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8 Superhero Movies That Prove The 3rd Film Curse Exists

19 January 2014 | Features, Film Lists | by Red Stewart

superhero-movies

Fans (and possibly casual movie goers) may have noticed a trend in the superhero film genre; that the third entry in any trilogy (or quadrilogy) ends up being noticeably weaker than its two predecessors. It’s a strange phenomenon that can possibly be explained by the fact that either ideas run thin by the time these franchises reach their third film, or that the studio executives backing the projects decide that they want more influence in the final product. Whatever the case, here is a list of nine films that prove that such a pattern is real (and a little scary).

 

8. Superman III

superman III

The first Superman was heralded as revolutionary both for its reintroduction of the Man of Steel into mainstream culture and for making us believe that a man could fly (i.e. it’s visionary special effects). While the great writing and direction were major complements to the effects, it was primarily star Christopher Reeve’s performance that many cited as the source of the film’s success.

The large success of Superman led to the already filming sequel receiving a green light. However, budget problems and conflicts between director Richard Donner and the producers led to his removal and replacement by Richard Lester. Superman II proved to be a near-equally compelling film to its prequel, though it received some criticism for its depiction of slapstick humor.

Unfortunately, these criticisms proved to be foreshadows for what would become the precursor to many poor threequels. Superman III returned with both Reeve and Lester, but ended up becoming a campy film relying too heavily on famed comedian Richard Pryor. The immature changes to the series’ formula were a turn off to many fans, culminating in low box office returns. Even though the fourth entry ended up worse than the third, the curse had established itself in the industry and was here to stay.

 

7. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III

Okay, so the first two TMNT films weren’t exactly good. The fact remains that they were two cult classics exploring a popular comic book team. They blended silly humor and over the top action well enough that franchise had at least established a standard, no matter how low.

Unfortunately, tired ideas found their way into the script of the third film, including a poorly executed time travel gimmick. The result was a TMNT movie that lacked the same childlike appeal the first two had. Still, there is a good chance that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III will still be better than the upcoming 2014 Michael Bay reboot….

 

6. Batman Forever

Batman-Forever

Eleven years after Superman hit the big screens, Batman made his cinematic debut (okay technically not debut, but we’ll be ignoring the theatrical Adam West picture). Though some creative decisions such as combining the Joker with Joe Chill and Alfred letting Vickie Vale into the Batcave were met negatively by fans, director Tim Burton’s gothic take on the character made the film a critical and financial success.

The sequel, Batman Returns, featured Tim Burton and Michael Keaton returning to the series with newcomers Danny DeVito, Christopher Walken, and Michelle Pfeiffer joining the cast. Even though the film was met with greater reviews than the first, the lower ticket sales and what was considered “too dark” atmosphere of the film led to the start of the demise of the film series.

For the third film, the producers wanted to take a more family friendly approach to the Batman character, causing them to remove Burton as director which soon led to Keaton dropping out as well. Joel Schumacher was hired as director and brought along writer Akiva Goldsman. No words need to be wasted on the bat nipples and cod pieces that were somehow perceived as appealing to kids, but the end result was a very cheesy film equal in campiness to Superman III. The third film curse had continued, leaving the Batman franchise to be destroyed with Batman & Robin.

 

 

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  • johnjohnphenom

    Wow, I was right with you till the last page. Dark Knight rises had to live up to the dark Knight but it is an amazing standalone film. And iron man 3 was a solid return to form for the franchise but you know what they say about oppinions

    • Rorshach Sridhar

      The Dark Knight Rises was filled with plot holes inconsistent with what’s come to be expected of Christopher Nolan.

      And Iron Man 3 was complete crap. Don’t know what “return to form” you saw.

      • johnjohnphenom

        name the inconsistencies that matter…..ahem…the prestige…ahem. Also, I never said IM3 was an oscar winner, it certainly has its down falls but it was good popcorn entertainment. Much like the first.

