Three’s Company: Some Of Cinema’s Best (And Worst) Three-Quels


It’s difficult to put into words how excited THN is about Christopher Nolan’s third and final Batman Film, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES. The wait is nearly over, and the anticipation has got me thinking about ‘threequels’ from years gone by and their varying degrees of success. Much has been said about the greatness of INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE and the failings of THE GODFATHER: PART III and such the like, but I’ve given some other threequels a turn. AND I watched HOME ALONE 3 for the first time especially. The things I do for THN… Here’s three of the best and three of the worst…

Three is the magic number…


We’ll forget about the fact Sam Raimi narrowly avoided my shit-list with the shambolic SPIDERMAN 3, and celebrate his wonderfully ridiculous final installment of the EVIL DEAD trilogy.

The first two EVIL DEAD films were tough to follow – once your hero has replaced his possessed hand with a chainsaw and a girl has been raped by a tree, it’s difficult to see where the franchise can go next. Raimi’s answer? Medieval! With the comedy amped up, ARMY OF DARKNESS sees Ash saw down hordes of plasticine skeletons while back-chatting medieval kings with unforgettable lines like –

‘You ain’t leadin’ but two things right now: Jack and shit… and Jack left town.’



In exploring what happened to Andy’s toys after he’s donated them to a daycare centre, TOY STORY 3 takes its audience on a familiarly hilarious but altogether more emotional journey than the previous two films. All the old favourite characters are present with some ingenious additions; the hilarious Ken, and seemingly loveable villain Lotso, whose eventual demise is just fantastic.



It must have been a tough decision to free John McClane from the confines of his plaza after a less successful outing in an airport for DIE HARDER, but letting him loose on New York adds new vitality to the franchise. Jeremy Irons’ riddling ‘Simon says’ routine is lots of fun and Samuel. L. Jackson does a great job as McClane’s reluctant buddy. A great shoot up in a lift shows McClain can still slay dastardly Europeans on a hangover, and while the final act loses its way a little, all is forgiven when Willis gives us a yippe-ka-ay motherf***** before the credits roll.

But sometimes three’s a crowd…


With Macaulay Culkin replaced by a less cute and more annoying little twerp, the franchise was always going to take a nose dive. John Hughes’ script is devoid of imagination and falls into several traps. The burglars are ridiculously cartoonish, the kid’s parents only leave him alone for an hour at a time, the traps are over-explosive and under-clever, and for God’s sake, it doesn’t even feel like Christmas! Way to take a dump on my childhood, guys.



The problem with THE MATRIX: REVOLUTIONS is the fact the series continues to forget what was so great about the original film. Confused philosophies and a robot mega-battle dilute what was originally a deceptively simple human story. Admittedly the fate of the third movie was plotted by the failure of the second, which disappeared so far down the rabbit hole it caught myxomatosis. REVOLUTIONS is left with a mess to unravel, which ultimately leads to main characters being sidelined in favour of a big, long battle for Zion, which is quite impressive, but does little to lift the kind of apathy that by this point is pretty deep-set.


JAWS 3 (3D)

If you can forgive the wooden acting and the terrible yarn about a mummy shark breaching the barriers of a sea life centre to avenge the death of her deceased son, you’re still faced with the reality of a floating severed arm that looks like it’s been cut out of a cereal box by children.

With a higher budget than the brilliant original, and arguably the best suspense music of the genre at its disposal, you could be forgiven for expecting more from this drab offering. I also wager that a big screen viewing with 1980s 3D glasses would do little to raise this stinker from the murky depths.

All involved (including you, Dennis Quaid) should be basted in fish blood and dipped slowly in a shark tank. Or, at the very least, give Spielberg a fish to slap them all about the face.

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES is released in UK cinemas 20th July.

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  1. Tom

    July 17, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    Some interesting though1s young David, a few other trilogies for your considerations….

    Trilogy of the Dead
    All three films are incredible, minimum 4 stars… Day of the Dead is every bit as tense and amazing as Night of the Living Dead.

    The Blade Trilogy
    Guillermo del Toro’s imagination took the 2nd film to a whole new level, that was totally trashed by Trinity!!

    Terminator Trilogy
    First and Second films epic in their own very unique ways, much like the first two Alien films… can we pretend there wasn’t a third?!

    The Dollars Trilogy
    Sergio Leone’s films are all classics, though you’d have to dock points from For a Few Dollars more when you put it up against the other two!!

    Bourne Trilogy
    What Paul Greengrass created here is still an absolute masterclass is fast passed action thriller movies… all three films are amazing and the Third may even top the other two?!

    Back to the Future
    Childhood memories may have made me a little biased, but i have to say that the 1st two films were amazing… always found the 3rd a little ridiculous, god knows why?!

    Lord of the Rings Trilogy
    Have now gotten to the point that i can only really watch the fist film in its entirety. the other two i tend to fast forward most of the Sam and Frodo ‘Bromance’ crap… still, it can’t be denied that these three epic films may way constitute the best trilogy of them all….?

  2. Joe

    July 17, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    To sound-like a pedantic-film-student-bell-end, what about the, “Three Colours Trilogy”?

    Apart from that, I can only think of really, really bad franchises, like, “Alvin and the Chipmunks”, which continuously manages to rape the senses of a future generations, with the help of “WTF are they doing in this?” actors such as David Cross and Jason Lee.

    Then there’s trilogies I didn’t even know exsisted (Apparently, there’s 3 “Goal!” and “Ginger Snaps” movies) which usually end up in the bargain bin at your local BP.

    I’ll admit these two factoids; I haven’t seen, nor do I care to see, one Transformers movie. I’m not going to pretend to get all nostalgic about things during my childhood (Give me a Thundercats or He-man flick and then I might be interested….. Ok maybe not He-man). I also detest Michael Bay.

    Secondly, whilst it’s not up there with Toy Story, LotR or the original Star Wars saga, I’ve enjoyed each of the 3 Paranormal Activity films… Shut up.

  3. John

    July 17, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    Agree with your choices – The Bourne Ultimatum is more satisfying than DHWAV though. X-Men/Spiderman 3 were fortunate to have dodged the bullet – but there have been a lot of shit threequels…

  4. Dave

    July 18, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    Excellent thoughts, guys. It appears there are several more trilogy related articles I should begin work on! And, Joe, I recently attempted to watch the first goal- I got about a half hour through before I realised it might be the worst film I’ve ever seen. Goal 3 may well have been on this list if I could have brought myself to watch it. Perhaps I should add 3 three-quels that sound so bad I can’t bare to watch them…..

  5. Dave

    July 18, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    …I should add- believe me John, Spiderman and X-men were close!

  6. Dan Bullock

    July 19, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    I loved the Three Colours Trilogy as a teenager, I have no idea what it was about but I’m sure I got to see some boobs AND Juliette Binoche.

    Toy Story is one of the best trilogies I can think of, truly remarkable as well as all the obvious! Then Bourne…LoTR but only visually and for the sake of the books.

    Which are too long, I digress…

    There is also the Wright/Pegg/Frost Cornetto Trilogy coming up!

  7. David

    July 28, 2012 at 1:51 am

    Jaws 3D in the cinema back in 1983 was terrifying…for my 5 year old self. Thanks for taking me dad.

  8. Dan Bullock

    July 28, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    David – Ha! And lived in fear of Sharks forever more?

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