15 terrible third movies that ruined great trilogies

As Jupiter Ascending has just landed in cinemas, it would seem that the Wachowskis have attempted to bring us another massive fantasy sci-fi blockbuster to blow our minds, just like The Matrix did back in 1999.

But will they succeed? And if they do, will they turn it into an overblown, unfathomable and universally-despised trilogy like they did with The Matrix?

To deter them, here are 15 trilogies that could have been brilliant had it not been for an awful third entry. Wachowskis - memorise this list!


15. The Hangover: Part 3

While the second film wasn't especially great, the third Hangover film just retreads the same, very well-worn path and gags that the first one did well and the second one copied not-so-well.

It was roundly criticised for its lack of jokes, repetition of the previous films' highlights and inability to flesh out any of the characters beyond what we learnt about them in the first film.

This has become the poster boy for an adored film that should have stayed with just the one, despite the demand for a sequel and threequel.


14. The Dark Knight Rises

Christopher Nolan's 'dark and gritty' reboot of the Batman series in Batman Begins changed the landscape of future comic book (and non-comic book) films after its release.

The Sequel, The Dark Knight features the late Heath Ledger in an incredible performance as The Joker, and Nolan wanted to make Ledger's character the main focus of the third film.

Ledger's untimely death meant that wouldn't happen, and Nolan brought in Batman villains Bane and Talia Al Ghul, who made nowhere near the impact as Ledger's 'Clown Prince of Crime'.

While this film wasn't as trilogy-obliteratingly bad as other entries on this list, many saw it as a massive step down in quality from the first two and it became the subject of much criticism.


13. Iron Man 3

As this list counts down, it becomes noticeable that it's virtually impossible to create a comic book trilogy without bring a disappointing third entry.

While not regarded as critically as some of the threequels on this list, thanks to the acting prowess of Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark.

The third Iron Man brings the much-loved Stark baddie in The Mandarin - who, in a wildly bizarre twist, turns out to be an actor... from Croydon.

Bet you didn't see that coming.


12. Alien 3

The directorial debut of David Fincher, who went on to disown the film because of interference from studio executives, who overruled Fincher on large parts of production.

With screenwriters coming and going, with $7 million of sets built and shooting starting before the script was even finished, it was going to take something special to live up to the tense, foreboding horror of Alien, or the terrifying action of Aliens.

Unfortunately, that something special didn't materialise, but what did was a pretty awful and much-maligned finale for the Alien trilogy.


11. Taken 3

Taken didn't really get a big fanfare on release, but went on to become a huge fan favourite with its gripping storyline and violent fight scenes.

The public demanded to see more of Bryan Mills and his 'unique set of skills', and that's what they got, with a disappointing follow-up where Mills himself gets taken, this time in Istanbul.

While it didn't get anywhere near the praise of the first film, it scored big at the box office, so obviously a third film was made.

Taken 3 was released in early 2015 and once again was a box office success, grossing over $250m, but this one was deemed even worse by critics and fans.

Hopefully it means that we won't be taken on another disappointing Bryan Mills adventure.


10. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

The original Terminator film was a hugely-successful brilliant idea and execution, the second Terminator film, Terminator II: Judgement Day, had the rare achievement of a sequel being regarded as better than the original.

Then came Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.

Time-travelling Future robot assassin series creator James Cameron didn't join the third installment despite Schwarzenegger pleading with him.

The film didn't offer anything new or exciting to the terminator franchise apart from a woman terminator, and everyone was disappointed with John Connor's character, the action scenes and the ending.

Let's hope Terminator Genisys makes up for this film (and Terminator Salvation) bringing the series to its knees.


9. Superman III

Seen by critics and fans as the lowest point in the Superman film series and possibly the worst superhero film everSuperman III replaced Gene Hackman's Lex Luthor with stand-up comedian Richard Prior and TV spy dramaThe Man from U.N.C.L.E. star Robert Vaughn as the two villains of the film.

Richard Prior's slapstick scenes included him skiing off the top of a building wearing a pink tablecloth as a cape, and was nominated for a Worst Supporting Actor Razzie Award for the trouble.

Superman III director Richard Lester was supposed to go for a darker and edgier version of the Man of Steel, and Christopher Reeve was praised for his performance, but the rest of the movie was panned as being more campy than Adam West's Batman in a tent shop.


8. Robocop 3

In a bid to appeal to kids, and their fondness for making their parents buy them action figures, the makers of Robocop decided that threequel would remove the graphic violence that earned the series many devoted fans.

Alongside the lack of violence, the writing suffered and stripped away everything that made the first two Robocops great, turning the film into a generic action film.

Original Robocop Peter Weller didn't even return and Robert Joseph Burke took over as the half-robot half-cop, and many fans discovered that Weller as Robocop was irreplaceable.


