Gerard Butler has been an integral part of why Hollywood witnessed a rise in the audience’s fascination with high-thrill action flicks in the decade since 2010. The kind of film that gets one gripping the literal edge of their seat in anticipation and fear of what might happen if a single element in the plot goes wrong was suddenly given new breath by Gerard Butler’s Has Fallen franchise.
In the aftermath of the franchise’s admirable success, the applause came not only from the masses in waves but from other stars within the industry, too, who suddenly found comfortable nostalgia in the adrenaline-fueled trilogy.
Gerard Butler Receives High Praise From Robert Downey Jr.
The Antoine Fuqua-directed Olympus Has Fallen brought the former Secret Service agent, Mike Banning, played by Gerard Butler to the forefront, instantly relegating him to elite status among the audience. The reason lies not in Gerard Butler’s rugged charm (although it might be one of the biggest contributing factors) but also because the Has Fallen films brought something else to an already saturated spy thriller industry dominated by someone they call Jason Bourne.
Robert Downey Jr., being the ever-articulate master of words that he is, condensed the emotions of an entire fanbase accumulated by Olympus Has Fallen and why it succeeded despite its formulaic plot. In a recent interview with Uproxx, Butler recalled:
“Robert Downey Jr. wrote me the nicest email after ‘Olympus Has Fallen.’ He’s like, ‘We need more of these movies.’ These are the movies, when I was in New York as a kid, and people would shout at the screen and throw things and be like, ‘No!,’ and applaud and cheer… They’re fun. There are reasons that they’ve survived. There are reasons that audiences come out. It’s like you say, it’s a throwback to the ’90s movies where you’re just like, ‘Come on!’”
No one would have expected Mike Banning to fail because, despite the implausible scenario thrown his way, the movie needed the underdog hero to succeed and deliver upon its promise of retribution by the end of the day. With people screaming and throwing things, the stakes were felt in every bone as Gerard Butler moves fluidly through the plot, delivering just as much drama and anticipation as is necessary for the plot to reach its satisfactory closure.
Also read: Greatest Spy Thrillers Of The ’90s, Ranked
The Has Fallen Series: an Exemplary Hollywood Triumph
The Has Fallen film series, with Gerard Butler in the lead, serves up a delectable trilogy spanning the saturated yet never-failing arena of Secret Service operatives single-handedly saving the day after being confronted with an impossible situation. The plots bring back time and again the overly tried-and-tested formulae of a threat against the government or the President and Butler’s Mike Banning putting his life and skills to the most high-stakes test of all time – saving the Commander-in-Chief of the United States of America.
The fan response to the films, which began with Olympus Has Fallen in 2013 and expanded over time to sequels, London Has Fallen (2016) and Angel Has Fallen (2019), grew so large in its magnitude that industry giants with a keen eye took notice of it as well. The reason was apparent. It wasn’t a need for the audience to witness one man overcoming impossible odds and rising triumphant but the sheer cinematography, script, and execution of the films that raise Butler’s trilogy above all the rest.
As RDJ himself posited, the films brought back a form of nostalgia that harbored both – a mutated vision of the kind of unnerving and adrenaline-fueled chase that haunts every other spy action-thriller of today, and simultaneously painted the whole vision with a feel of the ’90s in a way that was tangible.
Olympus Has Fallen is available for streaming on iTunes and Hulu.