‘Candyman’ sequel better than the original

“Candyman” 1992 (left) and “Candyman” 2021. Images courtesy: imdb.com

The long anticipated reboot/sequel of “Candyman” has finally been released, after a mountain of delays.  The Jordan Peele produced and Nia DaCosta directed film has been making waves on the internet, and holds the distinction that for the first time in history a film directed by a Black woman opened at No. 1 at the box office.

So with all the buzz around the new movie (no pun intended), we wanted to take a look back at the original and compare the two.

Both films are brilliant in their own right, and this is frankly all just subjective opinion.

Virginia Madsen’s Helen gave the 1992 original an unforgettable protagonist who’s driven to the point that it leads her down a path of chaos and death.

There’s an ultimate tragedy to her demise, as we watch her go past the point of no return, and finally get the answers she seeks on Candyman, albeit far too late.

She’s a character who feels very genuinely naïve in the beginning, but painfully warped by the end.

As far as the other characters go, her husband Trevor is kind of a cliché jerk from the very start.  And her best friend and thesis partner Bernadette works as a more cautious foil to Helen.

Then in 2021, we’re introduced to the artist Anthony, his art dealer girlfriend Brianna, Brianna’s brother Troy, and laundromat owner William Burke.

Much like Helen, Anthony fills the role of tragic hero, who always seemed destined to his fate.

The new “Candyman” certainly felt updated and relevant for the modern age, particularly with its themes.  However, in terms of its story, it is a bit lacking, particularly in the third act.

The idea of there being multiple Candymen isn’t a bad idea, and it’s nothing new.  We saw Helen become a Candywoman at the end of the original movie.

But where the 2021 version veers into left field is the idea that William Burke has been plotting to turn Anthony into Candyman to use him as something of a vigilante.

The 2021 version certainly takes an updated look, featuring main characters and more people behind the camera who are Black.  However, it still seems to come from a position of privilege as Anthony and Brianna live in a gentrified high-rise and seem to be financially well off, which is not the world that Candyman usually inhabits.

What it really comes down to is the 1992 film is merely trying to tell a story and sort of accidentally deals with greater themes, while the 2021 movie intentionally infuses them into the narrative.  It knows what it wants to say, and does so effectively, albeit at the expense of story logic;

But because of its intentions and execution, the newer version gets the edge here. Honestly, both movies are brilliant, and were pretty evenly matched in all of these categories.