7. Blade: Trinity

Plagued by trouble from the outset as series writer David S. Goyer took over as director, which Wesley Snipes wasn't happy about in the slightest.

As a result, Snipes refused to shoot scenes, which meant Goyer had to use computer effects and stand-ins some of his scenes.

When Snipes did feel like acting, he phoned in his performance.

Jessica Biel and Van Wilder Ryan Reynolds were brought in and had to carry the failing production that echoed none of the fresh, exciting comic book action of its predecessors.


6. Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Michael Bay's Transformers exploded into cinemas in 2007 and fans of the toy and cartoon series from the '80s were delighted at seeing Optimus Prime in live-action on the big screen.

Cut to 2011, and after a disappointing sequel, the Transformers returned, this time without Megan Fox in tow after she compared Bay and his work ethics to Hitler.

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley replaced her, and both her and Shia Labeouf's characters were criticised for being one-dimensional and uninteresting.

The film managed to make over $1bn worldwide, which meant that we were all treated to a fourth high-grossing low-quality Transformers film.

Excitingly, the Transformers train trundles on as a Michael Bay-less instalment is set to land in 2016.


5. X-Men: The Last Stand

Back in the early 2000s the X-Men laid the groundwork for the successful comic book movie franchises we see today as they set the trend for realistic exciting films and dispensed with the campy rubbish that the like of Batman & Robin brought us in the '90s.

Bryan Singer's visions in the first two instalments, which built up a shedload of character development, were torn down as incoming director Brett Ratner replaced all of that with Michael Bay-levels of explosions, unnecessary deaths and Vinnie Jones running through walls.

Despite a bumper box office success, X3 hasn't stood the test of time and criticism and is widely-derided as how not to make a comic book film.

It took Matthew Vaughn and X-Men: First Class to revive the series and bring it back on track.

Vaughn was originally lined up to direct The Last Stand but dropped out; perhaps with Vaughn in charge, we wouldn't have had the whole sorry affair.


4. The Matrix Revolutions

Back in 1999, The Matrix came out and blew everyone's mind with its mix of awesome effects like 'bullet-time' and mind-bending philosophical ideas.

Everyone demanded the Wachowski brothers, who had come up with the idea for The Matrix, bring us more insane effects and goings-on in the world of Zion.

What resulted was The Matrix Reloaded, which made everyone go: "Huh? What's that all about? It did have a nice car chase scene though" and then The Matrix Revolutions, which disappeared up its backside in a load of quasi-religious mumbo jumbo and overblown special effects.

And then everyone wished that they had kept their mouths shut.


3. Jurassic Park 3

Still standing up today in terms of special effects and wonder, Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park is perhaps the best film of the '90s and one of the greatest sci-fi adventure films of all time.

It trigged the public's hunger for dinosaurs and The Lost World: Jurassic Park was brought out - darker than the first - it was regarded as a fairly average follow-up to the first film.

Then along came Jurassic Park III with its talking Raptors.

Jurassic Park III was criticised for being too similar the first film, but without the imagination and scale that Spielberg brought to the screen.

Let's hope the upcoming Jurassic World will bring the series back to the glory days of the 1993 original.


2. The Godfather Part III

Many film fans see The Godfather as one of the greatest films of all time; the sequel wasn't too shabby either.

The two films from the '70s brought us the Corleone organised crime family as we met Marlon Brando boss Vito and Al Pacino as the ruthless heir Michael Corleone.

Francis Ford Coppola returned to his masterpieces twenty years later to direct a third Godfather film, including sticking his daughter Sophia in front of the camera.

While The Godfather Part III isn't the worst film of all time, it is a massive step down from the established quality of the original and its sequel, and to many fans, it is a crime to consider this alongside the first two films.


1. Spider-Man 3

When Spider-Man hit cinemas in 2002 it heralded a new shift in superhero films, and (alongside X-Men), heralded a new era of realistic live-action superhero flicks.

It's often considered that the sequel, featuring Doc Ock is even better than the first, so the expectations were off the chart for the threequel.

It had a return of the Green Goblin, Sandman and comic fan-favourite Venom and an extremely cool black Spidey suit.

Uncle Ben's murderer was changed to be Sandman, for... reasons, and Venom failed to deliver.

Not only that, Spiderman turned emo and Peter Parker brought us a very unforgettable (for the wrong reasons) jazz club dance routine.

Having three villains all needing screen time turned the film into a mess, not helped by bad pacing and lack of humour.

There was a fourth Spidey film in the works, but director Sam Raimi quit the project due to it not moving along as quickly as he wanted it to.

Instead they rebooted the whole series to bring us the largely-similar The Amazing Spider-Man.

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