When you look back with hindsight at a franchise that has had many releases, it gets easier to divide the history of its releases into eras. Pixar has released 21 feature-length films since 1995. Some might say that one era ended in 2006 when Pixar was acquired by Disney. But I believe that when one takes a look at what's been released so far, they could divide it up into two major eras, the latter of which is comprised solely of the 2010s. With this decade almost over, I believe that we can firmly refer to this era as The Sequel Era of Pixar.
Since 2015, Marvel has been publishing an ongoing comic series simply titled Star Wars. These issues have essentially been the adventures of Luke, Leia, Han, Chewie, Artoo, and Threepio, filling in the gap between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. For a while, readers have been wanting this series to go beyond this three-year period. Now, Greg Pak is taking the reigns of the series, starting with Star Wars #68. This will kick-start the Rebels and Rogues arc, which is set just before The Empire Strikes Back. It seems that readers are finally getting their wish. But if this series is to go beyond Empire, there remains a question: Should Marvel adapt The Empire Strikes Back again?
Recently, I wrote an article about how Toy Story 4 probably won't ruin the ending of Toy Story 3. After seeing the fourth movie and thinking it over, I wondered whether or not I ought to eat my words (though I'd say that words are editable, not edible). I think it definitely changes how I view the end of Toy Story 3. So here lies the question: Does Toy Story 4 line up with the end of Toy Story 3? I believe the answer is... yes and no. I know, that sounds like a cop-out answer. I'm no Lotzo, but bear with me here.
With the success of Batman in 1989, a sequel was inevitable. That sequel was Batman Returns, released in 1992. For this sequel, director Tim Burton was given more creative control. The result is a more Gothic interpretation of Gotham and its villains. With a plot leading up to Christmas and music by Danny Elfman (again), this feels like a taste of what was to come in Tim Burton's 1993 classic The Nightmare Before Christmas. I could imagine Danny DeVito's Penguin as a resident in Halloween Town. The stitching aesthetic of Catwoman's suit reminds me of Sally. My nostalgia for Nightmare might be partly why I prefer Batman Returns over the previous film. To me, the pacing also feels better as Batman faces three main villains.
Thirty years ago saw the release of the Tim Burton-directed Batman movie, starring Michael Keaton as Batman, and Jack Nicholson as the Joker. When you watch it, you see a Gotham City that, despite having some characteristics of the present time of the film's release (such as Prince's music and Vicki Vale's 1980s fashion style), is heavily dominated by aesthetics of the 1940s, a trend that would carry over into the 1992 Batman: The Animated Series. It seems like a surreal, anachronistic marriage of time periods, but it works. Even when one watches it today. The film feels very much like a comic book, with little regard to when exactly it is supposed to take place and what would be authentic to a specific point in history. And while the film no longer resembles the present, it has aged very well.
When it was officially announced four years ago that Toy Story 4 was in development, I was skeptical. Toy Story 3 felt like a perfect ending to the film series. We did get three shorts and two specials in the years that followed the release of Toy Story 3, and they were fun. But what more was there to tell that would warrant another film? Well now I can say that even though this movie did not feel as strong as Toy Story 3, it was a follow-up worth making. Here are my big takeaways from the movie, without any spoilers.