“Everyone Knows The Third Movie is Always The Worst” — Jean Grey
In this summer’s "X-Men Apocalypse," Jean Grey (played by Sophie Turner) assisted director Bryan Singer in hitting what seems like the final nail on the coffin for Fox’s "X-Men series." Grey would say the show stopping line above as a backhanded insult to not only "Return of The Jedi" but also (and more so) to "X-Men: The Last Stand," pleasing "X-Men" and "Star Wars" fans alike. However, when the curtain fell, the irony stung. Hard. Why? Because "Apocalypse" fell hard in the shadow of it’s predecessors too.The reaction went from “ Woah, savage!” to “ Um, yea, I watch 'The Avengers' now”.
This isn’t limited to "X-Men" though, as many other films prove that the third time, indeed, is not the charm. It’s understandable that one cannot create well received films every time! After all, how do you consistently recreate the glory of "Star Wars" and "The Empire Strikes Back." Please take this list as tongue in cheek because A. I love these films and B. I can't knock it out of the park either as a writer on here every week! Here are some unfortunate third installments:
1. "Spider-Man 3" (2007)
This movie wasn’t so bad. The issue was of how it didn’t tap into it’s potential of a great storyline. To begin, there were like three and a half villains in this movie. I absolutely love the Venom/Symbiote storyline and that should have been allowed to develop alongside the new Green Goblin rising and then turning face at the end (hence being half a villain). Finally, the choice to stray away from the comics to enter the Sandman plot (him killing Uncle Ben) as an emotional tug on Peter waters down the plot. All in all, still a good film and a stellar portrayal of the Symbiote.
2. "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of The Dawn Treader" (2010)
"The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" was amazing! But fast forward 1000's of years and these Narnians are still not holding it down. That’s not really an issue though because that’s the basis of the Narnia story. I think the same energy and character dynamics you have when Lucy, Edmund, Peter, and Susan all together is unmatchable when half of the crew isn’t there. It didn't work as well. Also, applause for Will Poulter for being an amazing. Despite his role technically being one of the lesser things about the movie, you could tell he was talented. Remember him from We’re the Millers and Maze Runner? He is so funny in everything he does. Great future for that guy. But I digress.
3. "X-Men: The Last Stand" (2006) and "X:Men Apocalypse" (2016)
Oh the irony! Both being the third installments of fairly successful trilogies, they had all kinds of expectations. I would say that "Apocalypse" had even larger expectations considering it’s inception in the new Golden Era of comic book movies. I don’t want to talk too much about this because I will be covering the "X-Men" at length at a later date.
4. "Iron Man 3" (2013)
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is the greatest thing to happen to superhero movies since 2003’s "X2." However, it is impossible to perpetuate consistency. When I heard that the Mandarin was going to be on the big screen I was ecstatic! This was the iconic "Iron Man" story I cared about and when I heard Mandarin was going to be on the big screen I knew "Iron Man 3" was about to be my favorite Iron Man movie. Well....
Guys. This. Cannot. Be. Mandarin.
I am not on board with the idea of a fake Mandarin. It goes against everything I enjoyed about the super villain as a kid. I guess kudos to creativity because this guy played the joke Mandarin pretty well. And with that being said, this was my favorite "Iron Man" movie (even though it wasn't as well received as the first one).
For anyone who cares, this is Mandarin.
5. "Stuart Little 3: Call of the Wild" (2005)
Stuart is the forgotten gem of the late 90’s/ early 2000’s. You didn’t know there was a Stuart Little Three did you? Yes, it happened. It was a cartoon, and it just didn’t work as well as the previous two. A majority of the plot is animal-animal interaction in the woods rather than the animal-human interactions in the big city of New York that made "Stuart Little" special.
You can’t beat real Stuart.
"Star Wars Episode VI: Return of The Jedi" (1983)
This isn't on the core list because, although it isn't as well received as the first two, it really isn’t bad at all. Personally, this is my second favorite after "Empire." I mean, maybe they should have explained how Anakin became a force ghost considering he was only really shown to be on the light side for a good 10 minutes, but that’s not necessarily bad as that can be expanded on later. I would even rank this as one of the greatest films of all time.