Best Movie Trilogies
The release of The Dark Knight Rises and the consequent conclusion to Nolan’s Batman trilogy has got me thinking, “How does it stack up to other great movie trilogies? Which are its fiercest competitors?” To get an idea of what trilogies I should consider, I found Empire Magazine’s 33 Greatest Movie Trilogies as voted for by readers. The lists includes loose trilogies (Kevin Smith’s “Jersey” trilogy), ones that would go on to spawn additional films (Die Hard, Mission Impossible, Terminator, Pirates of the Caribbean), ones that include prequels (the Hannibal Lector trilogy), ones that are severely hampered by weak third films (Blade, X-Men, Spiderman, Alien), ones that I haven’t seen all of (the Evil Dead trilogy, the Mariachi Trilogy), and ones that I’m completely unversed in (Three Colors, the Dollars Trilogy, the Millennium Trilogy). As I look at this list, I’m realizing that I don’t find many of them particularly great. The Toy Story films are very, very good. I’ve never completely been on board with the Bourne films, but I really did enjoy the third installment. I’ve never seen the Mad Max movies. I don’t really care for the Scream films. The Back to the Future and Star Wars stuff have never been my cup of tea (I know, I know, feel free to send hate-mail). I really enjoy the Indiana Jones films (except for the one that should have never been made), but I don’t quite consider it in my personal top tier. For me, it would have to come down to four spectacular trilogies: Batman, The Godfather, Lord of the Rings, and The Matrix.
Some will take issue with the inclusion of the Matrix trilogy, but man, I have a blast with those films. The Matrix is my favorite, but Reloaded and Revolutions are very good as well and not nearly as incomprehensible as people make them out to be. Seating it side-by-side with The Godfather trilogy seems a little strange, but that’s going to happen when you’re comparing things that aren’t alike at all. The Godfather trilogy is weakened by a third film that fails to reach the standard of the first two but is still successful in its own right. It might have been better for it to never have existed, but since it does, you have to admit that it’s really only “bad” when compared to the first two films, which is like holding every player up to Michael Jordan. We’re talking about two of the best films ever made here so even if the third doesn’t measure up, it is still a good movie. The Lord of the Rings, of course, are the ones that most resemble one film, as they were shot back-to-back and tell a single narrative. It’s difficult to compare them to everything else, because movies that were shot years after their predecessors are not going to fit together as seamlessly as these films did. And maybe it’s too early to really estimate where Batman falls in all of this. By that I mostly mean that I would have to see the latest installment more than once before I can truly consider it in the same ranks. So I’m going to have to plead the fifth for now and avoid declaring the greatest (or my favorite) cinematic trilogy of all time. I’m tempted to say The Lord of the Rings as if it’s a no-brainer, and maybe it is. It’s so hard to get consistency like that when you’re not shooting back-to-back. But we”ll see. I want to hear from you: What are your favorite movie trilogies ever? Does Batman deserve a rightful place there?