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The Superhero Curse of Three.

posted by Jonathan Mayne (Wednesday, May 16, 2012)

2007 was a year I'll always remember with fond memory.  Right in the midst of that post graduate buzz that only a late 20 something could appreciate I was waiting for life to begin.  Bruce Springsteen was back with The E Street Band, The Killers' music was playing in dingy underground clubs and still living in our post graduate house share regular weekend parties were a given.  For a consumer of geek culture it was no bad thing either.  Starting the year with Marvel Civil War and ending it with Valve's Orange Box could only have been a good thing.  So what of the cinemas?  All other releases were vastly over shadowed by one particular spring blockbuster, and it was on May 4th that my friends and I went to see the movie we'd all been so eagerly waiting for.

The trailers had been more than enough to wet my appetite and the long wait hadn't helped.  So factoring in the rush there'd be to see it, my friends and I got our tickets ahead of time, took our seats and sat there waiting to be entertained.  Little did I realise that during the next 139 minutes of what was otherwise a great year, I'd be forced to watch most of what I'd held dear about my teenage years be torn apart in front of me.  Characters that I'd invested deacads of my life getting to know would be protrayed as the most idiotic and dislikable people imaginable.  Not to mention the fact that a death that had literally moved me to tears some 17 years beforehand, this time would have me shaking my head and saying "Ah who cares?  He was an ass anyway."  Right as the end credits started to roll and we began to leave, one of my friends asked if any of us felt like hanging around for a potential post credits scene.  But having already been subjected to about as much as I could take I answered him in the most conscise manner I could possibly manage.  "I don't f**king care."  For the next half hour I barely spoke.

For those of you that didn't find this experience familiar, the movie in question was Spider-Man 3, and this was just one in a long line of superhero movies that had me asking myself that same question I'd been asking for what felt like most of my life.  What is it with the third installment of superhero movies?  For as long as I can remember they've never gone well.  Let's remind ourselves shall we?

  • Superman 3 - It's fair to say that I've never really rated Superman as a character.  To me he's always been a throwback to that 1940's notion of a superhero that fights Nazis and can't be defeated.  So never having had much of a vested interest in the mythology, what can I tell you?  I liked it.  Richard Pryor made just about any 1980's movie entertaining to me and as a kid that scene at the end used to scare the hell out of me.  Seems nobody shared the enthusiasm of my 1980's self.
  • Superman Returns - In fact people hated Superman 3 so much they had a second attempt at it!  This time Bryan Singer would direct his version of how he felt a third Superman movie should have been.  So surely they'd have learned from mistakes made the first time wouldn't they?  Well it seems not.  Guess I'd be the only one liking that one too.  What can I say?  I like Bryan Singer.  Plus he'd already brought us two great X-Men movies.  Oh!  About that.
  • X-Men 3 - "Good but not great" seemed to be the opinion shared by most people on this one.  And on that occasion I would have to agree.  X-Men 3 showed a lot of promise, in large part thanks to a great cast and Vinnie Jones.  But sadly this one wasn't to be either.  The story was rushed and the plot disjointed, but given the logistical nightmare that the project had been from day one, it's a miracle it made it out the door at all!
  • Batman Forever - As you all know, of late I've been doing my best to avoid controversy here at Geek Cultural.  So allow me to put this as tactfully as I possibly can.  All four Batman movies suck!  Don't believe me?  Check out a director named Christopher Nolan.  I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
  • Spider-Man 3 - If you haven't already, don't.  Just don't.

Which brings us to now.  So my question to all of you lovely cultural geeks out there is this.  Where does this trend stop?  As we're approaching the next wave of third installments which if any do you think will be the first to break this pattern?  Will Dark Knight Rises be everything we're hoping for or have the Nolan movies ran their course.  Will Iron Man 3 be the only third installment worthy of mention or will Marvel do it again?  Have your say in the comments section.



posted by Anonymous shezcrafti (16 May 2012 21:30)  

You can add Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III to this list.

posted by Blogger Jonathan Mayne (16 May 2012 21:35)  

Oh I can can't I? Seems they just keep coming! Well done you for spotting one I missed.

posted by Blogger CT (11 August 2012 13:26)  

Blade Trinity is another to add to the list. A decent first film, an excellent second one, and then an absolute debacle of a third one.

posted by Blogger Jonathan Mayne (11 August 2012 13:33)  

Oh look at that. They just keep coming! Thanks a lot for the comment CT. Although retrospectively this post had a happy ending after Dark Knight Rises was really good. So all's well that ends well. :-) Thanks again for the comment.

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