Top 10 Worst Third Movie Franchise Installments

Written by Niki Neptune Third time is definitely not the charm for these film series. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the top 10 worst third installments in movie franchises. For this list, we’re taking a look at movie franchises that may have started out strong, but by the third movie, they faltered big time. As opposed to say, the “Twilight Saga” franchise, which, while commercially successful, wasn’t really a cinematic goldmine from beginning to end, our worst third movies failed to bring up the rear. These third installments pale in comparison to the original iterations, received critical and/or commercial backlash and seemed like a pretty sad way to suck the life out of a movie series audiences once enjoyed. If you want to see your idea become a WatchMojo video, submit it through our Suggest Tool at WatchMojo.comSuggest
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Written by Niki Neptune

Top 10 Worst Third Movie Franchise Installments


Third time is definitely not the charm for these film series. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 worst third installments in movie franchises.

For this list, we’re taking a look at movie franchises that may have started out strong, but by the third movie, they faltered big time. As opposed to say, the “Twilight Saga” franchise, which, while commercially successful, wasn’t really a cinematic goldmine from beginning to end, our worst third movies failed to bring up the rear. These third installments pale in comparison to the original iterations, received critical and/or commercial backlash and seemed like a pretty sad way to suck the life out of a movie series audiences once enjoyed.

#10: “Blade: Trinity” (2004)

Fans of the Marvel comic might have initially been thrilled to see their favorite vampire hunter come to life on the big screen, but by the film series’ third release, they were pretty much over it. Filmmakers chucked the “lone vampire hunter” formula and instead paired Blade with Ryan Reynolds and Jessica Biel in “Trinity.” Where he used to be able to defeat bad guys in the blink of an eye, now our protagonist seems dependent on his new crew for support. Meanwhile, the action film’s camp factor seemed like it was magnified times a thousand, as the writers replaced whatever coolness existed in the first two with ham-fisted attempts at levity.

#9: “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III” (1993)

The writing was most likely on the wall with this three-quel. As a disappointing continuation of a popular “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” franchise, it was the third installment no one was really waiting for. Set in 17th century feudal Japan, the fighting turtles have followed April to the past after she activates a time-traveling device. Apparently, the folks over at Jim Henson’s Creature Shop knew this was going to be a clunker and bailed on the project, resulting in un-synced puppet lips and shoddy animatronics. And no familiar TMNT villains in sight.

#8: “The Godfather Part III” (1990)

The first two films set the standard, and admittedly, they were a hard act to follow considering how much of an influence they’ve played in the industry decades after their release. So, maybe it’s the constant comparisons to the first two films that doomed this third installment that came sixteen years after the second film. The story follows Michael Corleone as he struggles to cement the crime syndicate of which he is now head. While the visuals may have been on point; the acting, especially that of Sofia Coppola, could’ve used some work. And while it was nominated for multiple Oscars, “Part 3” had little to offer audiences that wasn’t already covered in the first two films.

#7: “Alien 3” (1992)

While this third installment may’ve given us the iconic visual of the alien all up in Ripley’s personal space, it just didn’t hold up its end of the franchise bargain. After surviving the events of “Aliens”, the amazing 1986 sequel to the original, Ripley is yet again the only survivor of a crash that lands her escape pod on a penal colony planet. Of course, an alien has graciously accompanied her on her journey and wreaks havoc on arrival. While the other two movies had atmosphere and pacing on their side, this film lacks both. Instead, the only character anyone really cares about is Ripley, and she always seems to make it out of these things just fine. “Alien 3” was plagued by underdeveloped characters and a monster-mash storyline that just wasn’t all that compelling.

#6: “Spider-Man 3” (2007)

The third “Spider-Man” of Sam Raimi’s trilogy seemed as though it knew the party was coming to an end and wanted to pack as much action in as possible before the cops showed up. Peter Parker and Mary Jane are blissfully in love, and Harry Osborn conveniently forgets that his best friend killed his dad. All this changes when an alien black ooze infects our superhero and makes him evil and brooding and emo. He’s also got two villains to deal with: Sandman and Venom, who’s played by Topher Grace.And then, Harry regains his memory and hatred for the web-slinger, while Spidey must deal with his rocky romance. With all of this happening in one movie, “Spider-Man 3” ended up seeming like a party punch with a few too many ingredients.

#5: “X-Men: The Last Stand” (2006)

You didn’t necessarily have to be a fan of the comics to know that something big was going to go down in the third film of the “X-Men” film series. When a cure for mutation appears to have been discovered in “The Last Stand,” it’s an all-out battle for mutant survival. While the film offered plenty of action, it seems the filmmakers decided to jam-pack as much fan service into the movie as possible as well, introducing a slew of characters without establishing any sort of connection to them. More than anything though, the superhero flick lost the momentum of the previous two films and banked too highly on the fact that it was meant to be a finale, while choosing style over substance.

#4: “Superman III” (1983)

The original “Superman” franchise that began in the ‘70s was a little on the goofy side. And while this lighthearted component was present in the previous films, this 3rd installment cranked it up to eleven. We see Richard Pryor, whose comedic brilliance is woefully underutilized, as a computer programmer working for an evil billionaire, and who develops a substance that serves as a form of kryptonite. That kryptonite gives us a nega-Superman who isn’t really evil as much as he’s sort of a nuisance. He blows the flame out of the Olympic torch and straightens the Leaning Tower of Pisa and other petty antics, like a jilted ex with superpowers who’s angry at cultural icons. What we don’t get is the sense of excitement that made the first, and even the second film, great.

#3: “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” (2007)

While the film may’ve been a commercial success, this was due in large part to the generous wake left by the film’s two predecessors. Here, Captain Jack Sparrow finds himself trapped in Davy Jones’s locker, with Will and Elizabeth looking for a way to spring him. At almost three-hours-long, “At World’s End” doesn’t skimp on the action. But it’s also pretty confusing, even if you’re paying attention. While everyone is supposedly working to stop Davy Jones and the British, who have plans to control the seas, almost no one’s motives are explicitly clear - so you’re not really sure who you’re rooting for. And who wants to be confused for three hours?

#2: “RoboCop 3” (1993)

In this mind-numbingly bad three-quel, the evil Omni from the previous two films is at it again. They just won’t leave Detroit alone, and have enlisted the aid of a shady Japanese corporation in their plans to construct a corporate-owned city. These plans include the forceful removal, if not extermination, of the city’s current population. It also means ninja androids. In addition to some really cheesy dialogue and boring action sequences, we see the formerly terrifying ED-209 from the first film transformed into an embarrassing shell of its former self. That probably should’ve been a hint for the franchise.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
- “Rush Hour 3” (2007)
- “Rambo III” (1988)
- “The Karate Kid, Part III” (1989)
- “Shrek the Third” (2007)
- “Scream 3” (2000)

#1: “The Matrix Revolutions” (2003)

Audiences had their minds blown when “The Matrix” debuted back in 1999; the film combined incredibly well executed fight sequences with an impressive plot, compelling storytelling and pioneering special effects. By the time the third installment rolled around though, the material had been stretched thin, and any philosophical elements that had been introduced were left muddled and unexplored. Following the events of “The Matrix Reloaded”, the Sentinels are making their way towards Zion, and Neo and the crew must race to stop them before they destroy the last remaining human outpost. While there are some cool visuals, there’s nothing revolutionary about this sci-fi action flick, which made it a tepid conclusion to a trilogy that started off red-hot.

Do you agree with our list? What do you think is the worst third movie of a film series? For more entertaining Top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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