#1  
Old 07-17-2012, 06:14 PM
The curse of 3's

So, with The Dark Knight Rises opening this week I thought I would start a thread about why most third movies in a trilogy tend to be the weakest entry, (although this doesn't seem to be the case with said film).

In entertainment weekly, Nolan mentioned that the sheer exhaustion of having the same cast and crew return to the same franchise 3 times can definitely have an effect on the quality of the film. I tend to agree with this, as I think it was definitely a factor in why Spider-Man 3 was not as well received as its predecessors. However, if you take Nolan's approach and put some space and time between making films, then you can return each time feeling fresh and inspired with a story worth telling.

And yet, exhaustion from studio pressure, ridiculous expectations, and hasty scheduling and development can't explain every case of a disappointing third entry in a franchise. So, what then, is the main problem?

Some 3rd entries fail because of the fact that some franchises only have enough depth to their storylines and characters to sustain 2 movies. Sometimes, when you get to the 3rd movie there's simply nothing left to say. At this point, studios should refrain from making another entry, but we all know that making such a decision would make absolutely no financial sense for the studio. This also partly explains why we're often plagued with such vapid and hollow third installments, but I don't think I've gotten to the biggest reason as to why they often fail.

IMO, the most significant reason as to why 3rd entries are not well received by critics and audiences is quite simple; people don't like when a good thing has to end. Now, I realize that many franchises have received a fourth, (and often unnecessary) installment, but if there even is a 4th movie it's usually made several years after the intial trilogy. I'm not sure I've even seen a 4th movie that recaptures half the magic found in the trilogy it succeeded. Anyways, getting back to the point...

Three just seems like the perfect number for a franchise. Perhaps it's because a three part movie franchise usually mirrors the major stages of life in story structure. You have the origin story, the story of life, and the story of death. As we all know, death is not a particularly happy subject and is usually met with grief by all it affects. In the case of 3rd movie entries, death doesn't have to translate to the literal death of a major character, it can merely be signified by the end of a story.

If you don't go out with a bang on the third go-around, you might as well be asking for disappointment and misery. No one is going to want to sit through a conclusion that draws out its plot, continually draws attention to the fact that it's an ending, and concludes with a whimper. This is why the Matrix Revolutions failed as a third chapter; no matter what was happening onscreen, there was always a mopey this-is-an-invetiable-ending tone to everything in the film. It was as if the filmmakers accepted that a story about death in the matrix could never measure up to the films that covered the subjects of birth and life.

How do you beat this problem? This may seem crazy, but...I say, make a third chapter that remains organic in feeling in the face of the death of the story. Go all out, be epic, and if you decide to kill off characters and end on a melancholy note, make sure the story calls for it. This is what I hope The Dark Knight Rises accomplishes. The death of a story doesn't need to be a creative burden, its greatness depends on how you embrace it.
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  #2  
Old 07-18-2012, 04:30 PM
There is no such thing as a curse. Just like there's no validity to the statement "sequels are never better than the original."

Part 3's probably get more scrutiny because they have to live up to two movies instead of one, and there are also far less part 3's than part 2's, so the scrutiny is more concentrated, but I think this is much ado about nothing and is only a subject of any relevance because of a certain bat themed movie that's coming out.

Isn't it the general consensus that Return of the King, Revenge of the Sith, and Harry Potter 3 are the best of their respective series? Doesn't everyone like Nightmare on Elm Street 3 better than 2?

Personally, I also think Return of the Jedi is the best of the original trilogy; I like Die Hard 3 the best; I like Rambo III the best; I think Transformers 3 is better than 2; Pirates 3 is better than 2; Mission Impossible 3 is better than 2; The Matrix Revolutions is better than The Matrix Reloaded; Star Trek III, while not as good as II, is better than Star Trek The Motion Picture (ditto for the Austin Powers series).

The Jason Bourne trilogy seems to have a fairly even split among who thinks which of the three is the best.

etc, etc.
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  #3  
Old 07-18-2012, 05:45 PM
I should have been more specific. I wanted to talk about why most 3rd movies fail in a trilogy, don't know how I missed bringing that up. I'm interested in the three part movie story structure of birth, life, and death. That said, you can go ahead and eliminate A Nightmare On Elm St, Star Trek and Harry Potter from this discussion. I'll go ahead and eliminate some others you mentioned while trying to provide sound reasoning.

