Last week, the guys discussed the worst third movie in a series ever, and this week continue the discussion for your reading enjoyment.
Chris: Why is it that the third movie in most trilogies is pitiful? Okay, that's not necessarily fair as Return of the Jedi was great, The Last Crusade is my favorite of Dr. Jones' adventures, and Back to the Future Part III is still what we consider one of the best westerns of all time. But in more recent years, there's been a huge push for big trilogies that want to push the epic scope up to eleven, and yet can't figure out how to stick the landing.
We took a look at Matrix Revolutions and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, but there are plenty of other thirds that bother people, such as Spider-Man 3 or even just the conclusion to the new Star Wars trilogy in Revenge of the Sith. I think I've been able to peg exactly why those movies failed as a third entry to an otherwise good movie series. I'll take a look here at the two movies we specifically focused on, and it all comes down to one simple fact: If you tell an audience to come back later for resolution, they will spend that time coming up with a better climax than you can deliver.
Our generation is raised as skeptics and forensic experts. We are incapable for the most part of watching, reading, or playing any form of media without at least taking a passing guess as to what will come next and especially how it will all end. There's a glorious charm to something like a Mario game insomuch as you already know the story isn't surprising you, so you can just enjoy the new levels as they appear, or the fun of Dragon Ball Z, safe in the knowledge that eventually someone will power up even higherer and punch harderiester.
With movies, too often you'll see a first movie come out and surprise the masses with either something new or something fun, The Matrix and Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl being perfect examples of this. But then the sequels appear and decide to make the biggest mistake that modern movies can make: Assuming that audiences have the patience or interest to wait a year for a plot to resolve itself. I'm watching Lost right now, and while I'm really enjoying it having just ended the 4th season, I know for a fact I'd despise the show if I were watching it in any form other than Netflix Instant Play.
Let's look at both Matrix 2 and Pirates 2. Both movies decide to expand on the established universes, add a few fun new characters, reintroduce a few old characters, and generally build with the promise that a HUGE conclusion is just around the corner. Then they bow out with massive cliffhangers where the plot has hit its apex, and then...credits roll. The audience is jazzed at that very moment, but you can't keep that feeling up once they leave the theater and go to bed.
As a result, fans of the movies spend the next year or however many months in between the release of the second and third movie formulating brilliant theories, hopeful surprises, and generally awesome conclusions once they finally get back in the theater. And inevitably, the movie they made up as fans fueled off of the good fan vibes is infinitely better than the dull, played-out final act. The heart is gone, the twists are strained, and the action is...meh. It's all just unremarkable compared to what we've hyped it to be as fans. Not our fault since, duh, you need our enthusiasm; otherwise no one is watching your movie in droves.
I honestly loved Pirates 2 and Matrix 2, due entirely to the promises that were made. That whole, "Hey, if you thought this was great, just think what we'll do next!" Anyone remember Monty Oum's fan-made video series Dead Fantasy that ran on GameTrailers a few years ago? The first movie was brilliant, the [href="http://www.gametrailers.com/videos/pg6338/monty-oum-dead-fantasy-ii"]second part[/a] was possibly the greatest team-based choreographed fight I've ever seen, and then he left it off saying, "You haven't seen anything yet..." Finally, after over a year, a few dull follow-ups came out and as of now I'm not sure there are any plans to resolve any sort of "story" that's been established. It's such a shame since I was twitching in my computer chair after that "You haven't seen anything yet..." glowed onto the screen before fading to black.
It's that same notion that's happened in trilogies. Most of the time it's not even conceived as a trilogy until the first movie does so well, then the second movie comes along and decides it doesn't need a resolution. Boo to that and boo to making audiences wait- and pay- just to have a story properly resolve itself.
But hey, take solace in the fact that at least movies don't cost as much as a game series cutting the plot of a game in half between a console cycle. I'm looking at you Halo 3 and God of War III.