In a summer movie season filled with uninspiring sequels – including Transformers 4, The Expendables 3, and How To Train Your Dragon 2 – Vladimir Putin is set to bring audiences the follow-up they have clamored for since the dramatic fall of the Berlin Wall and the ensuing disintegration of the Soviet Union twenty-five years ago.
The long-standing rumors of Putin’s intentions were finally confirmed earlier this year with the Russian President’s invasion and subsequent occupation of the Crimean Peninsula. Such Eastern European land-grabbing no doubt strikes a nostalgic chord in American audiences who favor the tense exhilaration of the original Cold War over the less decisive and more convoluted wars of the past couple decades.
Those with high hopes for Putin’s project point to the success of World War II in trumping its own popular prequel – World War I – in many important categories including plot coherence, number of casualties, and notoriety of major villains. In fact, many students today exclusively study the Second World War at the expense of the First because of its more memorable plot-line and its huge influence on future works.
Meanwhile, some critics are not convinced that simply rolling out a sequel is enough to drum up American patriotism and generate momentum behind the project. They appeal to the sloppy, inconclusive War of 1812 which, originally marketed as the authoritative sequel to the American Revolution, never truly gained widespread support and has ultimately been marginalized compared to its groundbreaking predecessor.
The success of Putin’s current scheme, of course, depends largely on the receptiveness of both the American public and the international community. It remains to be seen whether Putin has the skill and craft to add his chapter to this legendary tale, or whether his story will forever remain on the back burner like the long-awaited projects of Kim-Jong Un.