Lord of The Rings? Nope. It's not relevant because all three movies were filmed at the same time, which makes it feel like one giant film. Also, all three movies already had pre-existing source material to help provide the backbone of each screenplay. The writers weren't burdened with the task of creating an ending out of thin air.

The general consensus on the original Star Wars trilogy is that Empire is way better than Jedi. To quote clerks, "all jedi had was a bunch of muppets." As for the prequels? Well, the bar hadn't exactly been raised that high by the first two, so it's really not that impressive or significant that the third was the best in the trilogy.

You used Transformers? Really? None of those movies have a shread of integrity or quality to them. They equate to good looking eye candy, which does sell tickets, but like the Star Wars prequels it's not exactly a hard task to improve on the previous installements.

Pirates? Nope. Two and three were filmed back to back, essentially making a giant second movie, (personally thought 2 was better). Same goes for The Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions, (I personally thought Reloaded was way better than Revolutions).

Mission Impossible 3? Nope. Two lowered the bar to such an extent that it's no wonder three looked better by comparison.

The Bourne Ultimatum? You might have one there, but that's just one example. None of the other films you listed really qualify for what I'm discussing.

I don't really believe there's a curse. It was just an attempt at a clever title.

Yes, The dark knight rises inspired this, but why does that fact discount the validity of my discussion? Afterall, this is a movie forum and many of the threads on this site are inspired by specific movies.

Speaking of Batman, aren't you the guy who started the rant Keep Your Dark Knight Rises Talk In Your Dark Knight Rises' Forums? Seems like you're pretty sick of everything Batman, but I wouldn't use your personal bias to discount a thread subject simply because your tired of seeing Batman related things posted on this site.
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  #4  
Old 07-18-2012, 05:58 PM
The Star Wars prequel trilogy? Revenge of the Sith is generally regarded as the best (it's the only one I liked).

edit: just noticed it was already mentioned.

Last edited by detective mills; 07-18-2012 at 06:00 PM..
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  #5  
Old 07-18-2012, 07:43 PM
I think lately that 3rd entries have been better than in years or decades past. Lord of the Rings: Return of the King and The Bourne Ultimatum are good examples of that. I think studios and filmmakers have learned to prepare better for keeping a series going with more than just two entries. They've learned how to end a movie with the possibility, though uncertainty, of continuing it with another sequel. Obviously LOTR is an exception since it was always meant to be a trilogy. Batman Begins and The Dark Knight could've been the finale in the series and there wouldn't have been the need for another . . . storywise (financially is another matter).
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  #6  
Old 07-18-2012, 11:23 PM
I honestly don't see a curse as far as recent trilogies are concerned. The only one that is considered weak is Spiderman 3. I think it was somewhat a surprise how well received Spiderman 2 was, so that must have put the pressure on them to meet that level.
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  #7  
Old 07-19-2012, 03:24 AM
Back to the Future 3 is the best of the trilogy I think
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  #8  
Old 07-19-2012, 05:33 AM
The Godfather Part III.
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  #9  
Old 07-19-2012, 05:41 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by creekin111 View Post
The Godfather Part III.
Honestly?!
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  #10  
Old 07-19-2012, 06:40 AM
I think the third films tend to fail because a character only needs two good films to develop. Honestly, if there's really more to be said about him/her by the third film, the first two didn't develop him/her well enough. So by the time that you get to the third and final installment, it's all going downhill. What I think The Empire Strikes Back and The Dark Knight did well was that they ended on a melancholy note so that the third film COULD go up from where it left off as opposed to down.

I think maybe it's better if we don't know that the third film is the final film. I could've been fully expecting a fourth Batman film from Nolan had he not stated that he was ending it at three. Now when I watch The Dark Knight Rises (midnight, baby!), even if I love it, I'm always going to see it as an ending and not so much a sequel, if that makes sense. Perhaps if Nolan had kept it a secret, then told us all afterwards, we'd feel like the film was its own thing and not just a wrap-up to a trilogy.


Tapatalking from my bed. Ya mutha says hi.
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  #11  
Old 07-19-2012, 09:32 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Badbird View Post
Personally, I also think Return of the Jedi is the best of the original trilogy; I like Die Hard 3 the best; I like Rambo III the best; I think Transformers 3 is better than 2; Pirates 3 is better than 2; Mission Impossible 3 is better than 2; The Matrix Revolutions is better than The Matrix Reloaded; Star Trek III, while not as good as II, is better than Star Trek The Motion Picture (ditto for the Austin Powers series).
.
I don't believe in a curse either. Most of the time if a third movie fails, it is because the studios and producers are in such a hurry to rush just any movie to the screen to maximize profits and momentum. If a third or forth or whatever movie is thought out and done properly, it is most likely going to be a better movie. It appears that Nolan took his time and I hope did it right. There was no rushing here.

