It’s a bad year for sequels. The summer box office is down 22% from last year, mostly because sequel after sequel has failed. Naturally, this has everyone clutching their pearls and wondering what’s gone wrong, whether or not Finding Dory and Suicide Squad will be enough to save summer 2016, if Independence Day: Resurgence will be a Jurassic World-style surprise, and just how badly Tarzan will flop (prediction: pretty badly). Franchises and tent poles have become the staples of Hollywood, but suddenly people aren’t turning out for them as much. (The fact that the problem is more specifically sequels no one asked for doesn’t seem to occur to anyone.)
But never fear! Tom Cruise is here to defeat Hollywood’s current case of sequelitis with Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, the sequel to 2012’s only moderately successful Jack Reacher. Never mind that a movie with middling box office and a years-long gap between installments is the exact recipe that has not worked for anyone else, surely Tom Cruise can fix this! Jack Reacher: Did You Even See The First One? will break the sequel drought of 2016!
To be fair, Jack Reacher isn’t half bad, but that’s mostly because it has Werner Herzog as the bad guy. Jack Reacher 2 does not have Werner Herzog. What it does have is a hellacious trailer that is more infomercial on Entertainment Tonight than actual trailer. It’s a little hard to buy into whatever Paramount is selling when the trailer keeps cutting back to Cobie Smulders sarcastically shilling the movie—she is three seconds away from doing air quotes. Jack Reacher is adapted from a tremendously popular series of books, but that didn’t help the first movie. So you have to ask yourself, given the general apathy toward the first movie and whatever the f*ck this trailer is supposed to be, who is this for?