10 'Threequels' that didn’t suck
With news that Will Smith and Martin Lawrence are re-teaming once more for Bad Boys III, a wave of pessimism seems to have enveloped throughout the general public regarding just why another sequel is necessary after 13 (!) years. Now, whilst most threequels can often be absolute disasters (The Godfather Part III. Say no more) that are usually nothing more than quick cash-grabs (The Godfather Part III. Say no more), there have been a few surprising number of threequels that were actually pretty good. Here is our non-exhaustive selection (presented in no particular order) of those threequels which we believe actually added to a franchise’s legitimacy.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
The third and final instalment in Sergio Leone’s iconic Dollars Trilogy (containing A Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars More – both classics in their own right) The Good, the Bad and the Ugly was a financial and critical success, grossing over $25 million at the box office and forever immortalising Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, and Eli Wallach in their respective title roles. A fitting end to the franchise and a truly great threequel.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Based on that rare obscure novel of the same name by J. K. Rowling, The Prisoner of Azkaban was the third instalment in the massively successful Harry Potter film series. Directed by Alfonso Cuarón, now of Gravity fame, the film is pretty unanimously hailed as the best of the entire of the series, with many pinpointing it as the turning point where the films went from mere book adaptations to successful films in their own right. It was darker, more brooding, and far more serious than the first two films. The only downside being the occasional squeaks of puberty that erupt from the leading actors.
Directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring an all-star ensemble cast, this was the third (and not the thirteenth) movie in Soderbergh’s Ocean's Trilogy. It’s always hard for a film to fail when you’ve got George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Al Pacino fighting over scenery to chew, but the fact that this followed the lacklustre 2004 sequel Ocean's Twelve makes its success even sweeter.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
The third (and unfortunately not final) instalment in Steven Spielberg and George Lucas’ Indiana Jones franchise. Harrison Ford reprises the title role with Sean Connery plays Indiana's father, Henry Jones, Sr. It’s got the Holy Grail, it’s Nazis and it’s got Sean Connery saying “junior” a lot. What more could you possibly want?
Return of the Jedi
The third film released in the Star Wars saga and the first film to use THX technology, Return of the Jedi is obviously not as good as The Empire Strikes Back, but not many films are it’s frankly a little unfair to call the film a dud in the slightest. Producing its own share of iconic moments in the franchise, Return of the Jedi remains an instant classic in our eyes. Just ignore all the bits with Ewoks.
Toy Story 3
Hold back your tears now. It’s impossible not to include Toy Story 3 really, especially considering how the third foray into the Toy Story series reunited Woody, Buzz, and the rest of Andy’s toys for what we thought would be the final time. This was the perfect emotional climax to the trilogy and one which surely brought tears to the eyes of many manly men. It’s a shame that a fourth is coming along to potentially ruin this fantastic final chapter.
The Return of the King
The last in The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the second film in our list involving the return of something lost, Peter Jackson really didn’t pull any of his punches with this bombastic blockbuster finale. The scale is epic and the stakes are high, with just about every beat of the film hitting almost perfectly after years of build-up. Now please stop complaining about why they didn’t just fly on the eagles two films earlier. You’re just being pedantic.
Released in 2013, the third film in the heart-wrenching Before trilogy followers the same characters from Before Sunrise (1995) and Before Sunset (2004), ten years on from when we last left them off. This is truly Richard Linklater at his very aimless, wandering, philosophical best. The plot is sweet, simple and revolves around Ethan Hawke’s Jesse and Julie Delpy’s Céline pottering about Greece and reminiscing about love, life, and everything in-between. Heartfelt and sincere – it builds perfectly upon the characters created in the previous films and provides everything you’d expect for a fitting finale.
Back to the Future Part III
Great Scott! You’ve probably been waiting for this to crop up. The climactic film in the Back to the Future trilogy is a classic popcorn movie. Retaining the talents of director Robert Zemeckis and lead-stars Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd, Part III picks up right where Back to the Future Part II left off and throws you straight into time-travel hijinks and hilarity. After Part II left a sour taste in the mouth of many fans of the original, this third part was a true return to glory for the franchise – Marty’s escapades in the Old West of 1885 delivering an emotional satisfying conclusion to the series.
Cinderella III: A Twist in Time
It’s safe to say you probably didn’t even know they made a Cinderella II. Well, we’re here to tell you that they did. And it was garbage. But bear with us on this one because Cinderella III: A Twist in Time was released in 2007 (a staggering 57 years after the original) and it was absolutely brilliant. With a plot revolving around magical shenanigans that result in the creation of an alternate universe where ugly step-sister Anastasia fits into Cinderella’s iconic slipper, it’s safe to say that this is without a doubt the greatest direct-to-DVD Disney sequel in existence. Don’t just take out word for it either! The film was even well received by critics, receiving a positive 71% on Rotten Tomatoes and faring far better than the Cinderella sequel Cinderella II: Dreams Come True, which scored an abysmal 0% . It’s cheesy, childish, and a whole lot of fun. Check it out.