It is your opinion, but I disagree with all your choices above.
I thought almost all fans loved Empire the most.
I think Die Hard 3, while good, is the worst of the 4.
Rambo 3? The one against the Russians, the best? Not for me
I love the Pirate movies, but I liked 2 better than 3 and I loved 3.
MI2 I loved. I HATED 3.
I also like TF2 better than 3.
I hated Matrix Revolutions, so much I will not ever watch it again.
I liked Star Trek 2 the most. WIth Star Trek the evens were better than the odds.
Powers 3 was boring with no new jokes. I liked 2 the most.
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  #12  
Old 07-19-2012, 07:20 PM
I usually am of the opinion that the first of a series is the best one: Star Wars, LOTR, BTTF, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Godfather, Die Hard, Lethal Weapon. A few exceptions are The Bourne Ultimatum, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. I think the Bourne series is the only one where the sequels improved on the predecessors each time.

Last edited by bigred760; 07-25-2012 at 10:31 AM..
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  #13  
Old 07-19-2012, 07:31 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by gabriel1980 View Post
Honestly?!
By itself its a very good film (934 on my top 1,000). If 1 & 2 were never made it would be more revered. Going by what the OP is said you'd have to include it.

Alien 3.

Last edited by creekin111; 08-07-2012 at 05:05 AM..
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  #14  
Old 07-19-2012, 07:41 PM
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Back to the Future III
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Army of Darkness
Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade
Star Wars: The Return of the Jedi
Die Hard with a Vengeance
The Good, The Bad and the Ugly
Spider Man III
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

There's a curse?
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  #15  
Old 07-20-2012, 06:14 PM
Well The Dark Knight Rises had a pretty weak conclusion, therefore the entire trilogy had a pretty weak conclusion. Ah well.


Tapatalking from my bed. Ya mutha says hi.
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  #16  
Old 07-20-2012, 10:19 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by magjournal View Post
Well The Dark Knight Rises had a pretty weak conclusion, therefore the entire trilogy had a pretty weak conclusion. Ah well.
To me TDKR is the weakest of the three films.

It seemed so afraid to go the Spider-Man 3 route that it spun its wheels and rehashed things too much. In fact, I think I enjoyed Spider-Man 3 more because where it failed was in being too ambitious and trying to do too much. SM3 swang for the fences in every act. Sure they swang and missed a few times but they did connect a few times as well. TDKR was so busy being the conclusion to the trilogy that is forgot to be a good film all on its own.

TDKR is not a bad film, it's just weak when you compare it to the impact TDK delivered. In fact, I was just re-watching TDK on TNT and its little nuances are so much better than what I saw in the cinema from TDKR earlier today. This is just like Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3 in that regard. Without Ledger's Joker, TDKR needed more texture, depth and daring then they were able to deliver.

That is exactly why a third film is so tough to pull off at a high level. Try and do too much and you overwhelm the story. Try and play it exactly the same and you run in to re-hash territory.
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  #17  
Old 07-21-2012, 09:38 AM
I'm truly a believer that most originals can't be beat and certainly in my opinion, I prefer them.

The Terminator, First Blood, The Godfather, The Matrix, Halloween, Texas Chainsaw Massacre ('74), Back to the Future, Scream, etc.

I've never been a huge fan of sequels (except for when I was a kid) and I absolutely despise remakes.
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  #18  
Old 07-21-2012, 08:13 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeChar4321 View Post
To me TDKR is the weakest of the three films.

It seemed so afraid to go the Spider-Man 3 route that it spun its wheels and rehashed things too much. In fact, I think I enjoyed Spider-Man 3 more because where it failed was in being too ambitious and trying to do too much. SM3 swang for the fences in every act. Sure they swang and missed a few times but they did connect a few times as well. TDKR was so busy being the conclusion to the trilogy that is forgot to be a good film all on its own.

TDKR is not a bad film, it's just weak when you compare it to the impact TDK delivered. In fact, I was just re-watching TDK on TNT and its little nuances are so much better than what I saw in the cinema from TDKR earlier today. This is just like Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3 in that regard. Without Ledger's Joker, TDKR needed more texture, depth and daring then they were able to deliver.

