Top 5 Criminally Overlooked Third Instalments

In accordance with the much touted law of diminishing returns, there exists a glut of Hollywood franchises slowly milking themselves into the ground, or worse, straight onto DVD. With most sequels dismissed as unimaginitive rehashes of the original, by episode three the series has usually lost every vestige of what made the original worth revisiting in the first place. There have been a number of exceptions, of course, and while some trilogies have ended with celebrated final instalments – Return of the Jedi, The Bourne Ultimatum and Return of the King did more than simply buck a trend – there are a few more that have been sadly overlooked.

Jurassic Park 3

Following Steven Spielberg’s departure upon completion of The Lost World: Jurassic Park, directorial duties fell to Joe Johnston for audience’s third lap of the tyrannosaur paddock. With Sam Neill returning as Dr. Alan Grant, the film saw a warring couple unite in a desperate bid to save their missing son. Having spent two films causing ripples as the film’s principle antagonist, the franchise’s figurehead T-Rex was this time sidelined as a new predator entered the fray, the larger Spinosaurus proving a slightly less iconic but by no means less capable substitute. The film, often described as the worst in the series, is arguably a tighter, lighter and decidedly more streamlined thriller that nevertheless does the franchise proud.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

Wes Craven’s original (and, to a slightly lesser extent, New) Nightmare is widely considered a horror classic. From that point on, however, the franchise slowly lost its way, becoming a poor, witless parody of itself by the time Freddy Kruger (Robert Englund) was finally forced to auction his razor glove off to Platinum Dunes. While the rest of the series might be a largely uninspired mix of ripe dialogue, cheesy effects and characterless cyphers, Dream Warriors – also co-written by Craven – showed a healthy dose of invention as Kruger’s latest batch of burgeoning cadavers adopt a number of dream-based super-personae with which to battle the bastard son of a hundred maniacs.

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

Released 12 years on from James Cameron’s Terminator 2: Judgement Day, T3 never enjoyed the same cultural significance or critical acclaim of its predecessors. Adopting a lighter tone and a more relaxed certificate, however, Rise of the Machines is a joyous alchemy of game performances and glorious set pieces. With Sarah Connor dead and John (Nick Stahl) off the grid, a new model of terminator is sent mack in time to take out his future resistance officers in his absence. Pushing the dead-pan humour and focusing on the relationship between Stahl and Clare Danes’ Kate Brewster, Jonathan Mostow’s movie is a pure popcorn pleasure with one of the most starkly audacious endings to any summer blockbuster. After all, the duff instalment was yet to come.

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

Unlike the previous entries on this list, Eclipse is not the butt-end of a once great franchise, but the second part of a series that has – somewhat deservedly – never enjoyed mainstream recognition. A Mormon parable wrapped unconvincingly in sparkly vampires and werepuppies, the series to date had eschewed the Gothic potential of its supernatural heavyweights in favour of twee nomance, brow-furrowing miserablism and pouty vampire baseball. While Eclipse is still plagued by angst and rife with Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), 30 Days of Night director David Slade finally breathes some watchability into the franchise with an atmospheric opening chase sequence and a script that finally introduces a little personality and healthy competition into Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner).

Spider-man 3

2007 was not kind to the threequel, with landmark franchises Shrek, Pirates of the Caribbean and Spider-man failing to connect with audiences and, in the case of Spider-man 3, bringing the series to a premature close. But while it is a far cry from the quality of Sam Raimi’s acclaimed original, Spider-man 3 is not quite the emo-fringed travesty you might remember it to be. Treat Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire)’s rebellious phase as an intermission, put the kettle on and take a toilet break, and you’re left with a perfectly acceptable superhero film with some nice touches. Sandman’s genesis is wonderfully poignant, Venom’s realisation – while brief – is startlingly effective and the Green Goblin’s character arc is brought to a satisfying close in one of the most engaging finales of the year. Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) even smiles at one point.

 

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About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

2 Responses to Top 5 Criminally Overlooked Third Instalments

  1. Nostra says:

    Might agree with you on Jurassic Park, although it’s been way too long since I’ve seen it. Haven’t seen the horror movies, but to me no Terminator movies were made after 2 and I also did not enjoy Spiderman 3. Therefore I’m not sure these are really “criminally overlooked”

  2. Pingback: February 2012 – Wow, that was such an expensive looking explosion! « popcornaddict

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