted from a long week and looking for something familiar and comforting to help you forget about everything that's stressing you out. If the Internet is any indication, the best cure for this kind of fatigue is nostalgia, and the warmer and fuzzier it makes you feel, the better. This week's Netflix Hand-Picked Flix recommendation for Throwback Thursday is Heathers.
Sure, everyone can quote every line of Mean Girls verbatim, but what if I told you that before Lindsay, before the Plastics, and before "She doesn't even go here," there was Heathers? The 1988 cult classic was the original Grand Poobah of high school clique movies, and while Mean Girls satirized the social hierarchy of the average high school with some quick jabs, Heathers hits their target with the all-encompassing destruction of an atom bomb.
Heathers follows Veronica (Winona Ryder), a former nerd who has ascended the ranks of the high school pecking order all the way up to the Heathers (it's like the American dream). The three Heathers (all girls named Heather) are ultra rich and ultra popular clique who are worshiped and reviled by the rest of the high school. Veronica soon grows tired of the Heather's mean spirited ways, and plots with the new bad boy in town, J.D. (Christian Slater) to get their own revenge, only things go south very fast when a simple prank turns into outright murder.
Heathers is and uproarious black comedy that's dangerously audacious and thrilling. It hilariously and acerbically dismantles all of the tropes of high school films with a sharp and dark wit. Even though it was a box office failure at the time of release, the film is a little gem that remains wonderfully relevant. Even today, it still has some poignant things to say about the ways schoolchildren create little societies of abuse.
You can stream Heathers on Netflix, and make sure to check back tomorrow for our recommendations for the perfect Freaky Friday film.
Oscilloscope Pictures via Everett Collection
It's the middle of the week, and your brain has all but lost its functional juices. You need an intellectual jump — a compelling lesson in history, science, or art, but without entailing that troublesome task of reading. What you need is a documentary. This week, our Netflix Hand-Picked Flix recommendation for Docu-Wednesdays is Dear Zachary.
Get ready to feel like you've hardly ever felt before. Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son from His Father is a singularyly haunting experience. A touching masterstroke of true crime storytelling that drills its way into your heart. The film is about Andrew Bagby, a promising young doctor who is allegedly murdered by his girlfriend after Bagby ends their troubled relationship. The girlfriend skips off to Canada to escape sentencing, and soon reveals she is pregnant with Bagby's child. Bagby's best friend, filmmaker Kurt Kuenne, decides to go across the country to record every person that has ever known Bagby so that his son Zachary can one day understand the man that his father was and know how much he was loved by the world. The film is part touching love letter to a fatherless child, part obituary, and part court drama as Bagby's former girlfriend and alleged murderer tries to slip through the clutches of the law.
Don't get tempted to look up anything beyond what's here. Just watch it. It might seem silly crying "spoiler alert" for a documentary of all things, but the film hits you like a sucker punch. You'll be bowled over for hours after watching. This isn't a film for the faint of heart, but the pain is a small price to pay for what amounts to a great experience.
You can watch the movie on Netflix, and check back tomorrow for our Throwback Thursday recommendation.
Paramount via Everett Collection
This just in: nothing is sacred. That's right, Indiana Jones is possibly being considered for a reboot. The classic adventure series, created by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg has become a classic in the cinema world, and according to a rumor from Latino Review, the series might come to resemble another classic film staple in the coming years. The site reports that while the original Indiana Jones, Harrison Ford, is still being considered for a possible Indiana Jones 5, the series could simply reboot with a new actor a la the James Bond series if Mr. Ford in unavailable. If all that wasn't enough, Bradley Cooper is at the top of their list of possible candidates to take over the role. Since a new crop of Indiana Jones films seems like a definite possibility (yes we live in that awful world), we decided to make the best of the situation and share our thoughts on what the new films should bring back, improve upon, or ditch with regards to the first four films of the series.
Things They'd Need to Bring Back
The SettingMr. Jones would do well to keep to his original decade. With World War II right around the corner, the 1930s were wired like a stick of dynamite ready to blow. With several conflicts brewing, and several chances for Indy to mix it up with different enemies, the decade was the perfect place to set a world spanning archaeological adventure.
