A Handful Of… Part 3’s That Surpassed Parts 1 & 2

Jesus Christ...

Trilogies (let alone film series) are a tricky thing.  How do you continue to succeed three films in?

The most common option is to add more of the same but different.  Cases in point:

  • Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (added villainous Jack Frost)
  • Once Upon a Time in Mexico (added blinded gunslinger played by Johnny Depp)
  • Oh, God! You Devil (added another George Burns)
  • Blade: Trinity (added Ryan Reynolds and Jessica Biel, for some reason)
  • Look Who’s Talking Now (SPOILER ALERT! It’s dogs!)
  • Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son (This. Is. Real. Folks.)

By doing so, filmmakers walk a fine line between celebrating the previous entries and making mockeries of them (not that any of the above were masterpieces, but still).

Some III’s have gotten close by following the above examples, and at times in my youth, I might have argued that they were better than the original film, but I’ve gotten budwiser.

  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (added “dad” like how Big Momma 3 added “son” *chills*)
  • Return of the Jedi (added Ewoks like how Blade 3 added Biel’s hot booty)
  • Back to the Future 3: From the Old West to the New! (I know that’s not its real name, but it changed the game like Once Upon a Time in Mexico did)

The other route Part Trois’ follow simply lead to clusterfucksville by trying to go big AND go home.  Don’t see the banging whimpers:

  • Matrix Revolutions
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
  • Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Only a few 3’s have got it right.  They’ve walked the line of concluding with a bang (sometimes continuing with a bang), adding new, but celebrating the before.  In no particular order:

Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

Lord of the Rings Return of the King

Also known as: "Aragon's Song"

Some could argue that this had a rich story to pull from, or that it’s really just the ending of one long movie (this is what I argued), but isn’t that what a trilogy is supposed to be?  Writer/director/cameo Actor! Peter Jackson kept reveals hidden from each film to the next, and it kept each installment an exciting time investment.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Not pictured: The Okay

I haven’t seen this film (not without trying), but it’s considered the best of director Sergio Leone’s The Dollars Trilogy or The Man With No Name Trilogy.  The trilogy’s name is almost a trilogy!

Three Colors: Red

Slogan: "It'll tickle you pink!"

This I did see.  Fancy that… a French film over a Western.  I guess that’s why I said fancy that.  Writer/director Krzysztof Kieslowski brings it all home in the third film of the Three Colors trilogy (Blue and White) precede it.  Although at first, none of the stories seem connected, this one does all the heavy lifting in the end.  Très vachement forte!


"Five Goldfingers! Four Dr. No's, three Moneypenny's..."

This third official James Bond film set not only records, but precedents for the rest of Sean Connery’s appearances as Agent 007.  A classic amongst classics!

Toy Story 3

I finally get it! It's like "Toy Store-E"... ha!

If Mickey Mouse created Walt Disney, then the original Toy Story made Pixar.  As the studio’s first major theatrical release, Toy Story lit G.I. Joe action figures on fire and raised the Barbie Dream House for what animated films could not only look like, but make you feel.  Disney even had to chase and catch up.  Although the first film is still a fun, endearing piece of entertainment, Toy Story 3 is a beautiful swan song that exemplifies fifteen years of cinematic accomplishments.  Quentin Tarantino even thinks so.

Piranha 3D

Jaws 3D was already taken.

Having seen all three Piranha movies, this one accomplished what it exactly set out to do: be a dumb, fun, titillating (pun intended) 3D summer movie.  Sure, the original Piranha had some weird small creature walking around that was never explained, and James Cameron’s infatuation with water showed its gums in Piranha Part 2: The Spawning, but this had… well, I’m not going to spoil anything for you.

(SIDENOTE: Jackass 3D was thisclose to making it, but I never saw the first two and decided it wouldn’t be fair.  For some reason.)

Disagree with anything?  Agree with everything?  Comment below!