That is exactly why a third film is so tough to pull off at a high level. Try and do too much and you overwhelm the story. Try and play it exactly the same and you run in to re-hash territory.
I don't think TDKR ran into rehash territory at all, and I also don't think it was anywhere near the mediocrity of SM 3. I thought TDKR did swing for the fences and was as epic as a Batman film could possibly be. Out of the three films in the trilogy, I also thought the film packed the most emotional moments; i.e.
Spoiler:
Bane breaking Batman, Alfred and Bruce's temporary parting moment, Bruce repairing his body and climbing the wall, the razing of Gotham by Bane, Talia's and Bane's backstory, etc.


The depth, for me, was there in spades. Every film in the trilogy has a different feel. BB embraced fear, TDK had chaos, and TDKR explored pain. There was nothing in this film that betrayed the character like there was in SM 3, (sandman killing uncle Ben). It is true that Ledger gave the best performance as a villain in the series, but Bane is great in the film and gave Batman the ultimate antagonist in regards to his emotional and physical state.
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  #19  
Old 07-22-2012, 02:05 PM
What about Toy Story 3-the curse of the the 3 did not affect that series

Last edited by athf1980; 07-22-2012 at 02:12 PM..
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  #20  
Old 07-22-2012, 06:32 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by athf1980 View Post
What about Toy Story 3-the curse of the the 3 did not affect that series
Good point, another exception to the rule.
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  #21  
Old 07-23-2012, 09:04 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Badbird View Post
Personally, I also think Return of the Jedi is the best of the original trilogy; I like Die Hard 3 the best; I like Rambo III the best
Ok, some of what you said here I will let go as hyperbole. I get it, you are trying to make a point. But this above quote is blasphemy and I just can't let it stand.

Return of the Jedi, really? Are you one of those people who love Ewoks?

Die Hard 3 over the original? Two words for ya, HANS "MOTHERFUCKING" GRUBER!

And finally I must point out Rambo III is garbage. In fact, all the Rambo's are trash except for the first and the most recent one . Even the one with the Russians is kooky, corny garbage. But the first one and most recent one are cinematic perfection.
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  #22  
Old 07-23-2012, 09:08 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by PSU80 View Post
I'm truly a believer that most originals can't be beat and certainly in my opinion, I prefer them.

The Terminator, First Blood, The Godfather, The Matrix, Halloween, Texas Chainsaw Massacre ('74), Back to the Future, Scream, etc.

I've never been a huge fan of sequels (except for when I was a kid) and I absolutely despise remakes.

Amen and I second that, with the famous noted exception of Empire Strikes Back.
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  #23  
Old 07-23-2012, 10:07 AM
I got one that kind of bucks this trend, Rocky III.

Often overlooked, neglected, and forgotten because of Rocky 4 but Rocky III is damned good movie.
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  #24  
Old 07-23-2012, 10:24 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by athf1980 View Post
What about Toy Story 3-the curse of the the 3 did not affect that series
Toy Story 3 is the weakest of the series by a mile.
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  #25  
Old 07-23-2012, 11:02 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Erroneous View Post
I don't believe in a curse either. Most of the time if a third movie fails, it is because the studios and producers are in such a hurry to rush just any movie to the screen to maximize profits and momentum. If a third or forth or whatever movie is thought out and done properly, it is most likely going to be a better movie. It appears that Nolan took his time and I hope did it right. There was no rushing here.
.
I still say the third is usually not as good, because the story was rushed or out of good ideas to continue the series successfully.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigred760 View Post
I usually am of the opinion that the first of a series is the best one: Star Wars, LOTR, BTTF, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Godfather, Die Hard, Lethal Weapon. .
Me too! It is always hard for me to say that the first is not the best. Mostly the stories are not original and just copying the magic of the first.

Quote:
Originally Posted by psycheoutsteve View Post
Good point, another exception to the rule.
I do not believe in the rule. Just pointing that out again lol

Quote:
Originally Posted by rustysyringe View Post
Ok, some of what you said here I will let go as hyperbole. I get it, you are trying to make a point. But this above quote is blasphemy and I just can't let it stand.

Return of the Jedi, really? Are you one of those people who love Ewoks?

Die Hard 3 over the original? Two words for ya, HANS "MOTHERFUCKING" GRUBER!

And finally I must point out Rambo III is garbage. In fact, all the Rambo's are trash except for the first and the most recent one . Even the one with the Russians is kooky, corny garbage. But the first one and most recent one are cinematic perfection.
I like this guy! He is spot on. Hans motherfucking gruber is right!

