Geekdom Come, The Franchise

The Franchise-Predator

Today marks the release of The Predator, yet another attempt at rebooting the Predator film franchise. After the critical and commercial failures that were AVP: Requiem and Predators this is a franchise that is in desperate need of a win. And while I have found the trailers for this reboot rather unimpressive am still holding out hope since it features Olivia Munn who I’ve had a crush on since her Sloan Sabbath days and Friend of the Blog Keegan Michael Key (by Friend of the Blog I mean that after a long night of drinking and telling me President Obama stories he commented that he liked the name The Eclectic Eccentric.) This is a Franchise that produced two actual real-life governors so here’s hoping this newest entry can turn things around.
Core Concept: “The hunter becomes the hunted” or maybe just “The most dangerous game” Every film entry and just about every comic book entry into this franchise features a Predator hunting down a human or a group of humans before they eventually figure out what’s going on and fight back. Its all about the hunt and the worthy adversary. Which means these stories rely on tension and anticipation more than just mindless horror movie killings. These aren’t cage matches, these are battles of wit and will.
Essential Moments: This is a not a franchise that carries over a lot of narrative consistency from film to film, but a few moments do stand out. The discovery of the skinned bodies at the start of the first movie lets you know that you are in for some serious shit before you even know that this is a Sci-Fi series. The Schwarzenegger-Carl Weathers bicep handshake may not mean much for the film or franchise, but it became an 80’s action movie trope that still gets parodied to this day. Perhaps the most significant moment in the series is the appearance of the Alien skull in the trophy case at the end of Predator 2. Originally intended as an Easter egg and a nod to the Alien vs Predator comics created by Dark Horse it eventually led to the production of two of the five movies that bear the name Predator: AVP and AVP: Requiem.
Rouges Gallery: In a franchise carried by its titular antagonists it’s hard to say who are the villains and who are the heroes of any given film. But despite appearances by Alien Queens, Predator/Alien hybrids, Super-racist caricatures of Jamaican drug lords, and Walter Goggins; I’m going to say the best villains of the series are the Predators from the first two films. They may not have names, but they were killing machines who felt like legitimate, terrifying threats rather than over the top cartoons.
Best Stories: On the film side the first Predator film is clearly the best and remains a classic to this day. The second film the aptly named Predator 2 isn’t as good but has a great cast and is definitely underappreciated. From the comics, there are a lot of great mini-series but make sure you check out the Batman vs Predator trilogy (because everything is better with Batman), the Captive one-shot, and Predator: Concrete Jungle which continues the story from the first film.
NEVER DO IT THIS WAY AGAIN: AVP: Requiem is awful. The story is terrible, the gore is over the top, and the cinematography makes it impossible to see what’s going on most of the time. (Which, given how bad the story is, may not actually be a bad thing.) As for the worst comics, JLA vs Predator is bad. Like epically, worst impulses of the 90’s, no scratch that it was terrible even for the 90’s bad.

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