By W.T. Bane
For some reason, the third is the trickiest. Many franchises succumb to the pressures of performance and fail to deliver on the third outing. Let’s take a look of a few that faltered.
X-Men The Last Stand
Let’s start with an obvious one. X-Men and X-2: X-Men United helped shape the current modern era of comic book films. They gave reason to the movie going audience to give comics a second chance after Batman & Robin turned everyone away. Well this turd didn’t do the genre any favors.
So where did it go wrong? First the tone is lighter than its predecessors, filled with more quips and jokes than before, yet the events in the film are darker, especially considering this is “the last stand” of the X-Men. You’d think tonally he would have gone for something more appropriate for the end of the era.
Also, they completely wasted the Phoenix storyline, one of the most pivotal in X-Men’s history. Jean Grey is basically a macguffin in the background. Magento basically uses her as a show of force, by not using her till the end. That and we barely get any reason or real character exploration throughout the film.
How about how she killed off Cyclops off screen? Either kill the man or don’t. They tell us out right that he’s dead. They dont really leave it open for him to come back. So why not just kill him anyway?
Then there is the Juggernaut, who really has no character or reason to be in the film, except for a one liner joke that no one will remember, even now really.
Also, since there are two vacancies in the lead spots of the X-Men, this was prime opportunity to get new blood front and center. Instead we got more Wolverine, but lucky for Colossus he still got…one line. This was Storm’s chance to step up and be a leader. Instead, Halle Berry got to do more of the same, which wasn’t much.
All in all, this could have been even worse, but it is still a raging disappointment considering fan expectations.
What happened here? Well Sam Raimi gave us two quality entries into the franchise then the Studio stepped in and said “we want it bigger!”. Because bigger means more money! They were right on that account as Spider-Man felt no shortage of cash intake.
Sony was pushing for Venom due to his popularity as a villain, which is really just based off his visual awesomeness. He as a character can be lacking at times, and he certainly was here. So if you didn’t know this already, but forcing a director to put a character into a movie that he doesn’t like, doesn’t lead to quality. Venom really only appeared for a few minutes and his alter ego didn’t have much screen time or justification either.
Add Venom on top of Sandman and Green Goblin and you have an either bigger problem. Only one of the villains really felt like he got a sufficient arc in the film. Sandman was done well, but I don’t know of anyone who really cared when Harry Osborn died at the end.
Dancing! Nuff said.
Finally, if Peter Parker hadn’t been enough of a cry baby yet, he spent more time in this movie in tears than not in tears.
I don’t have much to say about this one. I’ve only been able to sit through it once. First off Richard Lester is the absolute wrong pick to make this movie. Lester was chosen to finish Superman 2 after the fall out with Richard Donner. Lester famously added in all the cheesy scenes that make no sense like Superman throwing his S and turning it into a plastic net. If you want to know how serious he takes this film, just watch as the opening epic score of John Williams famous Superman march is played over a montage of slapstick whackiness.
Also, Lex Luthor is replaced by…not Lex Luthor.
Richard Pryor sucks. That is all. He does not deserve to be in the film or in this genre.
The only redeeming part of the film is the good Clark Kent vs the Evil Superman scene. Doesn’t make much sense, but it was good for its time, and in comparison to everything else in the film.
Iron Man 2
Ok that takes explaining. At the end of Iron Man, Marvel gave us the first glimpse into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which carried on into Incredible Hulk, then Iron Man 2. Every movie in the super franchise goes out of its way to remind you that they are all a part of a larger whole. Every film is filled with easter eggs and some to a fault.
Enter this third film in the super franchise. Iron Man 2 takes about 30 min out of the second act just to set up more films with cameos of Captain Americas shield, Thor’s hammer landing in Phoenix and a conversation or two with Fury that really added absolutely nothing to the plot.
Also the ending battle with Whiplash lasts all of thirty seconds.
It could have been good if it spent enough time actually telling its own story instead of deviating away for further setups and easter eggs. Did we need to see Tony Stark invent A NEW ELEMENT? (cause that makes sense.) If they had concentrated on a story that was a little more personal or personally invested, we could have invested more ourselves and actually watch a quality film.
TMNT 3: Turtles in Time
Let’s be honest. The first two films aren’t actually quality, but really ride the nostalgia wave of pizza and early 90’s awesomeness.
So why does number 3 falter?
First off, there’s no Shredder. In every iteration of the characters, whenever Shredder is removed from the equation, I tend to lose interest. Probably because they have no other great villains other than those who serve as his allies or underlings.
Really, the story barely even resembles a Turtle arc. This could have been any go back in time movie and find your way back. It just so happened to be the Turtles, and again the villains, whose names I can’t even remember, were far less than interesting.
Lastly, the suits. These were not made by the Jim Henson Company and the quality shows. they dropped the budget on the suits and they product looks terrible in comparison to the first two.
It followed Godfather 2. It had no chance at victory. Sorry Corleones.
This just got more and more convoluted. Really I can’t figure out a way that they would lived up to expectations of the series, especially following the Architect’s spiel about the creation of the Matrix and the multiple Ones. I really just stopped caring especially when the final battle for Earth became the CGI vomited battle for Zion. A large part of the problem with the battle is that zero of the characters fighting it are really interesting or the audience has invested in. With wave after wave of machines it’s hard to care about the oncoming apocalypse because I don’t care about the people being destroyed, especially when Earth is just a bunch of Agent Smith’s.
Also, Trinity serves no purpose in this movie other than to fly Neo, who apparently could see better than her anyway.
Finally, Neo’s climactic battle is epic in all proportions, and solved the Man of Steel dilemma by having everyone in proximity being someone I wished to see dead. However, the final sequence leaves much to be desired. With their final cross being about fate and Neo just allowing himself to die, and beating Smith by proxy, it felt like none of this was for anything. If he just had to die, and he lost the great battle, he still would have won. The entire fight is literally for nothing other than visuals.
The last piece of the sh*t pie is the promise from the Oracle that Neo isn’t really dead. We’ll see him again one day, because they didn’t beat our skulls in with the Messianic message already.
Pirates of the Caribbean 3
The biggest problem with this franchise is that the main star, who as so extraordinary in character and performance, and his constant exposure leave him feeling less special every minute he is on screen. By the end of the third film, Jack Sparrow is no longer the great character that stands amongst the rest of pirates, but simply another common parodied caricature of himself.
This may just be me, but the film’s lighting is terrible. For some reason, everything is darkened and muted throughout the film. It cuts back on the vibrance that should be the great adventure of sailing the great seas.
Lastly, the plot of the film is so convoluted that I lose track of who is doing what, for what reason, and whose side they are on. At one point, six pirates walk towards each other in two lines of three facing each other. On one side is… I don’t remember but I do remember not caring who it was, and on the other side it was… well the other pirates. The film flips characters back and forth so often that I just stop caring and I’m left waiting for the film to end.
Author’s Note: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is amazing!