The Third Installment Curse w/ Comic Book Films

Spider-Man 3, Superman III, Blade: Trinity, X-Men: The Last Stand, The Dark Knight Rises, and for me personally Iron Man 3. These are not very good films, especially when looking at the films they followed (notwithstanding Iron Man 2). It seems studios for the longest time have trouble with their franchises moving forward. What gives?

That could all depend on the circumstances prior to the start of production on that third film. Some directors decided to move on, like Bryan Singer after X2: X-Men United and Richard Donner after Superman II. Other directors stay on board for a bit too long like Sam Raimi with Spider-Man, although its very possible the studio’s influence helped doom that third film. Then of course there’s “cash grab” on the studio’s part, which is what Blade: Trinity felt like.

Let’s take a quick step outside of Marvel and DC Comics and look at other films like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3 and Men in Black 3. One film changed the look of the turtles we love, for something that looked more creepy than cool. The other film overstayed its welcome, despite me being a big Will Smith fan. The point I’m getting at is third films based on comic books have not done so well in the past. I’m hoping that’ll change in the next couple years. Marvel, despite my feelings for Iron Man 3, is in a position to do so.

Next year’s Captain America: Civil War is the third Captain America solo film, and it looks very promising. In 2017, we’re getting Thor: Ragnorak which will be the third (and likely last) film for Thor. Let’s not also forget 20th Century Fox’s X-Men: Apocalypse, which technically serves as a third film in the soft reboot for the franchise, which started with First Class. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

Are you worried about these upcoming films continuing the curse? Which of the third films above hurt you the most? Share your thoughts with us below.

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3 replies »

  1. You make some great points here about why it happens! I personally thought Dark Knight Rises and Iron Man 3 were good movies they were just a slight disappointment given the previous instalments (esp The Dark Knight). I think X-Men Apocalypse and Cap 3 will be great – although their one main problem will be ensuring the huge amount of characters in each film are there for an actual purpose and not just to up the superhero quotient!

    Im unsure about Thor 3… the first one was solid, the second was fine but not good. Im hoping the can pull it out the bag for the final outing but we’ll see! I would love for it to be great but im not that hopeful.


    • Hey thanks for the input. It all varies for each film. I just thought the idea of studios struggling with that third film was worth talking about. Marvel has some opportunities coming up, so we’ll see.

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