Quote:
Originally Posted by magjournal View Post
Toy Story 3 is the weakest of the series by a mile.
Really? Personally, I think they are all pretty close in terms of quality. I still say Toy Story1 is the best then 2 then 3, but 3 is pretty frigging awesome. To me, 3 is no less than 4 of 5 stars.
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  #26  
Old 07-27-2012, 04:31 AM
i think this movies is great
love it
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  #27  
Old 07-27-2012, 02:35 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycheoutsteve View Post
I should have been more specific. I wanted to talk about why most 3rd movies fail in a trilogy, don't know how I missed bringing that up. I'm interested in the three part movie story structure of birth, life, and death. That said, you can go ahead and eliminate A Nightmare On Elm St, Star Trek and Harry Potter from this discussion.
Most movies aren't meant as trilogies. Trilogies are only marketing hypes, to justify yet another sequel. Did The Hangover really need a sequel? No but it made so much money, they rehashed the movie. And after that made money director Todd Philips suddenly says "oh wait it was always meant as a trilogy!" to justify another sequel.

That is what goes wrong with trilogies these days, they are almost mandatory if the first movie is a success. Because one sequel is seen as a cashgrab, but two sequels can be explained as storytelling. But no movie ever is envisioned as a trilogy from the start. Well maybe the Star Wars prequels, but that doesn't really count since George Lucas had no other choice than to make three movies. Even the original Star Wars was just a stand-alone movie, however George Lucas did have the balls to make Empire part of a grander story and even made it part 5 of 9.

At least in the eighties people didn't try to cover up making sequels. Friday the 13th wasn't envisioned as a grand 10 part story. They just happened to make 10 (including two final chapters), a crossover and a remake. Sure afterwards you can say they made several trilogies in that series too, like how part 2-3-4 is the human Jason trilogy and part 6-7-8 is the zombie Jason trilogy and 9-X-FvJ is the "goes to (hell, space, bed)" trilogy.

The question is, what makes a franchise a trilogy? Is a trilogy three seperate movies in one franchise/universe or three movies that tell one big story? Because the latter is attempted with back-to-back filmed sequels like Back to the Future, The Matrix and Pirates of the Caribbean.
The Blade franchise are just three different stories about Blade. Same can be said about the Indiana Jones movies, Die Hard, Scream, Spider-Man, Mission Impossible etc. Sure there are references to previous movies, but the second (or third) one didn't leave a cliffhanger that justifies another part unlike the intentional Empire Strikes back, Back to the Future 2, Matrix Reloaded and PotC: Dead Man's Chest.
The last three movies all have a third movie that is very different (in my opinion) from it's predecessor. BttF 3 is mostly a western, Matrix Revolutions was more real world than Matrix and PotC: AWE is even after rewatching it many times too confusing and has too little Davy Jones.

I don't feel sad when a trilogy ends, because they usually ended at least one time before that (the original). At most it's sad when a premise ends, no matter how many there were, be it only one (The Incredibles, Van Helsing, Equilibrium), two (Alien vs Predator, National Treasure), three (Evil Dead, Jurassic Park) or more (Final Destination).
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  #28  
Old 07-27-2012, 03:29 PM
Return of the Jedi
Return of the King
Last Crusade
Army of Darkness
Back To the Future Part 3
The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
The Dark Knight Rises
Matrix Revolutions (Better than 2)
Alien 3 (Assembly Cut)
Scream 3 (better than 2)
Toy Story 3 (better than 2)
Die Hard With A Vengeance (Better than 2, and equal with the first imo)
Rocky 3
Terminator 3 (Underrated)
Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome (Underrated)
Friday the 13th Part 3
At Worlds End

A lot people hate some of those films, but I like them all and even hold many above their predecessors.
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  #29  
Old 07-27-2012, 05:54 PM
Back to the Future III > Back to the Future II
Die Hard III > Die Hard II
The Bourne Ultimatum > The Bourne Identity
Top Story III > Toy Story II
Friday the 13th III > Friday the 13th
Nightmare on Elm Street III > Nightmare on Elm Street II
The Dark Knight Rises > Batman Begins > The Dark Knight
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  #30  
Old 07-27-2012, 06:27 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by magjournal View Post
Toy Story 3 is the weakest of the series by a mile.

What!?

Toy Story 3 was the strongest of the series. And if it's not, it's pretty neck and neck with the original, and both are about 3234123412342349082498345 miles ahead of Toy Story 2.
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