Sequels, sequels, sequels. Most of the time. they're the bane of a hardcore movielover. How dare they milk this series beyond the great story already told and the characters we so fell in love with? But sometimes, sequels can be good, even better than the original. A third film in a series may come along and even be just as good as its predecessors. But which one is your favourite in that trilogy? This is something of a random blog I had in my mind for a while now and since I can't to save my life make Youtube videos, I still enjoy using Nukapedia to convey tidbits on games and films, if the Polls and my previous random blogs are any example. Of course, I'll be talking about films as well as games. And if you're of the TLDR type, well you can just look at each section and look for the bolded writing to quickly see what ones I liked most.
Lord of the Rings (Peter Jackson)
Out of the excellently crafted Lord of the Rings adaptations by Peter, Return of the King stands as my favourite of the three. Maybe it's because at this point everybody's individual stories have converged at last and people are fighting together at last, or maybe it's just that the battle at Minas Tirith was so jaw-droppingly amazing. Either way, Return of the King gave a very satisfying end to the story and it's my favourite in the trilogy.
The Evil Dead
It goes without suprise that I'm a big horror fan and the Evil Dead series is an example of one where all the films are just as great as one another. What's interesting is how each film has something of a different tone. The first Evil Dead was a straight up serious horror with Ash as mostly a coward. Evil Dead 2 added some comedy elements (but still not too excessive, it's in reasonable doses) resulting in a hugely entertaining horror flick with a now badass Ash with a chainsaw hand and sawn-off shotgun. The final Evil Dead was pretty much a straight up comedy but with Ash at his most coolest and quotable lines everywhere. It's a great film, but the horror elements are just hardly there anymore but it's clear the makers wanted a different approach, hence why its "Army of Darkness" title is more of a clear and better title than "Evil Dead 3". In the end, the first Evil Dead is my favourite. I felt that the Evil Dead was always better as a straight up horror gore-fest than a black comedy.
The Godfather trilogy stands as a true testament of film-making at some of its finest. Okay, part III might have had some of its iffy moments and wasn't as great as the first two (it sucked that Duvall couldn't be in it) but it was still a great film regardless of Coppola's daughter's performance. It helps a lot to think of it as an Epilogue to the first two films and it excels in telling how Michael now has to cope with all of the guilt and anguish that has built up over the years as he finally tries to turn his life around and building up to its heartbreaking finale. But anyway, whether it be from its wonderfully adapated story from Puzo, the iconic music, brilliant acting or even just the way the settings look. I'll always remember Michael returning home in the first film in Autumn with kids on the sidewalks and all the brown and orange trees. It's the first Godfather film which struck more of a chord with me; however. While the movie is still ostensibly about Michael choosing whether he wants to be his own man or to finally help his family in its shady glory, it's also Marlon Brando and James Caan, whom, in my view, give the movie its higher rise over Part II.
The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan)
I really enjoyed the Dark Knight trilogy. Partly because of how they seem to be getting me into superhero films in the first place, but also from just how great the writing and acting is. I love the journey of the characters which is told throughout all three films. While Nolan is most certainly not the first director to make a realistic superhero film (Shyamlan actually beat Nolan to the punch in 2000 with Unbreakable but they were still great films which explore what it means to be a hero. There's the beginning with Batman Begins and the forming of the hero, the development in The Dark Knight (which strangely seems to have nothing to do with the plot arcs of the first and third films, but hey it was still a great film) and the conclusion in The Dark Knight Rises. As great as all three films are, Batman Begins stands as my favourite of the bunch. I liked the psychological aspects of the film more than the action of the sequels, the origin of a hero and I found the inner journey that Bruce has to go on to become Batman resonated with me the most. Moreover, Scarecrow just felt like a better villain to me than the much overdone Joker. Neeson as Ra's also gives a great performance as the League leader, the way he talks and what he says, I found it quite easy to believe what he was saying.
It goes without saying that the first Terminator film is one of my most favourite films of all time due to its cyberpunk theme, techno soundtrack, the performace of all three main characters respectively and its overall tone of gritty desparation. Judgement Day hit the nail on the head with how to make a great sequel; as characters are developed, the stakes are raised even higher and ultimately- gives a resounding conclusion to the series... As for Rise of the Machines, well I wasn't too fond of that for various reasons. While it ain't a terrible film, it's by no means a good film either and was plainly a cash-grab. Suffice to say,The Terminator is my favourite one. For, well, the cyberpunk theme and horrific look to the future, the techno soundtrack and the great acting from the leads of Michael Biehn, Linda Hamilton and Arnie. Due to a lower budget, this film had a more gritty, and in my opinion, a more effective tone than the second despite how awesome that was as well. And is it just me, or is Arnie more effective when he plays the villain Terminator rather than the hero Terminator?
A far cooler counterpart to James Bond in my opinion. What the Bourne films explore are the ability to choose who we want to be and the dehumanising effects it can actually be to be a trained killer. Well, I might be looking into these films way too much but I think there's a lot to see in these films. It's The Bourne Identity which stands as my favourite one though. It's here where Jason still has no idea who he is, and gradually has to learn that he was an assassin wheras int he later films, he knows fully well what's going on and has clear goals in mind. The film is noticably more chilled than the later films, with Jason smiling on ocassion and the slighly techno-pop soundtrack. The dynamic between Bourne and Marie is brilliant and really drives the film and makes you care for these two characters. The ending of the film also makes this a great stand-alone film in itself. And come on, the Paris car chase in a mini cooper has to be the coolest chase scene in a film ever. It was just a flawless film.
