5 Good Third Installments
They say there aren’t many good sequels (and I wrote a similar post recently highlighting comedy sequels in particular). Take the number of good sequels and cut that in half and you’ve got a very small list of serviceable third installments.
With the hopes that The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies will join this list eventually, I’ve created a list of good third installments below. Here they are:
Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi is admittedly worse than its predecessors (well, if you use the original trilogy as a baseline). However, like another movie on this list, the previous installments shouldn’t be used against the particular movie. Either way you spin it, Return of the Jedi is more than just a movie Star Wars geeks like. It’s a movie that brings enough closure to a franchise we all thought wouldn’t continue. That ultimately ended up not being the case but I still have to give credit where credit is due.
It isn’t often a franchise film like Lord the Rings: The Return of the King sweeps the Oscars. However, The Return of the King was much more calculated than all these other franchises because the first two movies were filmed with this movie in mind. It’s definitely a concept Hollywood doesn’t use very often but, by the looks of it, it’s a formula they should utilize more. In all, The Return of the King will likely go down as the best of the six Middle Earth films.
Much like Return of the Jedi, The Dark Knight Rises gets a fair amount of criticism because it doesn’t live up to its predecessors. However, I like to think of the trilogy as a whole and I still think Rises brings the whole thing to an emotional and fulfilling conclusion. There are problems with the film, yes, but through all the pressure and expectations, it would be almost impossible to satisfy everyone. Nolan truly did the best he could.
Nowadays, it seems like a franchise film has to release every two or three years. The final two films on this list don’t abide by these arbitrary rules and can probably attribute their success to not rushing things along. In the case of Richard Linklater’s Before Midnight, Linklater let his actors grow at practically the same speed as the story. He emphasized setting and dialogue to create one of the realest love stories I’ve ever seen. And not only did he do that once but he succeeded in doing it three times. By the time you get to Before Midnight, you’ve truly experienced every facet – including all the phases and emotions – of love.
Although I’m still upset a fourth film is on the way, I can’t really blame Pixar for following up their most successful trilogy with another Toy Story film. Toy Story 3 is such a great movie, and a prime candidate for this list, because it let its huge fan base grow up with the spectacular cast of characters. By the end of the thrilling conclusion, you’ve virtually went through every emotion in the book (with nostalgia being at the forefront). There’s truly something for everyone to like…or love.
I also considered The Bourne Ultimatum, Harry Potter: The Prisoner of Azkaban, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and Iron Man 3. What else deserves to be on the list? Sound off below.
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