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The Plot Thickens… Or At the Very Least, Congeals

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Like many of you, I am a frequent visitor to the movie theater, always eager to be the first sorry soul in line for the many different comic book adaptations or fanboy films that seem to own the big screen in this our 21st century. Some are good and some are bad, but let’s not kid ourselves, few are ever great.

With the summer movie season winding down and the majority of the big blockbusters already busting out of theaters, it’s time for us pop culture whores (you know who you are) to look ahead into the future to see what’s to come. That being said, I’ve decided to take it even one step further, choosing a number of anticipated sequels and films from that very "what’s to come" list and writing the plot points down on paper so that those tired, overworked (and underpaid if the looming strike is any indication) Hollywood folks can take some much deserved time off.

Spider-Man 4

First let me preface this by saying it doesn’t matter whether or not Toby Maguire comes back to reprieve his role as Peter Parker because frankly, he kind of annoyed the hell out of me by the time the third installment rolled around. (Maybe it was all of that dancing that he was doing. What was up with that?) If the Batman franchise has taught us anything, it’s that for every good casting (Keaton), there’s a better one to be had down the road (Bale).

So anyway, in the fourth go-around of Spider-Man, Peter Parker, now mourning the death of his friend Harry, turns into a complete introvert, convinced that his great power is nothing more than a curse, destined to hurt or destroy everyone and everything he loves. He quits his job at the Bugle, he distances himself from Mary Jane and he lets his school work fall to the wayside. He’s given up, not on Spider-Man, but on himself.

While Peter deals with his own inner demons, a local crime syndicate known as the Sinister Six sets up shop in the city, led by the pinstriped gangster Hammerhead and featuring some of the nastiest and most ruthless criminals New York has ever seen. With his star photographer MIA, J. Jonah Jameson hires a local P.I. named Mac Gargan to infiltrate the Sinister Six’s headquarters and snap some shots. With his cover blown, Gargan is captured by Hammerhead and experimented on, ultimately turned into the Scorpion.

Seeking revenge against Jameson after being fooled into thinking he was set up, the Scorpion kidnaps the publisher and holds him in a den far beneath the city. Peter catches wind of things and realizes that no matter what he does or who he is, people are always going to be in danger, but at least as Spider-Man, he has a chance to make a difference.

He’ll head to the underground hide-out of the Scorpion, giving the big screen beat down to Gargan and rescuing an ungrateful Jameson. From there he’ll have to defeat the Sinister Six and Hammerhead, and in the processes, come to terms with whom (and what) he is.

Indiana Jones 4

Sticking with the apparent "four" theme, I’ve decided to re-imagine how Mr. Jones and his adventurous ways would be handled in installment quatro. While I understand that Indy is getting on in his years, I have to say that I was initially struck with a shiver of unhappiness when I heard that there will be a young protégé that our whip-cracking hero takes under his wing. I’m all for giving Shia LeBeouf his day in the spotlight, but he can’t have his Transformers and eat them too. (Eww, that just sounds dirty.)

Anyway, in my sequel to the mega-trilogy, I would have an older, yet still buff Harrison Ford finding it difficult to transcend into his twilight years, especially after the recent death of his father. (Formerly played by Sean Connery, but this time just played by a pine box.) Struggling with his own mortality, and on a bigger scale, the meaning of life itself, Indy sets out to discover the same thing that Spanish explorer Juan Ponce De Leon set out to unearth in the 1500’s… the fountain of youth.

I’d embrace the fact that Ford was no longer a young man and play that up in the storyline. Of course there would be some kind of evil villain also searching for the fountain of youth… most likely a German if the past films were any indication… but in the end I would let the fourth installment be Indy’s and Indy’s alone. If there comes a when a replacement is needed to fill the great Ford’s shoes, so be it, but at least let him end his archeological career with a little bit of dignity.

Fantastic Four 3

I know there’s the number four in the title, but unless I’ve counted wrong, it will only be the third installment in the stale, hokey franchise. In fact, now that I think about, I’d just cut my losses and not even bother making a third film… at least not in the near future. If I was Ben Grimm and the gang, I’d give it a few years to percolate, waiting for a new set of creators and producers to step in and re-invent the entire franchise. As it stands now, there’s nothing really worth salvaging in my eyes. (Well, except for maybe Jessica Alba in that skintight super costume. Really… it’s pretty super.)

Flash

This is a difficult one. I’ve always loved the Flash in comic books, but at the same time, I have a hard time imagining it translating to film. I think I’d take a dark approach to the character, going more for a "Batman Begins" feel than an "X-Men" vibe. The fact is, I’m worried that in the wrong hands, this property could easily become Affleck’s "Daredevil", which concerns me deeply. However, at the same time, it could easily become the next Spider-Man franchise due to the colorful and intriguing rogue gallery that the Flash has to deal with in Central City.

As much as I would want to have Professor Zoom kick off the franchise, I think I’d prefer to save him for a later installment, instead going with a less dangerous villain like Mirror Master while we focus the majority of the attention on Flash’s origin and his life in general. And to keep it hip and current, I’d go with the sarcastic Wally West, even though I love Barry Allen as much as a guy can love another imaginary guy.

Transformers 2

I have to be honest… I wouldn’t even try to tell Michael Bay and all of the other folks responsible for the first film how they should go about making the second. Aside from a few cheesy scenes that seemed to drag, they knocked it out of the park and made what I thought would be, at best, a good film and turned it into a really great ride worth the price of two admissions.

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