Star Wars Prequels
Wait, hold on! Before you throw stuff at me, just hear me out. Yes, The Phantom Menace sucked. It was boring, the acting was wooden, CGI was used too much and the villain underwhelming and disappointing. Attack of the Clones, while still not good, was at least an average action flick. It also had the epicness of Christopher Lee and Samuel L Jackson. Those are brownie points. Revenge of the Sith is another story however. It really stands apart from its predecessors as a suprisingly good film with its noticably improved writing (the romance still sucks though) and much darker tone. I also have to love how well it falls into A New Hope with its final scenes of the twins' birth and Owen and Beru looking off into the Tatooine sunset. Call me crazy, but Revenge of the Sith is actually my third favourite Star Wars film, pushing Return of the Jedi out of the third spot. If there was ever a Star Wars prequel that is at least worth a watch, it's Revenge of the Sith. The ones before can be missed entirely but there's good stuff in this one.
Star Wars (Originals)
A New Hope was a lighthearted journey of a hero, The Empire Strikes Back was an emotionally and darkly charged turn on its heels and Return of the Jedi was the (almost euphoric) ending to the story. It's The Empire Strikes Back which I liked the most. Continuing the story from the first, with amazing settings, character development and its dark and bitter tone and avoiding the expectation of the heroes winning was a winning formula to me. Regardless of how well known it is now, the ending is still of the best ever made. Sorry Return of the Jedi, but Lucas fell to the dark side of marketing and yearned more for money from Ewok toys than delivering a third film just as smart as its two predecessors!
The Before Trilogy are an unusual set of films. Pretty much all that happens in all three is walking and talking between two characters, but it's things they talk about, the bond they share and the dynamic between a cynic and a romantic which truly creates the magic. Before Sunrise is about a chance encounter between two people and the passion fuelled evening they share after first meeting on a train and getting off on a random stop together. Before Sunset was released 9 years and set 9 years after the last film and Before Midnight was again released 9 yeard after and set 9 years after the last film as the relationship between the two characters finally breaks down and is threatened. These are an amazing set of films and are worth a watch if you've never heard of seen them before. Before Midnight is my favourite one due to the deterioration of the marriage of the two characters and its bittersweet elements and reconciliation(?) of the love between the two. You'll think about the ending for a good long while.
Back to the Future
As great and iconic as the first movie was, Back to the Future Part II was my favourite one as it explored the consequences of action through screwing around with time. It was a much darker movie than the previous film and I loved it. It might just be me, but I liked the humorous as well as scary look at the future in this one. The parts where Marty has to follow himself from the fist film also stand out as some great moments and create a real mind warper of a film as alternate realites collide.
Chock full of philosophical and religious concepts to wrap your head around, the Matrix trilogy was candy for my thinking brain as well as my viewing pleasure. While Reloaded and Revolutions can be hard films to get a hold on, if you put in the effort and try and think about what's going on in the story it can be very rewarding, as it was for me. The first film might have been more iconic and a more likable cast, it's The Matrix Reloaded which I liked the most. It's here where the story finally falls into full motion (or Final Flight of the Osiris if you've seen the short films), the action is better (with the Merovingian being one of the best fight scenes ever along with the House of Blue Leaves in Kill Bill), the themes are more complex and it's a fight for survival of human race. The scene with the Architect still stays with me to this day as Neo struggles to choose between what's logical or what's irrational in an attempt to break the Cycle.
If I could name all of the games as my favourite installment, I could, but that would defeat the object of my blog. As much as I love all three games, the original Mass Effect is my favourite. It's the beginning of Shepard's journey which remains with me despite the brilliant emotional conclusion in Mass Effect 3. It's the first whose decisions and choices still resonate with me into the sequels and what I think about but bare in mind that Mass Effect 3 comes at a very close second favourite. From a gameplay standpoint, I also liked the first game more as well with it having the most RPG aspects of all the games with its classes and being able to use all powers individually and having your own background. The romance is also at its best in the series before needless toning down of the sex in 2 and 3 occured (seriously, murder, death destruction ect. is fine, but god forbid they show some nudity). And it might have been just me, but I preferred the main story directly challenging the Reapers of 1 and 3 more than 2 which was mostly just recruiting and building up loyalty. Mass Effect 2 felt a bit like The Dark Knight to me, almost the majority thought it was the best yet it felt almost like the odd one out with not being connected to the fist and third as much (even though you learn a bit about what happens to races who are conquered).
The final series I will talk about is Bioshock. After recently discovering this series, I instantly fell in love with it. But it's Bioshock Infinite which stands as my favourite one of all. Columbia just did more for me as a city than Rapture. The setting and environments were gorgeous. The main characters felt real and alive with their own stories and tremendous voice acting from Troy Baker and Courtnee Draper who carry the game on to amazing heights. The gameplay was polished, exciting and above all, fun as hell. The themes which serve as a backdrop to Booker and Elizabeth's story were well thought out, constructed and executed which really make you think. Along with an emotionally charged, and perhaps one of the best endings in a game ever which I still think about, there's a lot about Infinite I adored. Yes, the first game was brilliant as well, but Infinite was more with its better and deeper story and doing more for the series than simply improving gameplay slightly like Bioshock 2 did.
So guys, what do you think about the choices I made? Do you differ on any of them and are there any trilogies that haven't been mentioned that you'd like to talk about?