        • Rorshach Sridhar

          Scroll down. Someone else took the time to list said inconsistencies.
          And Iron Man 3 failed to be a good popcorn film either. It was a pain to sit through that movie. The only part I found enjoyable were the scenes with Tony and Harley.
          The first was one of the greatest superhero films ever. Because Disney hadn’t acquired Marvel yet and imposed their kid friendly BS.

          • johnjohnphenom

            Scroll down …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………8=====D sucks it

          • johnjohnphenom

            8=====D

  • Van Chandler

    With the exception of the TMNT section (the first film was actually amazing for it’s bold, serious take on the turtles in a time when the cartoon was popular) and the Batman Forever section (“Forever” wasn’t that bad – it wasn’t good – just mediocre, and everyone knew what to expect going in), you’re right about everything else.

    Dark Knight was a convoluted mess with too many plot holes, empty twists, loose ends, and weak character development. And Iron Man 3 was almost shark-jumping bad in its story elements and design.

    • SillyWonka

      What plot holes, bud? And people throw the “weak character development” argument just about everywhere. TDKR set standards on how to end a CBM franchisee.

      • Van Chandler

        I won’t personally list the problems with the film here because that would come off as though I didn’t like it – which isn’t true; I did. If you want, however, feel free to check them out here: http://movieplotholes.com/the-dark-knight-rises.html

        If I had to give it a score, I’d hand it a solid 8 or 7.5, depending on how much the weak Bane/Tate twist at the end bothered me. In less than a minute it waters down Bane to just a weak-minded sucker of a villain, just another follower. Up to that point, he was on par with the Joker in terms of intimidation and potential for ruin. And don’t get me started on the unrealistic nuclear bomb / “Robin” ending and no one noticing the Batman/Wayne/8 years correlation.

        Again, not a bad movie. Some serious plot holes and some weak character development, but not a bad movie by any means. I enjoyed it. It’s biggest problem is that it came after the virtually flawless The Dark Knight, which is near-impossible to follow.

  • Petros Iliopoulos

    You included TKDR to the 3rd film curse? Really?

    • Rorshach Sridhar

      Was it worse than Batman Begins and The Dark Knight? Yes, it was, and disappointed the Academy as well.

      • Petros Iliopoulos

        All 3 movies were great. TDK was the best, TDKR was second and BB third IMO.

        • Rorshach Sridhar

          I honestly thought BB was the best of the 3 tbh. It had the best balance between comics and realism.

          • Petros Iliopoulos

            If you see it for what it is, an origin movie and a restart of the franchise, it is one of the best. But if you compare it to the next two films it doesn’t stand a chance. The same thing can be said for the Man of Steel movie. Great origin film. Let’s just hope that the sequel will be better than that. Fingers crossed!

          • Rorshach Sridhar

            It’s not just that. If you read the comic Year One, you’ll also see it as the best in the franchise.

          • johnjohnphenom

            Shit. I made the mistake of replying to you without reading these comments first. Really? Re-Really???

  • McGygas

    I really enjoy Batman Forever, chupalo con mayo!

    • Petros Iliopoulos

      I enjoyed it too when i saw it back then. Not a bad movie.

  • Fuckyoubitch

    Lol, what? TDKR was a masterpiece and ironman 3 was a solid film, the rest however do belong on this list

    • Rorshach Sridhar

      TDKR was filled with bad plot holes and inconsistencies that Nolan doesn’t normally make. It’s evident that there was franchise fatigue.

      Iron Man 3 was utter crap. Try and defend it, I dare you.

      • Fuckyoubitch

        Name one plot hole from TDKR, I dare you

        • Rorshach Sridhar

          Or what bitch?

          • Fuckyoubitch

            That’s what I thought, you can’t even name one, your just a dumbass hater, bitch

          • Rorshach Sridhar

            Lol, your a penis-carrying man who has to threaten people on the internet in order to feel like a big boy. So cute, yet pathetic.

