A cinematic hypothesis…

The third installment in a movie trilogy is never better than either or both of the previous installments.

I can grant that sometimes part three is good, but I’m not familiar with any case where it’s the best of the trilogy.



About The Codgitator (a cadgertator)

Catholic convert. Quasi-Zorbatic. Freelance interpreter, translator, and web marketer. Former ESL teacher in Taiwan (2003-2012) and former public high school teacher (2012-2014). Married father of three. Multilingual, would-be scholar, and fairly consistent fitness monkey. My research interests include: the interface of religion and science, the history and philosophy of science and technology, ancient and medieval philosophy, and cognitive neuroscience. Please pray for me.
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18 Responses to A cinematic hypothesis…

  1. Tony Jokin says:

    Well, what about Lord of the Rings : Return of the King? As I recall, the series kept getting even better and that third part could be argued to be the best (as in it did everything the first two movies did better and more). The IMDB TOP 250 standings seem to suggest the same.

  2. Tony Jokin says:

    Oh I would also add as a possible counterexample Bourne Ultimatum. The other two were good but In my honest opinion, that third part was the best of the series (and IMDB and RT seem to agree again as well haha).

  3. Tony Jokin says:

    Ooh, just discovered another one. The good, the Bad and the Ugly which was also the third part in a trilogy is rated higher than it’s predecessors. I personally saw all three but don’t recall having a preference for either. I am not that in to Westerns as much so I can’t comment if the critics are accurate on that one 🙂

  4. Danielius says:

    Red is the best of Kieslowski’s Three Colours trilogy, and I think it was the last one to be filmed. But that’s a bit of cheating here, ’cause it’s not really a series of sequels to the original, but three stand alone movies.

  5. Tony:

    I’m inclined to agree with a friend that LOTR is actually just a single story told over three volumes. A trilogy of SEQUELS by contrast is a series of attempts to portray a character, issue, or setting in different ways, even when narrative continuity might be loose or broken.

  6. Tony Jokin says:

    So wouldn’t you say “Bourne Ultimatum” and “The good, the Bad and the Ugly” would still challenge the hypothesis?

  7. “The Lord of the Rings” was written as one novel and broken up by the publisher into three volumes if I’m remembering this correctly, for what it’s worth.

  8. c matt says:

    LOTR: Well, even if the novel was one story broken into three, I think the movies themselves were arguably done as a trilogy. Even so, I think the second was the best of the three (Two Towers).

  9. c matt says:

    Good Bad Ugly: what do you consider the other two parts of the trilogy? Fistfull of Dollars, A few Dollars More? Personally, my favorite of the Clint Eastwood character movies is High Plains Drifter, but I don’t know if that was part of the trilogy.

  10. Tony Jokin says:

    c matt,

    The Fistfull of Dollars and A few Dollars More are the other two. I think the trilogy is called the Dollars trilogy and all of them have Clint Eastwood’s Blondie as one of the main characters.

  11. Tony Jokin says:

    Actually my mistake, all of Clint’s characters in the movies go by different “names”. So it is a unique kind of trilogy in that sense haha. Perhaps it cannot be counted as one other than the fact that they all have a similar theme and soundtrack.

  12. drprice2 says:

    “Revenge of the Sith.”

  13. c matt says:

    I suppose by the powers of relativism, Revenge of the Sith was an improvement on the previous two installments, although it still sucked.

  14. I think c matt is right that the movies were definitely constructed as a trilogy even if the book wasn’t. This is very evident when they end “The Two Towers” at a different point than the book in order to structure the story in a more cinematic way.

    Also, “Revenge” was definitely better than the other two drivel.

  15. c matt says:

    Speaking of spaghetti westerns, I have this a memory of a scene where I thought Eastwood’s Blondie character or someone similar was lying supposedly dead in a mission church, a priest praying off to the side, and “blondie” coming to life. I have never been able to find out what movie that was or if I just imagined/misrecall the scene. I think Eastwood played the character, but I have never been able to locate the film.

  16. In Fistful of Dollars Clint’s character is spirited out of town in a casket *; maybe that is it?

    • It is owing to this scene that the menu item Chicken in a casket became popular in Diners of the Southwest
  17. Revenge of the Sith was better than Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones. It could hardly fail to be, granted, but I still think it was the best of the prequels.

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