I feel like there are a lot of people down on franchises, and I understand, because we are living in a world of franchises. Star Wars, Star Trek, Harry Potter, Marvel, and so much more. More and more we are getting stories that just keep coming back over and over again.
Now some people feel that this repetitive pattern feels like just a money grab and that might be partially true, but there is a reason that people keep coming back. At the same time I can appreciate that a stand-alone story is something that is enduring and fleeting at the same time. Once you see it once you re-watch that story over and over to just get more out of it, but it stands alone with nothing else to go into.
There is something great about an immersive world that you get to see from different angles, but there is also something wonderful about a story that has a beginning and an end.
There is a reason that we love franchises, because stepping back into a world that we know can be like coming home again. With a franchise it is not about one story, but a whole world that is built for us to step in to. Now some of what we love is the characters, but it is not just about a small group of main characters. All the characters have a depth and it is often about an ensemble and not just one person. One of the things about getting new stories in a franchise is that we know what we are getting into and have an idea of what to expect. There is something comforting about that expectation.
Now this does not mean that the higher-ups might not use the love for the franchise to try and get more money. The splitting of stories into two parts can sometimes feel as though they are trying to get more money instead of making the better story. Then there are the times that it feels like a character was added just because of the potential for merchandising. It is an interesting balance because we want more from these worlds and the fact is that the money earned by these known worlds help to allow some more creative options to flourish.
A good stand-alone movie can be a beautiful thing. It is something that can stand apart from other things that you have seen and this one story can be a fleeting moment that allows you to experience new emotions, thoughts, ideas, and visuals. At the same time once it is over, it is done – there is no more to explore. It is a moment that lives on, but it is just in that moment that you get to experience it. You can imagine other thoughts of what might have happened, but in the end the story is meant to begin and end. We are not meant to know what happens before or what happens afterward, it exists as a moment that can take a deeper look at life and ourselves.
Now a stand-alone story that digs deep is not always the easiest thing to watch and can sometimes leave us feeling a little uncomfortable. Also not knowing what you are going to get means that you are taking a risk by going to the movie that you are going to watch something that does not get us anywhere. The other piece is that a story that just begins and ends can leave us wanting more, but there is no more for it to give.
There is a reason that generally the franchises have been major box office hits and that is not to say that there are not some amazing movies made in franchises. At the same time it is great to see a story unfold and be done. There is something beautiful about a story that exists in just that moment.
At the same time there is nothing inherently good or bad about either way they are just different. What do you think?