          • Fuckyoubitch

            Lol, wtf? You approached me dipshit. You’re an invalid, nothing you say is productive or worth my time. You’re the one whose threatening and starting shit with a total stranger fucktard, I was minding my own business. You’re just a lonely little fucking virgin boy with too much time on his hands, fucking retarded hater

          • Rorshach Sridhar

            You’re the one who started the threats dumbass.
            Lol, you see everyone on the internet as little virgin boys. Goes to show what kind of sick twisted mind you have.

          • Fuckyoubitch

            Are you a fucking retard, just scroll up and you’ll see that you approached me, fucktard. You fucking 12 year old friendless fucking reject with way too much time on his hands, your irrelevant

          • Rorshach Sridhar

            Lmfao. I stated an innocent post and you took it to heart like a butthurt faggot.

            You’re only proving the pedophile thing.

          • Fuckyoubitch

            You are a fucking idiot, you commented on my post you fucking retard. Look up, you’re just in denial. And FYI I’m 19 and I’m currently in my second semester at ucla so due the math, fuck face

          • Rorshach Sridhar

            You’re the fucking idiot. I posted an innocent comment, and you starting coming up with the threats.

            And an illiterate redneck like you didn’t get into UCLA, so don’t pull the bullshit.

          • Fuckyoubitch

            Alright you’re just a fucking nobody reaching out for attention. And you’re a fucking idiot in denial. And yeah I’m currently majoring in micro economics, so fuck off, I’m done with you just like the rest of the world

          • Rorshach Sridhar

            Lol, you’re just a lonely loser who lives a pointless existence.

            Aww, don’t tell me you’re gonna off yourself. That’s just how cowards get attention.

          • Fuckyoubitch

            Way too steal what I said, and typical, there is nothing in that excuse of a brain of yours that’s capable of coming up with anything remotely original. There is nothing analitical, productive, or even relevant you came muster up. You’re just embarrassing yourself at this point. I win, you lose, but I’m quite sure you are used to losing by now

          • Rorshach Sridhar

            Lol, I never lose bitch. You’re a heartless, piece of shit, and b/c of that you will always be inferior to me.

          • Fuckyoubitch

            Typical, just more nonsense coming from your asshole

          • Rorshach Sridhar

            Mate, you are just ridiculously pathetic. Were you dropped on your head as a kid or something? No one can be this fucking stupid naturally.

          • Fuckyoubitch

            Lol you’re on this website on a saturday night, haha you truly are a fucking loser, here is some advice from a superior movie out of your mothers basement get a job at a place where you have the proper credentials, like McDonald’s and get your fathers cock out of your ass, you uptight cunt

          • Rorshach Sridhar

            The sad thing is you started this whole thing. You’re the monster, and I have no choice but to slay you.

          • Fuckyoubitch

            You fucking nerd, try doing something productive with your life, faggot, you’re just embarrassing yourself

          • Rorshach Sridhar

            LOL, i’m embarrassing myself?

            You’re a really paranoid dipshit. Just get off this site. No one likes you.

          • Fuckyoubitch

            Can’t even come up with an analitical response, typical, fucking pussy, quit crying

          • Fuckyoubitch

            And you are such a fucking loser, you spend every day on this site, so you must be a kid trying to escape the real world, you fucking degenerate, you truly make me laugh you friendless fuck

          • Fuckyoubitch

            P.s. the fact that you said “never” just proves that you lose at everything, friendless fucker

      • BishiBashi

        Defend Iron Man 3? Okay, 3 words: “one”, (still with me?) “billion” (now that’s a big word!) and “dollars”.

        Want me to defend TDKR? Okay, again, “one”, “billion” and “dollars”. You get that? Word of mouth exists, and if TDKR was bad and Iron Man 3 was ‘utter crap’, it would have stopped these movies from making those magic 3 words we just learned.

