So everyone is talking about the Batman trilogy that just wrapped up. Some are even going so far as to call it the best trilogy of all-time. Is it? Let’s take a look at some other noteworthy trilogies and you can be the judge.
Batman: Alright, this one is easy. It’s the new Batman. Christian Bale seems to fill the role almost perfectly along with a great supporting cast and Christopher Nolan at the helm. It’s a story that has been around for generations and yet this new take on it seems to have captured everyone’s attention. The plot, the cinematography, everything just meshes and works. The story progresses smoothly through all three films, which should be the goal of a trilogy and the final film wraps everything up nicely.
Hannibal Lecter: Ok, this one may not be the best example. The trilogy contains Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal, and Red Dragon. The biggest flaw of this franchise is a common one among trilogies. It just isn’t a cohesive story, the final film almost seems out of place. There’s very little consistency between the movies and the two followups are really just let downs from the greatness that was Silence of the Lambs.
Star Wars: Obviously, we’re talking about the original trilogy here. There isn’t a lot that can be called negative about these films. They remain some of the most popular genre films of all time with some of the most dedicated followers, to this day. The effects were revolutionary for the time, the storyline flowed properly through the films and they were just campy enough to secure their place among the annuls of history.
The Godfather: Now this is a big one. It’s The Godfather! Could there be a more archetypal trilogy than Francis Ford Coppola’s epic creation? Well, it may be archetypal but it is not without it’s flaws. And the fun fact is Coppola knew it. The third movie is a sham that was never meant to be made. This is an example of the “financial trilogy” where the first two films made such a smash at the box office that there simply had to be a third. At least in this case, the third is actually a detractor of the series. The third film saw the departure of a primary character, Tom Hagen, and a storyline that was created solely for the purpose of making this film happen.
The Matrix Trilogy: This one is an oddball. The story was fairly cohesive, the special effects were astonishing for the time and the acting is nothing to sneeze out. The problem here is that the latter movies feel forced. It almost feels like the Wakowskis were bullied into making them and they were short on ideas. Critics generally panned the other two movies because they did not nearly live up to the hype of the original Matrix. That is the second great downfall of the trilogy, the followups need to be on-par or better than the original. The Matrix movies missed the mark on that one.
Toy Story: This is probably my pick for the best trilogy. The Toy Story movies are unique because of the amount of time that passes between films. The first came out in 95, the second in 99, and the third in 2010. With a 15 year gap between the first and final films, you would expect there to be some deviation from the style or some kind of easily overlooked continuity error, but that isn’t what you get. What you get is the same exact movie you got 15 years earlier, complete with almost all of the original voice actors. The thing this trilogy has been able to do that no other trilogy has come close to is, it grows up with you. For folks of my generation, this is a movie they saw as a teenager that came to fruition right as they became young adults. This movie just works, everything about it is near perfection, and I truly believe it sets the standard for what a trilogy should be.
What are some of your favorite trilogies?