For as long as films have been made, there has been one thing that always seems to haunt directors of sequels: the fear of not living up to the prequel.
This is the story (and tragedy) of a great movie, a good movie and a horribly disappointing movie. I’m speaking of course of the awful third film of numerous movie series – The dreaded trilogy.
Before I begin to explain the horrible films they call third installments, I would like to point out that there are a few (very few) good examples of successful trilogies.
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and won all of them! That is more than the first two films combined. Great Success! (in Borat voice).
The Bourne Trilogy: The Bourne Identity, Supremacy and Ultimatum are three individually successful films and all-together awesome flicks. Cheers to Matt Damon for being a badass Jason Bourne.
Back to the Future: Micheal J. Fox gave a great performance in all of the films, even if the last one was by far the weakest. The trilogy still had excellent connectivity and was extremely character-driven.
There are so many bad examples of trilogies, I’m just going to name several of the biggest offenders.
Spiderman 3: My dad is the biggest Spiderman fan in the world. If you don’t believe me I have pictures, seriously. But even he admits that this is a shame of a movie and a blemish on the previously awesome Spiderman legend. The first one was one of the first superhero movies and blew away audiences with special effects and explosions. In Spiderman 3, there are still special effects and explosions but not much else. The characters are boring and drawn out, the screenplay is awful and there are far too many villains to even comprehend or deal with in one film. Hopefully the upcoming blockbuster The Amazing Spiderman with Andrew Garfield and Emma Watson will be well…Amazing!
The Matrix Revolutions: They should have left it at 1 amazing film. There was no need for a second, let alone a third movie. The scene where he is fighting in the rain with only Agent Smith? Why?! Oh the humanity! The second and third cannot stand on their own legs, why did they even try to continue the thought-provoking and original Matrix
Pirates of the Caribbean (Care-a-bee-yin or Ca-rib-ee-yun?) At World’s End: To be fair, there is four now. But filming Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End back-to-back was the problem for the two subsequent Disney flicks. The former was all build-up and no climax, and the latter was all battles and no character development. Two half films do not make a full movie.
X Men 3: 20th Century Fox and Bryan combined to create an excellent start to the superhero genre: X-Men and then, of course X2. Then came Brett Ratner and The Last Stand which completed the trilogy and seemingly killed the series. The good news is, they came out with a bigger, better film in First Class (2011) and the decent side project Wolverine in 2009.
Jurassic Park 3: I think one of the main problems with the third movie in this trilogy is the lack of Steven Spielberg’s directing and a Micheal Crichton novel for inspiration. Plus, the script wasn’t completely written until the final edits were being made. Even though the aviary scenes with the pteranodons is awesome, there can’t be a complete movie without a complete script.
Star Wars Return of the Jedi: The film seemed childish and rushed. Ewoks were an invitation for criticism from Star Wars fanatics. Not as bad as what would come (Jar Jar Binks anyone?), but still tough to watch. Plus, after writing it, George Lucas nearly washed his hands clean of this clunky third installment.
Basically, if you are going to make a third film in a series..don’t.
But seriously, there can be a trilogy with a final film that doesn’t leave a bitter taste on the audience afterwards. They are just very few and far between though.