  • Dris

    Am I the only one who thinks Superman IV was still better than that crap called III?
    Also, Iron Man 3 was better than 2.
    F*ck me, right?

    • Rorshach Sridhar

      I think people degrade IV more b/c of the worse special effects.

      No, Iron Man 3 was worse than 2. 2 was slower granted, but it had a beauty put into each scene and rode on the quirkiness of Tony Stark. Iron Man 3 tried to go dark with the character, then decided to f%ck it and go back to his quirky side, only it looked half-assed.

      • MichaelinIowa

        You could salvage Iron Man 3 by doing two things. The first would be giving a rational explanation for blowing up the armor army that also prevents Stark from using it again – autonomous AI is extremely dangerous and it gets dangerous very quickly. The armor held back from helping Stark at the end and was eventually developing a desire for independent action (like Ultron). Stark had to blow it up right then. Of course he is not going to tell Pepper the real reason. He may even deny it to himself. The second thing would be a real Mandarin exists and is still pulling the strings in some shadow fashion. The use of the actor is a subterfuge to prevent Stark from looking further. This fixes the worst problems from the 3rd film and fits in well for the future.

    • Petros Iliopoulos

      Iron Man 3 was the worse imo. Total crap. Took advantage of the timing (it was considered by many an Avengers sequel) and also what they did with the Mandarin was unforgivable. As for Superman 4, please don’t get me started on that one… All i will say is i agree with the article that the turning point for the death of that franchise was Superman 3.

    • Joseph Label

      Oops, I jumped the gun. I said nearly the same thing.

  • Philip210

    I was ok with the villain twist in Iron Man 3, let’s face it Mandarin is a somewhat silly & typical comic book villain that wouldn’t translate well in a live action movie. Please a guy with 10 magic rings when they are trying to go for realism. Yea I get the arguments about Thor & the Chitari, but I just don’t get the praise of Mandarin. Fanboys always gotta be followers, OMG I can’t like IM3 because no one else did. Dark Knight Rises was a good follow up to the much praise The Dark Knight, there was no way to top it period. Nolan gave us a proper ending to his own trilogy. I also kinda like Batman Forever & don’t get the hate it gets, maybe it’s cause Schumacher did that one also. I for one think it’s time to forgive & forget him already, how many directors & even stars will admit they did wrong?

    • Rorshach Sridhar

      You get the arguments for Thor and the Chitauri yet you still say magic rings couldn’t have been in this film?

  • Joseph Label

    I liked Iron Man 3 more than 2, but apparently my opinion is wrong. Fuck me, right?

    • Rorshach Sridhar

      Yes, fuck you 😉

  • Spencer

    Its painful for me cause the have movies that should be on the list but ironman3 was so much better than 2, 2 was bland it felt rushed and got tedious at times, whereas 3 didn’t it was enjoyable and the final battle scene was not anticlimactic granted it wasn’t spectacular but it was better than 2 in almost everyway. Also if you couldn’t tell what the premise of the story was there’s no help for you as movie fanatic just that sime and I guess you’re an Argo fan (most overrated movie since avatar)

  • BishiBashi

    Iron Man 3 and TDKR are both in my top 10 comic book movies of all time, with TDKR in 5th and Iron Man 3 in 6th. No one has ever actually given me a real reason why the movies are bad other than fanboys bitching about Bane and The Mandarin and plot holes and why Tony Stark didn’t call his suits to defend his house and how Bruce got back to Gotham and I could go on and on but I am tired of it.

    Iron Man 3 was the perfect sequel to The Avengers and a great redemption from the underrated but still lackluster Iron Man 2, whilst TDKR was a pitch-perfect conclusion to what is truly one of the best trilogies of all time. Haters gonna hate, but these movies have critical and audience reception to show you that thy were great movies 🙂

    • Rorshach Sridhar

      And fanboyz gonna squeal.

  • BishiBashi

    Iron Man 3? TDKR? Easily top 10 best superhero movies ever made for me, 6th and 5th respectively.