Best Current Movie Franchises
What are the best film series still going today?
Honorable Mention 1. Superman
As a character Superman is a difficult one to put on the big screen. Director Richard Donner and actor Christopher Reeve achieved the impossible by making us care about and understand the Man of Steel in the original 1978 film. While the series got sillier as it went on, in 2006 he was brought back to lackluster results. In 2013, Zack Snyder rebooted the character with Henry Cavill in the role, and also launched the shared DC film universe. Cavill returned to the role in both Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League which both had mixed reactions. It's unknown where we'll see him next, but the sky is no limit for the most popular and recognizable superhero of all time.
Honorable Mention 2. Cloverfield
The Twilight Zone-esque Cloverfield franchise has delivered audiences unique stories told within a loose sci-fi framework of thrills and chills. This year's The Cloverfield Paradox connected the previous two films in the series and hopefully we'll see more weirdness soon. There have been three films connected to the franchise so far, but there are no official announcements of any future sequels at this time. Actually, we know there's another movie in development, but we don't know who's behind it or what it's called. The great thing about this series is that it allows up-and-coming directors to take a stab at a slightly bigger budget.
Honorable Mention 3. Spider-Man
Marvel's most popular character helped kick off the superhero craze of the early 2000s. Spidey's movies have been extremely popular from Toby Maguire's aw shucks nerd to the outsider Andrew Garfield plays. Now, Tom Holland takes on the role as an intelligent and spirited young crime-fighter who battles alongside the Avengers, mentored by none other than Iron Man himself. The evolution of the character in cinema reflects his comic book counterpart which has connected audiences to this normal-kid-turned-superhero. After this summer's Avengers: Infinity War, fans are eager to see what Spider-Man: Far From Home has in store for the Web Head.
10. Wizarding World
J.K. Rowling's world of wizards has become a rich and vast film franchise. The eight films based on her popular children's books are wonderful productions. However, the prequel series is just getting going and isn't quite as interesting, at least not yet. It's exciting to see what will come next, but unless The Crimes of Grindelwald delivers this series may die too soon. It could really benefit from a new director as David Yates has helmed every film in the franchise since Order of the Phoenix, and Rowling might want to bring on a team of writers to help her flesh out the world and develop the characters for the big screen which is a much different medium than novels.
The darkest hero in comic books has been a staple of film for decades now. Tim Burton first brought Batman to theaters with two excellent films starring Michael Keaton, and while the next two films left much to be desired, The Dark Knight came back in 2005 when Christopher Nolan reimagined the character as a psychologically damaged crime fighter. His three Batman movies remain one of the best movie trilogies of all time and for many are still the definitive version of the character. Ben Affleck was recast int he role for Zack Snyder's universe playing an older, more grizzled caped crusader. While we don't know if Affleck will come back, writer/director Matt Reeves will next take on the character in a noir-driven detective story.
Starting his movie career in 1976 with a risky gamble, Sylvester Stallone has crafted a franchise all his own with a character that's endured for over 40 years. He helped write and direct the first six films to critical acclaim and thought he was done with the famous boxer in 2006. Enter Ryan Coogler, a huge fan with a new idea for the series to continue which Sly turned down before even reading his script. Thankfully, Stallone eventually read it, immediately hiring Coogler to direct the film which had Rocky's rival-turned-friend Apollo Creed's son fight for the heavyweight championship. With the sequel coming out later this year, it seems this franchise isn't over 'til it's over.
7. Star Trek
A huge science-fiction franchise, Star Trek was at one time a cancelled TV series since it simply wasn't popular enough. That changed quickly as episodes were re-run into the 1970s. Since it's inception in 1966 by mastermind Gene Roddenberry, Trek has become a hugely popular property and was turned into a film franchise in 1979. Many series and films have been made since then, but none brought Trek back to the height of popularity like J.J. Abrams 2009 film. It's still going strong today, thanks to a great cast and amazing visual effects with two more films currently in development.
Ushering in the modern era of superhero films is this franchise which began in the year 2000. Since then it's spawned sequels, prequels, and spin-offs to varying degrees of success, but what's interesting is that it never fails at the box office as audiences have come to adore these characters. Hugh Jackman carries most of these movies with ease as he plays the role he was born to play: Wolverine. The casts are outstanding and with Dark Phoenix coming next year, we can't wait to see where it goes next.
5. Planet of the Apes
The original is a sci-fi classic, but this series managed to do the impossible by delivering a reboot that respects the past, but embraces the future, by taking the series in a whole new direction. Turning the space-faring time-travel story into a post-apocalyptic war drama is a feat of epic proportions. It's a testament to the writers, directors, and actors, especially the brilliant Andy Serkis, that they make us care about these computer-generated animals. The story matters and we connect with it thanks to the superb storytelling.
4. James Bond 007
A franchise must continue to adapt to survive. No other series of films is as much a testament to that as James Bond. The Bond films have grown and developed with each new actor who takes on the role. It's a genius move to make the character fit the actor who takes him on providing the audience an easy way into the movies. They also evolve with the times as the modern films take a much more complicated and darker approach to the material. From Connery to Craig, each actor has put his stamp on the character. The next film may be Craig's last, and with Danny Boyle at the helm it should be an epic end to one of the best Bonds ever.
3. Star Wars
Star Wars revolutionized movie making, and it continues to do so with the sequel trilogy. From that first film in 1977 to the most recent, Star Wars has continued to deliver spectacle but never at the expense of storytelling. It's first and foremost about the characters, and just so happens to feature the most amazing effects work of all time. There have certainly been stumbles along the way as no franchise is perfect in every way, but it always manages to correct itself and brings fans quality entertainment. This franchise will always live on.
2. Mission: Impossible
Rarely does a franchise manage to get better as it goes, but Mission: Impossible does just that. The filmmakers behind these films accomplish the impossible by bringing us quality storytelling and character-driven stories with astonishing stunts and action sequences. Tom Cruise is the most dedicated and hard working guy in Hollywood, and he is willing to do anything to entertain an audience. It's a shocking thing to watch him jump out of planes, ride a motorcycle through oncoming traffic, and fly helicopters because you know he's really doing these things without the aid of CGI which most of the aforementioned series overuse. This franchise represents the best the film industry has to offer.
1. Marvel Cinematic Universe
Somehow Marvel Studios has managed to become the most profitable, reliable, and surprising franchise of all time. In just 10 short years, producer Kevin Feige and company have brought fans some of the most endearing characters, spectacular action, and meaningful storytelling audiences have ever seen. The casting is always spot-on, the visual effects are outstanding, and the writing is excellent on each and every one of their 20 films. Usually a franchise can either put out quality or quantity but not deliver on both. Almost magically, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has managed to put out quality films in large quantities over the last decade. From Captain America to Guardians of the Galaxy, these films are so different yet when Cap meets Groot in Infinity War the audience doesn't question it and it works thanks to the groundwork laid in every previous movie. They perfected the shared universe concept which has audiences coming back for the next film every few months almost like a serialized TV series. Feige knows that audiences are sophisticated enough to handle the MCU, and he's delivered on every aspect of it.