Gladiator Doesn’t Ever Need a Sequel

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by Staff & Contributors

in Gaming

Hollywood may not strictly be running out of ideas, but it is certainly running with the idea that the most marketable movies are those that are either rebooting a classic movie or slotting into an existing franchise. While the Marvel Cinematic Universe feels justified due to its sense of purpose, the extensions of Star Wars and Transformers movies feel like transparent grabs for money.

Disney have decided to lavishly remake classic animations such as Dumbo and The Lion King, while other cult movies have formed the basis for updates on old stories (Jumanji, Blade Runner). It seems inevitable that every successful movie will soon have a sequel, a remake or an extension of its universe. One movie that doesn’t need such treatment is Gladiator. 

Ridley Scott’s Roman epic is a perfectly contained masterpiece, with an ending that would lose its emotional potency if undermined by sequels or prequels. Scott has troubled fans of the original movie when mooting a possible sequel that seems contrived and out of keeping with the tone established by Russell Crowe’s engrossing performance as the protagonist. There is no denying that a sequel would perform strongly in the box office, with devotees and critics alike keen to see if and how it is possible to plausibly continue the story of Gladiator. Gladiator has crossover appeal, having formed the basis of casino games online such as the slot game of the same name, as well as being credited with generating the interest for shows like Rome. Using images from the movie, this demonstrates how familiar the characters from Gladiator have become.

Superhero movies are more prominent thematic inspirations for online games, so that a standalone movie such as Gladiator forms the backdrop for a slot game is a testament to its popularity. Moreover, the raft of quotable lines from the movie have kept Gladiator relevant in popular culture, from the artist Banksy borrowing the line ‘what we do in life echoes in eternity’ to a multitude of social media users deploying gifs of Crowe uttering the immortal line ‘are you not entertained?’ 

Few other movies can compete with such an extensive list of instantly recognisable quotes, which is another reason why a sequel is not necessary. The chance of making another movie that can hold a candle to the 2000 iteration is statistically unlikely, if only because Gladiator was nominated for 12 Oscars and took home the gong for Best Picture. While some trilogies do have sequels that outshine the opening movie, with The Godfather Part II a notable example, it would be a risky gambit that would be more likely to sour the original movie than honor its legacy. With eighteen years having passed since Gladiator hit movie theaters, momentum has been lost. Sometimes the wait can be worth it; The Incredibles 2 frustrated fans by arriving fourteen years after the original, but the teasing conclusion of the first movie had audiences expectant of a sequel in a short space of time.

Gladiator has no such cliffhanger but is the perfectly tied up story. This may lead movie producers to consider it more ripe for a reboot than a sequel, but this would be a dangerous ploy. Crowe’s outstanding performance as General Maximus Decimus Meridius is the definitive performance in the glittering career of a legendary actor, and it would be unfair to expect someone to follow in those footsteps. While it is natural to want more of something so good, it is not as if Gladiator is a short movie. It seems like every other classic movie will get remade or rebooted at some point, but here’s hoping that Gladiator remains untouched so that diehard fans do not become terribly vexed. 


images source: Gladiator via Facebook

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