The CostumeThe tan fedora, the leather jacket, those boots. Indiana Jones' outfit is a bona fide classic, and changing one iota of it would be pure cinema sacrilege. Several things need updating in bringing Indy back for a second round of adventures, but the outfit is off limits.
The Tone With the original Raiders, Lucas and Spielberg crafted the perfect tone for their hero. The first film of the series was loose and pulpy adventure that hearkened back to classic film serials, and dime store novels. It was a load of swashbuckling fun. Sure the series needs its darker moments (as we'll see later), but the camp should be plentiful.
The Exotic LocalesAlmost like a rustic James Bond, Indy was at its best when he was traveling to far off places in search for adventure, and uncovering the secrets history forgot. The new Indiana Jones should find himself going even further into the unknown than his predecessor did, going to places we've never seen Indy visit.
The MysticismThe Indiana Jones series has always blended history and myth into one, and things shouldn't change there either. The new films should have one foot in the past, and the other breaking ground on new myths to cull from.
The Darker MomentsIn the middle of all that swashbuckling, there still needs to be a real sense of peril in Indy's new adventures The series' darker moments like the terrifying images of melting Nazis in Raiders, or pretty much anything that had to do with the cult from Temple of Doom gave the films a sense of danger, and that danger should show up in the reboot.
The NazisIs there an enemy more fun to foil than the Nazis. They're the quintessential movie villain, and it's no coincidence that the series has gone back to that well for three out of its four outings. The series should explore some new foes, but it would be remiss if we didn't see at least one Nazi getting the business end of a whip to the tune of the classic Indy Score.
Things They'd Need to Fix Up a Bit
The Depiction of Other CulturesFor all of its efforts to be worldly and exotic, the Indiana Jones series could be pretty insensitive towards other cultures. More often than not, the Indiana Jones series fumbled when it came to displaying foreign cultures in a positive light, and many depictions of non-European people slipped into the realm of caricature. The Indians in Temple of Doom were either evil or too weak to help themselves until a white man came from on high to save them (and do these Indians eat some weird stuff or what?). Also, as much as we love Short Round, if we're being honest with ourselves, his image is a tad insensitive. But hey, it's a film set in the '30s and made in the '80s, so it was to be expected. This new reboot should try to steer clear of those pitfalls. Foreign cultures should be fascinating and strangely beguiling, not something to point and laugh at.
Add Some Satire/Self-referential HumorTo be frank, we already have a set of perfectly good Indiana Jones films sitting in our DVD cases already. In order to improve on what's already a terrific formula, this new movie should probably try to poke some fun at itself and the genre. The latest James Bond film Skyfall had some funny and poignant things to say about James Bond mythos, and this new Indy reboot should follow suit.
All New SidekicksThe sidekicks throughout the series range for terrible (Willie) to great (Henry Jones Sr.), but it's for the best if the film starts out fresh and abandons the lot of them for new characters. This new reboot needs to create its own legacy, and becoming a slave to the past is not the way to do that.
All New ArtifactsLikewise, we need all new artifacts for these new movies. That means no Holy Grails, Crystal Skulls, or Arks of the Covenant allowed (thought the melting Nazis will be missed).
A Deeper IndyThe film should be kept loose and fun, but a new series wouldn't hurt from changing things up, and delivering a deeper Indiana Jones for audiences to chew on. These days, our action films require a little bit more character in them. We don't want Indiana Jones 5 to turn into a deep character study or anything, but some more depth would be welcome.
Things They'd Need to Cut Altogether
The "Sword Swinging" SceneThe most prolific scene from Raiders should really be left on the cutting room floor. As funny and iconic as it is, the film shouldn't get to cute with the references.
Harrison FordNo one will be Indiana Jones quite like Harrison Ford was. He gave the character such a cool confidence that catapulted him into legendary status. With all that said, and with all due respect, it's time to put the old version of Indy to bed. We should only remember our heroes at their best, and having Harrison Ford do yet another version of the character would be a mistake.
Heavy CGI UseAs we saw in The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, bad CGI can be a serious detriment to a film. The reason the original trilogy feels so timeless is because the actions scenes were created using practical effects. CGI in this new film should be kept to a minimum.
The Sci-fithe line between sci-fi and fantasy can be razor thin, but Indy’s adventures are better when they’re steeped in lore rather than science fiction. Crystal Skull tried to blur the lines, and came up short.