“Third time is a charm” is a phrase often used in everyday life, but not when it comes to the world of cinema. Fans have noted a strange trend; the third entry in any trilogy is always noticeably weaker than its predecessors.
Think about it. Just how many good threequels are out there?
Only a handful of trilogies have survived the curse, most notably The Bourne Ultimatum, Toy Story 3, The Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
But most threequels are destroyed by budget problems, director conflicts and just-plain-awful production, culminating in low box office returns and proving that the third cut is the weakest. Here is a list of films that have suffered from the 3rd film curse…
A superhero film that focuses more on a comedian than its protagonist is damned for trouble. Superman III proves to be an unworthy sequel, despite an awesome Superman versus Clark Kent scene. This is proof that Donner was a superior director to Lester.
2. The Expendables 3
If The Expendables 3 proves anything it is that you don’t mess with a winning formula. It’s the first instalment in the gratuitously violent franchise to avoid an R rating and earn an audience-friendly PG-13. Watching the ageing badass heroes without the gore proves to be quite a bore. Of course, that is only one of the many problems with the film.
3. Batman Forever
Ah, the cursed Batman Forever. Joel Schumacher managed to take the dark and gloomy world created by Tim Burton and turn it into comic book dribble. The best thing anyone can say about this threequel is that it isn’t Batman and Robin. Well, that and Seal’s ‘Kiss by a Rose’.
4. The Dark Knight Rises
Yes, The Dark Knight Rises. Fans have to admit that the third film lacks the resonance that its two originals held. While it’s remarkably better than most threequels (and probably just manages to survive the 3rd film curse), it still doesn’t live up to its first two instalments, thanks to a poor ending and an anti-climatic outcome for Bane – the real star of Rises.
5. Men in Black III
If only Will Smith could use that device on audiences to help them forget the terrible MIB 3. Despite an awesome performance by Josh Brolin as a younger Tommy Lee Jones, the last instalment was plagued with an unfortunate script. It just felt so 90s!
If David Fincher has proven anything over the course of his career it is that he wasn’t responsible for the awful Alien 3. The studio clearly didn’t know what to do with the franchise. Alien Resurrection proves that!
7. Spider-Man 3
A textbook example of the 3rd film curse, Spider-Man 3 suffers from being… well, emo and messy. Throwing everything and the kitchen sync at the story, the over-abundance of villains helped sink the Spidey franchise right down the spout.
8. X-Men: The Last Stand
The Last Stand is utterly devoid of soul. It is nothing more than a visual effects extravaganza, with Ratner introducing as many mutants as he possibly can to make up for the poor script.
9. Shrek the Third
Who knew that the charm of the characters of Shrek would wear off? The third instalment lacked everything that made the original two cool. Completely uninspired. The same jokes for a third time running.
How can one of the best fight scenes in film history also be one of the most anti-climactic? Despite our best efforts to love the franchise, Matrix Revolutions makes it quite difficult. Dammit, why couldn’t Neo just beat Smith? Why couldn’t it all make more sense? Why did Trinity have to die? Why did Neo have to go blind? Why did it have to end in mystery?
11. RoboCop 3
Honestly, RoboCop 3 is nothing more than a really long toy commercial. This is the 3rd film curse in full effect.
12. Blade Trinity
Three bankable actors. What’s wrong with this picture? Blade: Trinity underutilised its heroes and villains to create a sloppy vampire flick. The ideas had so much potential but never lived up to its predecessors.
13. Iron Man 3
Not even the great Tony Stark could dodge the 3rd film curse. While not as bad as the second film, his third outing is probably at the bottom of the list of ranked MCU films. Even though the first Iron Man was spectacular, the sequels failed to capture the fun and excitement of the first film. Robert Downey Jr. instead found success with Stark in the Avengers films.