Writing about Tron: Legacy yesterday made me wonder: What were the most disappointing sequels ever made? This isn’t a definitive list, but these five movies must be contenders for the main title…
The Matrix Reloaded/The Matrix Revisited
I admit that I wasn’t the biggest fan of the first Matrix – I blame the fact that I preferred its original version, back when Grant Morrison called it The Invisibles – but there was no mistaking just how much worse the two sequels were, as the success and expectations brought by the first movie went to the Wachowski brothers’ heads and they just failed to land the whole thing successfully. Looking back, though, I can’t help but feel this was the kind of thing that should’ve prepared us to be disappointed by the finales of Battlestar Galactica and Lost…
Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace
Firstly, please note that I am not including either Attack of The Clones or Revenge of The Sith here, in large part because I thought that they were both significantly better than Menace, and also because I like the idea of the Star Wars series getting better with each numerical episode all the way until Jedi lets you down in the end. Secondly, oh, Menace. You promised so much, and then you decided to talk about trade routes and undercut the character of Darth Vader by making him a whiny little kid. And then! Then! Midichlorians? Why would you ever think that anyone actually wanted an explanation for the Force? That’s why everyone liked it so much in the first place. For a lesson in just how badly someone can misinterpret what their audience wants, it’ll be a long time before anyone comes close to this sequel.
The Godfather, Part 3
Some movie series are meant to be a trilogy, with their themes and plots carefully considered and paced for maximum use of the format. And then there’s The Godfather trilogy. Let’s be honest; The Godfather was so good that it didn’t need a sequel, and that Part 2 added to the story was practically a fluke. Unluckily, Part 3 was the karmic balance to its previous installment, flawed in almost every way from writing to acting (Hi, Sofia! Looking forward to your directing debut!) and adding absolutely nothing but sadness to the entire Godfather series.
Yes, Richard Pryor was a spectacular comedian and a big box-office draw. Yes, videogame culture was on the rise when this movie was being made. No, that doesn’t mean that it’d be a great idea to feature both in the third Superman movie. Here’s the thing: Superman: The Movie and Superman II succeeded the ways that they did because the movies were, for all the 1970s fashions, pretty much timeless; there played everything straight and classic, and allowed the stories to stand on their own. Quite why the third movie immediately junked that approach in favor of something far, far closer to the 1960s pop-culturetopia of the Batman TV show is still a mystery to me – The lure of bigger success? A lack of ideas of what else to do? – but it was a terrible, terrible idea that almost immediately lost the magic of the first two movies and forgot to replace it with anything.
Any Planet Of The Apes Movie After The Second One
They blew up the planet, people. That should have been your sign that even the people making the movie didn’t think there should have been another one right there.
Okay, now it’s your turn: What sequels just ruin your memories of the original movies? Fill the comments with your suggestions, and help me fill my Netflix Instant list up with more movies I really shouldn’t watch.