Jurassic World was just released to record-breaking success, and I think most people can agree, it’s a really good film, and more importantly, a really good sequel. Mad Max: Fury Road was also recently released, and guess what… IT WAS AWESOME. These films have a few things in common. They’re both the fourth film in a series, being released a long time after the previous instalment, and they’re both coming after low points in their respective franchises.
Alright, so both Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome and Jurassic Park 3 have their fans, myself included in both cases, but there’s no denying that they’re both considered to be the weakest films in their respective franchises. So which other sequel has been big this year? Fast and Furious 7. Anybody want to argue that 2 Fast 2 Furious or Tokyo Drift are solid instalments in that franchise? No? Me neither. So why is any of this important? Well, these are all big franchises, and yet they all have films within them that people don’t really like. So let’s take a look at some other big franchises, and see if they follow this pattern.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe! There are no terrible films in the MCU, but there are some that a lot of people don’t like. The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2 and 3 and Thor: The Dark World are all commonly made fun of, although they all have their fans, once again, myself included.
Star Wars! Some of the best and most influential films of all time, and also, three of the most hated films of all times. Star Wars is a franchise with a 50% hit rate, in quality at least, which, let’s face it, isn’t that good. Imagine you’ve been on three dates with somebody, and they were three of the best nights of your life. Now imagine your next three dates were the Jar Jar Binks of dates. The conversation was horrible, just the sight of the other person made you angry, and there was a bit too much tongue. Now imagine you’ve eaten three amazing burgers from the same restaurant, but the next three you have give you food poisoning, and generally leave a horrible taste in your mouth. I could give more examples, but I think I’ve made my point (I’m totally still going to see The Force Awakens though).
Fun fact, Revenge of the Sith is currently rated higher on Rotten Tomatoes than Return of the Jedi. Wait a minute… that wasn’t fun at all!
James Bond! A lot of people love the recent Bond films, but how many of you like Octopussy? Or Die Another Day? Not Many! Batman! Who doesn’t love Batman and Robin? EVERYONE, that’s who. The Middle Earth series has An Unexpected Journey, Spider-man has The Amazing Spider-man 2 and Spider-man 3, Shrek has Shrek the Third and Shrek Forever After, Twilight is just a bunch of terrible films, take your pick out of the Transformers sequels, Pirates of the Caribbean, X-Men, Ice Age, Mission Impossible, Star Trek, Indianna Jones, Planet of the Apes, blah blah blah blah.
Now, there are people who like each of the films in this list, I in fact like quite a few of them, but what I’m saying is that they’re all films that generally aren’t thought of as being good, especially considering the quality seen in the rest of the franchises (generally, Twilight is the exception).
So now the big question, do bad films make franchises good? I think, in a way, they do. People like to be fully immersed in a film universe, and they want to both love and hate things in that world. By having instalments that people don’t like, it makes you appreciate it more the next time there’s a good, or even a great film. Would people have loved Casino Royale so much if Die Another Day hadn’t been hated so much? Would The Fast and the Furious franchise be so beloved by die-hard fans if they couldn’t boast about being there through the casting of Ja Rule? A film franchise is like a sports team, if you love it enough, you stick with it no matter what.
Maybe there’s a point here, or maybe I’m just making this all up because I’m hoping Terminator Genisys is going to be good. Either way, we’ll have to wait and see if T4ken is any good.
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