10 movie trilogies that took a huge left turn in the third installment


Often times, all of the films in a trilogy have a lot in common. The third movie, regardless of its different story or plot, will be the same sort of thing as the first two, with the same characters, in the same world, generally telling similar stories with similar themes.

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Return of the Jedi stay in the Star wars galaxy, ending the story of Luke, Han, Leia and Darth Vader. Return of the king resume immediately after The two towers in the the Lord of the Rings saga, as the Fellowship ends its battle against Sauron. Sometimes, however, the film trilogies drastically change things for their third installment, changing the tone, setting, or even the genre.

ten Thor: Ragnarok is giving up almost everything on Thor’s first two films

Within the MCU, the first two Thor both movies are generally listed among the lowest admissions. Although the first was perfectly appreciated when it was released, it was considered inferior to Captain America: The First Avenger and particularly Iron Man among the efforts of phase one. And Thor: The Dark World is still considered one of the most disappointing movies in the entire MCU.

Therefore, Thor: Ragnarok, seeing a change of director from Kenneth Branagh to Taika Waititi, changes almost everything about the sub-series, acting as a more direct sequel to Age of Ultron than either of its predecessors. Loki and Thor are the main characters, but with Asgard left out; the presence of Hulk and Hela; and the change to a more comical tone; the film is very different – and better for it.

9 The Hangover Part III abandons the premise of the series

Stu, Doug and Alan Hangovers Part III

Part of the runaway success of The hangover is based on its simple premise: A group of friends wake up in the morning after a wild bachelorette party, to find that they’ve spent the night causing problems they have no memory of. They must understand what they have done, while facing the consequences of their debauchery.

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The Hangover Part II was criticized for being just more of the same but grosser, so the third film took an entirely different approach. Rather than a post-blackout comedy, it was more of a darker crime comedy, with the fully lucid gang being forced between a pair of criminals. This effort would also fail, gaining poor critical reception.

8 Back to the Future, Part III becomes a Western

Martyy McFly points a gun in Back to the Future Part III

The Back to Future the series has always played with the genre, but has generally stayed in the sci-fi category. Despite the traps of the time-traveling Delorean and the presence of characters like Marty and Doc, the third film in the series takes a tough turn into classic Western territory.

With the two trapped in the Wild West, Back to the future III mixes its time travel action with Native Americans, horses, cowboys, and High Noon showdowns. Although it veers in an entirely different direction, the film is still rated as excellent, with many preferring it to the second installment.

7 Alien 3 kills all supporting roles

Ripley and Dillon watch the Alien at work in Alien 3

The first three Extraterrestrial the films, although they tell an ongoing story, have loose ties in other areas, such as the genre of films swinging between horror and action. The fourth is even more distant, telling a separate story that acts as a distant and poorly received epilogue of a trilogy.

Nonetheless, even for loose movie standards, Alien 3 changes things enormously Aliens with the murder of the other survivors of the film: Hicks, Bishop and Newt. This makes the film much darker than previous already dark efforts, and cuts potential overhanging plotlines, such as Ripley’s maternal relationship with Newt, short.

6 Girl Who Kicked Hornets Nest Adds Courtroom Drama

Lisbeth Salander testifies in The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

The first two films of the Millennium trilogy- The girl with the dragon tattoo and The girl who played with fire– are largely straightforward mystery thrillers, starring journalist Mikael Blomkvist attempting to get to the bottom of a mystery aided by Lisbeth Salander as she deals with her own issues.

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All of this is certainly present in The girl who kicked the hornet’s nest, as the two attempt to erase Lisbeth’s name, but much of the film is also devoted to Lisbeth’s murder trial. These games play out like a legal drama, with shocking revelations and attempts to undermine the credibility of witnesses.

5 At World’s End Kicks World Building Up To Eleven

Pirate Lords Reunite to Reclaim Pieces of Eight in Pirates of the Caribbean to World's End

Pirates of the Caribbean has spent time as a standalone trilogy, detailing Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann’s entanglement with Captain Jack Sparrow, and the less healthy pirates that follow in its wake. The first film was a simple swashbuckling game, with no indication of any supernatural good in the world beyond a cursed pirate crew.

The following, Dead man’s chest, introduces other fantastic elements and expands the world, putting the Kraken, Davy Jones and the East India Company at the forefront while focusing the action on the main cast. At the end of the world brings world-building to the forefront, turning short stories into a global struggle between pirate courts with laws, hierarchies and kings, and their opponents from the East India Company.

4 Logan rejects the pitfalls of a typical X-Men movie

Logan learns Laura can talk to Logan in her car

Wolverine remains the only character to receive his own trilogy of solo films within the larger X Men franchise of films, although in many ways she is the main character of the series as a whole. While X-Men Origins: Wolverine and The glutton focus on him away from the X-Men, they fit into the world nonetheless, along with other mutants and references to the team and previous events.

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Logan takes a tough turn from that, placed further into the future than even Days of the future past, with mutants nearly wiped out, and all of the X-Men other than Logan and Professor X dead. Instead, it tells its own story, unloaded from other films, and that’s better for it.

3 The Exorcist III is a serial killer movie

Crucifixion scene in the Exorcist III

There are fewer examples of ignominy sequel superior to that of The Exorcist. The first film is considered an all-time classic, featuring several of the most iconic scenes in cinema. The sequels are ignored and despised by most fans, though opinion is being heard on The Exorcist III.

The second film, while also incongruous with the first, focuses on Regan MacNeil as she recovers from her possession. The third strangely departs from the show’s spiritual and religious horror with a slasher-esque plot focused on a serial killer. While the killer is demon possessed, he is still a long way from a logical conclusion to the story.

2 The end of the world lives up to its title

Gary King looks around the alien invasion in The World's End

The Cornetto trilogy is already a trilogy that is not tied together by a story, but rather by actors, director, themes, Easter eggs and recurring jokes. However, Shawn of the dead and Warm down to feel closer, while the end of the world takes a hard pivot far into reach.

Warm down and Shawn of the dead deal with smaller catastrophes – a series of murders in a small village and a one-day zombie apocalypse – while the end of the world takes things on a global scale with an alien invasion of all of Earth. At its peak, the world is effectively over, according to the title, sending humanity back to the Dark Ages, something unthinkable in previous films.

1 Army of Darkness abandons horror to become an action comedy

Ash Williams with his boomstick in front of knights in Army of the Dead

Devilish death is a strange and very popular trilogy. The first film tells a largely stand-alone story, while the second acts as a sort of remake of the first, largely telling the same story and leading to the third entry, Army of Darkness.

What unifies the first two, aside from their similar storylines, is their tone, a strange mixture of action, horror and comedy, not afraid to force the viewer to see scares but happy to put some jokes. Army of Darkness becomes an action comedy without horror. Despite that, it’s arguably the most popular of the trilogy, sharing top honors with Evil Dead 2.

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