Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Conundrum of Film Series

Why is it that in many films series, the second part is by far the best film? I was thinking about this while looking up information on the Star Trek films, and seeing that the vast majority of fans agree that Star Trek II, The Wrath of Khan is the best film of the series. Here’s a list of films that most people agree are better than the first:

The Dark Knight
Terminator 2, Judgement Day
Aliens (I disagree, but only because I love the horror aspect of the original)
Toy Story 2
The Empire Strikes Back
Shrek 2
Spiderman 2
Superman 2
Evil Dead 2 (VERY hard for me to pick this over part one, but I must concur that it is a better film)
Dawn of the Dead (Almost impossible to pick this over NOTLD, but I understand why people do, even if I don’t)
Godfather 2
Bride of Frankenstein
X Men 2

I think Batman Returns was MUCH better than the first Batman film, but a lot of people are split on this one. Same with Addams Family Values. Another one that people split on is Gremlins, but there is no way in hell that part 2 was better than the first one, no matter how great it was.

Another interesting thing that I’ve noticed is that after making a fantastic second film, everything starts going down the shitter with the third film. The following films are outright HATED by people:

Alien 3
Superman 3
Spiderman 3
Return of the Jedi
Godfather 3
X Men 3

This isn’t always the case, but usually a crappy third act is typical in a film series, with an even worse fourth film (Batman & Robin, Superman 4) coming right after. Now, I loved The Dark Knight, but I firmly believe that the next film is going to be a pile of shit, unless Nolan is able to pull off the miraculous feat of not having a shit third act. I mean, because of how great Raimi did with the first two Spiderman films, I was legitimately shocked at how fucking AWFUL the third one was, and I don’t expect part 4 to be any better. Why does this happen? I mean, I figured that if the same director, same writers, and same crew came back, there’d still be a ton of great stuff to make a movie out of. What’s going on here? Why do film series peak with the second film and go downhill rapidly after the fact?