Millennials get a lot of grief for nearly every aspect of their lives; from how we choose to spend our time to how we choose to spend our money but one thing cannot be argued. Millennials have the best film franchises of any generation. We have the most stories across varying genres and have the better sequels than film franchises from other decades. Millennials are defined as kids born or raised in the new millennia, and since the year 2000 there have been a plethora of excellent film franchises that have dominated the box office and spanned years. For the sake of brevity, I will not discuss any film franchises with entries across multiple generations. Which generation has the best “Star Wars” films is a debate for another time and another section. Franchises with crossover across multiple generations include the “Alien” films, the “Star Wars” franchise, and “Jurassic Park”.
Most recently we have the climax of a decade’s long franchise with the storied close of the Avengers films. The Marvel cinematic universe has been going strong for around a decade and has grossed billions of dollars across over 20 motion pictures that have been screened all over the globe. As far as super-powered human beings go Millennials have far better superhero films than previous generations. For instance, comparing the Nolan “Batman” films to the Burton films we see a significant difference in how franchise films were treated. The Burton films were campy, overblown and fluffy motion pictures. By comparison, the Nolan films are far more serious, critical, and aesthetically highbrow.
The 80’s and 90’s produced some blockbuster franchises but ones that were of a lower quality than millennial franchises. We could compare “Lord of the Rings” to “Back To The Future”, “Lethal Weapon” to “Fast and the Furious”, “Terminator” to “Harry Potter” or “Die Hard” to “Jason Bourne”. One film franchise that provides a great juxtaposition of the quality of franchises is the “Planet of The Apes” franchise. The franchise began in 1968 and has continued well into the new millennia with two very distinct styles. Visual effects aside, the new franchise features a greater depth of story, themes, and character. The film is also a marvel of motion capture filmmaking and a testament to how good science fiction films can truly be.
The newest entry in the franchise, “War for the Planet of the Apes” showcases top-tier filmmaking. The latest entry in the franchise provides a breadth of storytelling that is truly biblical.
In fact, “Apes” story is literally biblical. The plot follows Caesar, the lead Ape, on a science fiction re-telling of Exodus. These films are a perfect example of how Millennial film franchises are far better made and executed than their predecessors. While the 80’s and 90’s birthed the model for film franchises we know today they did very little to capitalize on the format and expand what is possible in movie making. In the new millennia, however, franchises have become a way to drive both storytelling and cinema forward by telling increasingly complex, intricate, and powerful stories.