When I wrote about my all-time favourite threequels not too long ago, I mentioned that most threequels are quite disappointing. By the time the third movie comes around, any franchise is probably already beginning to run out of steam. And yes, bad threequels outnumber good ones, so you would think that compiling a list like this would be easy. In fact, the opposite is true, because with so many bad movies, which in turn are bad for so many different reasons, it should be an easy task to pick out the biggest stinkers in the bunch. That assumption is 180 degrees wrong, as I discovered, because rather than being badly made films, many of the worst threequels are simply unremarkable and forgettable. So how to rank them? Well, let me tell ya: it wasn’t easy.
5. Scream 3
Scream 3 ended one of the greatest self-aware horror trilogies not with a bang, but with a whimper. Kevin Williamson, whose work as writer on the first two Scream films managed to elevate them above the average slasher movie, declined to return for part 3, leaving the job up to Ehren “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” Kruger. Without Williamson’s charm, Scream 3 fell decidedly flat, and even the best part – Jamie Kennedy’s Randy appearing in a video recording to explain the rules of a trilogy – felt tacked-on, as though the filmmakers were trying to recapture what made the first two movies charming, but failing to do so. Scream 3 isn’t a complete waste of time, though, as it does feature most of the characters we know and love from the series (including Courtney Cox in a HORRENDOUS hairdo), Patrick Warburton in a small role, a random Jay and Silent Bob cameo, and a mystery to be solved. It’s not terrible, but it was a pretty disappointing end to the trilogy. Of course, now Scream 4 is being made, so I guess it isn’t the end after all. And hey, Kevin Williamson is returning! Maybe we’ll get the ending that we hoped for when Scream 3 was announced.
4. Jurassic Park 3
Much like Scream 3, by the time that Universal decided it wanted a third and final Jurassic Park movie, Steven Spielberg had already moved on to better things, and so director Joe Johnston, the man behind such classics as The Rocketeer and, uh, Jumanji was brought on board. The movie is a pretty big mess, and you can tell that the writers really had to stretch in order to find a reasonable excuse for anyone to go back to the dinosaur-infested island from The Lost World. Not to mention that the supporting characters in the film are all complete idiots. What does Tea Leoni’s character do as soon as they land on an island filled with giant, prehistoric, man-eating lizards? She whips out a megaphone and starts shouting into the jungle! I can’t tell you how much I wanted her to get eaten. Oh, and as the cherry on the Jurassic Park 3 cake of stupidity, Johnston also replaced the tension of the ripples in the cup of water with a cell phone ringtone. I’m not kidding, that’s what he did.
3. Batman Forever
Many people thought that this was the beginning of the end for the Batman film franchise, and had Christopher Nolan not stepped in many years later and gotten things back on track, it very well might have been. The grim, expressionist style of Tim Burton was gone, replaced by tight-butted, crotch-shot-packing, bat-nippled, neon Joel Schumacher insanity. While the casting of Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones as the Riddler and Two-Face was a good choice, the rest of the movie really wasn’t. Val Kilmer’s Bruce Wayne lost all semblance of the sense of humour that Michael Keaton’s Wayne had, and his love interest in Nicole Kidman is a joke. Who names their kid Chase Meridian anyway? And Chris O’Donnell as Robin? Doing martial arts with his laundry? Who thought that was a good idea? Batman Forever is just so full of dumb moments that it would take FOREVER to list them here. But I do feel it necessary to mention that there is apparently a gang in Gotham City who has rigged up their favourite alley with blacklights in order to show off their fancy glowing make-up. Yeesh. I thought Gotham was supposed to be a city overrun by crime, not Halloween club-goers.
2. Robocop 3
By the time Robocop 3 rolled around, there was nothing left of the original team that made Robocop a hit. Paul Verhoeven had ducked out after the first film, and Peter Weller was gone once part 3 happened, so really the only thing that made Robocop 3 a Robocop movie was the inclusion of the trademark metal suit. Yes, I know that Nancy Allen was in part 3, but she doesn’t count, and she gets killed anyway. Honestly, does anyone love Robocop because of a character who isn’t Robocop? Even the rating had been dumbed down from an R to a PG-13, eliminating the cartoony violence that made the original so good. In Robocop 3, Robocop plays a sort of Robin Hood role as he tries to stop greedy real estate developers who want to evict a group of transients from what they claim is “their land”, and hire a cyborg ninja to dispatch our hero so that he can’t get in the way. So Robocop teams up with the little girl version of John Connor from Terminator 2, straps a jetpack to his back, attaches a machine gun to his arm, and saves the day. And if that doesn’t tell you just how bad this movie is, then nothing will.
1. Spider-man 3
There are plenty of things that went wrong in Spider-man 3, but the main reason it tops my list of bad threequels is that it was such a letdown. Both Spider-Man and Spider-man 2 are really solid superhero movies, and part 2 is, in my opinion, not only one of the best superhero movies ever made, but also one of the best sequels. I remember seeing the trailers for Spider-man 3 and being thrilled that Venom was finally getting some screen time. Gwen Stacey was being introduced, Peter Parker was turning evil because of the symbiote suit…it seemed like a surefire win. My friends and I bought tickets and went and stood in line for hours for this movie. What we got was…less than stellar. Peter Parker turns all emo and dances! There was pelvic thrusting! No Spider-man movie should include pelvic thrusting! Venom was in it for all of ten minutes, and most of the time he had Topher Grace’s face! Sandman was okay, but we had already seen that kind of sandy villain in The Mummy, so he didn’t really bring anything to the table except to retcon Uncle Ben’s death and therefore Spider-man’s origin story. The Harry/Peter rivalry died without any sort of satisfying conclusion, especially considering how much was left hanging at the end of part 2. Spider-man 3 was a huge cinematic cocktease, and even though I love Sam Raimi, I just can’t forgive him for this one. There were so many places he could have taken the franchise. Why he chose this route, I’ll never know.