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It’s been more than nine years, but Christopher Nolan‘s Batman Begins still remains the gold standard for would-be franchise starters. Saying a film will try to be like Batman Begins has become shorthand for “this superhero project is going to take the material seriously and treat it with respect.”
Don’t believe us? Here are six times that people claimed they were making “the Batman Begins” of their respective property.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
Oh, X-Men Origins. We all had such high hopes — especially Hugh Jackman, who pitched the film as an origin story similar to Nolan’s film.
“Tonally, I would put it more in the Batman Begins sort of realm,” he said in 2008. “That’s sort of where we’re headed.”
Verdict: Many X-Men fanatics consider this the weakest entry in the series. Batman Begins it is not.
Watch THR‘s interview with Nolan and the cast of Interstellar below.
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X-Men: First Class (2011)
Like Batman Begins,this prequel/reboot came after two disappointing installments — The Last Stand and X-Men Origins. So to an extent director Matthew Vaughn had to do what Nolan did following the less-than-stellar Batman Forever (1995) and the ridiculed Batman and Robin (1997).
“It’s not like the other X-Men movies which I think is important. I think they need to sort of take on a new … you know, what Batman Begins did for all those Batman movies? We bloody well need it,” Vaughn said ahead of the film’s release. “I’m not saying it’s going to be as good as Batman Begins, but it’s the same sort of attitude.”
Verdict: This delivered on the Batman Begins promise — it reinvigorated the X-Men franchise by treating the characters with care, and was generally well-liked by fans.
Many people consider Arrow to be the best superhero show of this decade — and with good reason. It’s really good. But it heavily borrowed from Batman Begins. Rich dude disappears for years, where he’s trained to be a total badass, returns to his home city, and starts kicking ass. Yep, sounds familiar.
As recently as January, executive producer Marc Guggenheim reiterated they were telling a “Batman-begins style story for all of our characters.”
Verdict: The show is awesome, and worthy of the Batman Begins mantle.
Peter Pan (Upcoming)
You know who just isn’t darn gritty enough? Peter Pan! Thankfully, he’s getting his own gritty origin story, courtesy of Arrow executive producer Greg Berlanti. Sources told THR in November 2013 the feature from Warner Bros. “would give Pan the Batman Begins treatment, imbibing the character with a big origin movie.”
Verdict? Who knows. Could be cool!
See more Hollywood’s 100 Favorite Films
Fantastic Four (2015)
After being burned by two less-than-stellar Fantastic Four films, Fox is rebooting the franchise. While no one is claiming it’ll be like Batman Begins, executive producer Simon Kinberg has said it’ll be as unique as that film — plus about three other films people liked.
“The tone of this movie will feel as unique as when you saw Iron Man, X-Men, or Batman Begins for the first time,” he told The Huffington Post. “It’s not as goofy as the first movies; it has humor in it, but the humor is much more real and comes from character, not pratfall jokes. It’s a much more dramatic film than it is a comedy. I would say it falls somewhere between [Sam] Raimi’s first couple of Spider-Man movies and Chronicle.”
Verdict? We are hopeful this is everything Kinberg is saying. But that’s an awful lot of movies to be comparing it to.
Terminator: Genisys (2015)
Director Alan Taylor said in 2013 think of this reboot as being like Batman Begins.
“I think there is another famous franchise that had a wonderful beginning and then turned a little bananas. … Tim Burton’s first Batman is just glorious and by the time it got around to nipples on costumes and all that stuff it sort of lost its way,” Taylor said. “And for [Christopher] Nolan to come in an say ‘I respect this material so much I’m going to take it up to here,’ that’s a great inspiration.”
Verdict? We’ll see, but fanboys are already up in arms over the spelling of the movie’s title and the fact that (spoiler) Sarah Connor in this version will have been raised by an T-800.
What did we miss? Who else has claimed they’d be making the Batman Begins of their property, and how did it turn out? Let us know in the comments!
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