Movie Trilogies That Don’t Completely Suck

Film

The movie industry is filled with trilogies that did good for two movies and then dropped the ball on the third time around. The Spider-Man, X-Men, Matrix, and Godfather trilogies easily spring to mind as film series that fell apart on the third time around. Does that mean that all trilogies are doomed to failure? Certainly there are trilogies currently in the works (the Batman Begins, Dark Knight, and upcoming Dark Knight Rises) that are giving us hope of a string of three movies that can pull it together thanks to continuity of actors, directors, and writers, but what of previous trilogies? Are there any that got it right? Sure.

The Bourne Trilogy

Bourne Trilogy

First of all, getting Matt Damon to do three of these movies was impressive as it was clearly physically taxing. Also switching directors from the first movie would normally doom a franchise to fail, but the new director held it together for the second and third movie. What really helped this franchise make the list was that it had the same actors throughout the series and while there was a singular story running throughout, each film stands up on its own as an excellent film.

Back to the Future Trilogy

Back to the Future Trilogy

I’m not going to lie to you and say that the third movie was as good as the second or the first, but let’s be honest, as trilogies go, the Back to the Future series did a good job of keeping the core actors together (switching out the girlfriend wasn’t a big deal since she played the same character) and of showing that the actions in one film could have consequences in the following movies. While not originally intended as a trilogy, the success of the first film pushed it to that point and it certainly never hurts to have Michael J. Fox as your lead actor.

Terminator Trilogy

Terminator Trilogy

I can already hear the backlash coming from this making the list. True, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines was by far the weakest of the three films, but it served a very important purpose – it showed that Judgement Day was inevitable. The first two movies kept us believing that we could stop the Skynet, but the third film in the series showed it wasn’t about stopping it so much as delaying it as much as possible and trying to save as many people as you could. Also, without Terminator 3 you couldn’t have had Terminator: Salvation (not the best argument, but admit it…we all hoped it would be a good movie).

Pirates of the Caribbean Trilogy

Pirates of the Caribbean Trilogy



Sure, another movie just came out, but the first three are all tied together in a way that the newest one isn’t (I’m guessing since I haven’t actually seen it). What was nice about the trilogy was that the third movie tied it all together and didn’t give everybody the happy ending you were expecting since it’s a Disney film. Also, three movies of Johnny Depp in the craziness of Jack Sparrow was entertaining if nothing else. Can’t hate on a movie series that made me shout “But why is all the rum gone!?”

Indiana Jones Trilogy

Indiana Jones Trilogy

We shall not speak of Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls. As for the original trilogy it was great because while it had regular characters threading their way through the series, it was all about Henry “Indiana” Jones, Jr. The hat, the whip, and the witty humor of all three movies when coupled with great action, great writing, and amazing stories that made more than one child want to be an archaeologist when they grew up still stand up today as great movies to sit down and watch on a lazy weekend.

Original Stars Wars Trilogy

Original Star Wars Trilogy

C’mon, uber-nerds call it the holy trinity. No matter how hard he tries, George Lucas will never be able to completely screw this masterpiece up. Everybody has their favorite of the films, but we can all agree that a) Han shot first, and B) they’re timeless. Fathers look forward to showing them to their sons when they grow up so that they can understand the finer points of inter-galactic civil war, redemption, and what a Stars Wars film looks like without that stain JarJar Binks.

The Lord of the Rings

Lord of the Rings

You knew this one was coming. Filming all three movies at once probably helped this series as much as anything as it cut down on how much the actors aged between films. Also, having Peter Jackson direct all three films that were populated with an all-star cast ensured that at the worst these movies would be good enough. Instead of “just good enough” we got a movie masterpiece that might have the unfortunate side effect of making a generation of kids not read the actual novels.

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