For every trilogy that finishes to tremendous audience approval and long-lasting endearment, there are countless more that don’t succeed as well.
In my opinion, Lord of the Rings, Back to the Future, Indiana Jones are all great stories that finish in 3 acts and should sit atop a pedestal labeled “This is how you do a trilogy right”. I know there was a 4th Indiana Jones film but I don’t consider ‘Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’ a legitimate Indiana Jones film (in fact I try to deny it’s existence actually…it was just bad). Whether planned as a trilogy or be it a film whose sequels just happen to work out that way, few trilogies can become complete works of art and reach untouchable status.
I have seen and I own many other trilogies (aside from the above) and most seem to just derail completely in the 3rd movie. The Matrix, Spider-Man, The Godfather, X-Men, Shrek and Blade are examples of “Third films” that I have to sit through, uneasily, and ask time and time again, “WTF??”…Actually I only really say that about Blade, the rest were just disappointing, not flat out garbage like ‘Blade Trinity’ was.
Sadly, I feel the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ films end on a downer as well. Pirates, and all of the above have an amazing and intriguing first film. Then the second film was bigger and just floors you with how much better it was than the first. Then the last one comes out and its got such a high expectations to live up to but it simply doesn’t deliver. I’ll admit I liked ‘At World’s End’ but it could have been much better, a little shorter and done a few things differently. One thing I did like was how it left itself open for another film. If that happens it will be taken out of the category of ‘trilogy’ and on to some other plane of storytelling (pray it doesn’t meander and dilute itself like Superman and the Batman films started to do).
With news of Russel Brand possibly coming in as Jack Sparrow’s ‘brother’, Pirates 4 could make up for the misteps of ‘At World’s End’. He could bring some of that great charm from ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall’ and play well off Johnny. We all know how great Johnny Depp was and personally I think the first one would have probably ended up like ‘Cutthroat Island’ if it weren’t for him. If they do another on, I’m not saying he’ll guarantee Box Office Gold, but the crowd likes him and he can make up for weak plot or dialogue. Either way this is good news and its enough to get me excited. If I had to forcast how the next one would play out, I can see Chow Yun Fat’s character becoming more prominent than Will Turner or Elizabeth (who may be vacant from the film until the end) but it should be a good time regardless. If they make it even slightly better than ‘At World’s End’ it should succeed and let them continue the franchise. Johnny likes the character so he’already said he’ll be up for more.
I think sometimes that there is a cultural desire/expectation to see things tied up in 3 movies now a days. It seems that once films get past that platau, the pressure is off and audience will see that the films have got the kinks worked out. Hell, it took Rocky 6 times to make up for the mistakes (mostly just #5) and end strong. But, I could be wrong. Pirates 4 could turn into Superman 4…Let’s pray it doesn’t.
Drink up me hearties, yo ho…