Why trilogies are a bad thing for comic book movies

I'm going to discuss why directors of CBM's shouldn't set up their films for just three movies.

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By DocHorrible - 10/9/2012
I think some directors are too constrained by the idea of wrapping up a super hero's arch within three movies. These heroes have decades of stories to tell, and three movies do not do them justice. I think, for some comic book movies, they should have expanded the series to at least four films.

SPOILERS: If you haven't seen either The Dark Knight Rises or Spider-Man 3, though I can't imagine anybody not seeing them by this point, I warn you this is spoiler-filled.

In this article, I'm going to talk about two movies that could have been greatly improved, had they had the freedom of another film. The two films are The Dark Knight Rises and Spider-Man 3.

The Dark Knight Rises has been seen as a superior ending to Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy, finishing on a higher note than Raimi's Spider-Man series.

However, I think both of these films should have been expanded into two parts, much like the final Harry Potter film, and what The Hobbit initially was supposed to be.

The Dark Knight Rises

While I thoroughly enjoyed The Dark Knight Rises, there were quite a few areas I feel that could have been expanded on.

To start off with, I don't like that Bruce Wayne had to go on the same journey twice throughout the film. When The Dark Knight Rises opens, Bruce Wayne is a recluse, hiding behind his cane from his injuries. With the arrival of Bane, he decides to put his body back into shape to take on this new threat.



Great, right? Perfect way to bring Bruce Wayne and Batman back to Gotham. However, Christopher Nolan has him do this same character journey twice. He is able to come back as Batman, much in the same fashion he first appeared in Batman Begins, but Bane breaks his back, and condemns him to a prison, broken once again.



If The Dark Knight Rises had been broken into two films, we could have seen Bruce Wayne return as Batman to take on Bane in the first film. He would have stilled had the same conflicts with Alfred, and still have the reunion with Gordon.

The first film could have ended with Bane breaking Batman's back, and seeing that, despite his best efforts, he was back to square one.



This would have also helped the time line in The Dark Knight Rises. We are told that the bomb will explode in about 5 or 6 months, and in the blink of an eye, Nolan speeds time up to just hours before the bomb explodes. The break in between movies could have given the audience time to breathe and realize just how long Gotham had been under siege.

This would have also helped to give characters like John Blake to grow, and given him the freedom to find out Batman's true identity, instead of the somewhat cop out excuse of "just knowing."

Through two films for The Dark Knight Rises, they could have saved the "big reveal" of Miranda Tate as Talia until the second movie, giving the audience more time to feel connected with her.



Like I said, I really enjoyed The Dark Knight Rises, but felt some of the areas, as I've described, were too rushed.

Spider-Man 3

This section isn't going to bash Venom in the movie, or "emo-Peter," but like The Dark Knight Rises, it suffered from a character overload that could have been more developed through a Spider-Man 3, Part I and Spider-Man 3, Part II. I mean, the movie had enough villains for two movies: Sandman, New Goblin, Venom, and Black Suited Spider-Man (who I consider a villain).

To start out with, I think the biggest villain in Part I would have been Sandman. He was constantly in the film, but seemed to take a backseat to other villains like Harry and Venom. Sam Raimi could have kept much of the same ideas from Spider-Man 3 in Part I. I would have had Spider-Man in the black suit for much of the film, having to overcome that obstacle, while battling Sandman. The ending battle could have been the giant sand creature Sandman became, without taking too much from the the film.



As for the handling of Venom and Harry, I think they could have been saved for Part II. I wouldn't have given Harry amnesia, but instead had him masterminding his own plan during Part I. The final time Spidey and Harry meet could have been similar to Spider-Man 3 with black suited Spider-Man whipping a pumpkin bomb near Harry's face.



The final few scenes would have been Spider-Man shedding the symbiote in the church, and having Eddie Brock taken into the symbiote. Then the regular suited Spider-Man could battle Sandman, and the second movie would deal with the ramifications of Spider-Man when he was under the control of the symbiote.



This way, both Venom and Harry could have had bigger roles, rather than just a few quick scenes. The second part would have dealt with Peter getting M.J. back, as well as convincing Harry he didn't kill his father (and maybe come up with something other than that god-awful scene with the butler confessing).

I think films like Thor and Captain America realize they cannot just have three films, hence having subhead titles (The Dark World and The Winter Soldier). This way, the films can continue for a while, past the trilogy stages.

I know this was a long article, so if you have any questions, comments, criticisms, please sound off below, and thanks for reading!!
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5 Comments
Tainted87 - 10/9/2012, 5:28 PM
I am NOT going to talk about TDKR, I promise you, I won't.
Spider-man 3 on the other hand, will get my attention.

People LOVE to use it as "the classic example" (what the hell, it was made only 5 years ago?) of a movie crammed with too many characters, or more specifically, too many villains. Let's list off all of the main characters who have more than a few words of dialogue.
1) Peter Parker/Spider-man
2) Mary Jane Watson
3) Harry Osborn*
4) Aunt May
5) Uncle Ben (Flashback)
6) Flint Marko/Sandman*
7) Gwen Stacy
8) Captain George Stacy
9) Eddie Brock/Venom*
10) Doctor Curt Connors
11) J. Jonah Jameson
12) Robbie Robertson
13) Betty Brant
14) Hoffman (because)
15) Mr Ditkovitch
16) Ursula

As opposed to THE DARK KNIGHT
1) Bruce Wayne/Batman
2) Joker*
3) Harvey Dent/Two-Face*
4) The Chechen*
5) Sal Maroni*
6) Rachel Dawes
7) Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow*
8) Commissioner Jim Gordon
9) Commissioner Gillian Loeb
10) Detective Anna Ramirez
11) Lucious Fox
12) Coleman Reese
13) Lau*
14) Mayor Anthony Garcia
15) Barbara Gordon
16) James Gordon Jr
----

But enough about that. The big problem with Spider-man 3 (and it wasn't "emo Peter" or "dancing Peter") was that it was written into FOUR acts with characters who are viewed unimportant enough to be developed... as the new villains.

First, things are looking up for Peter, and he wants to propose to Mary Jane, but Harry ambushes him. Harry winds up in the hospital, looses his memory, and is suddenly all buddy buddy. Peter thinks all his problems are solved.
Second, after Mary Jane's career falls flat, Peter grows ever distant in an attempt to hunt his uncle's "killer" - Sandman. Jameson, always a nut, promises a promotion to the photographer who can catch Spider-man with his hands dirty (hah, get it?). An alien symbiote latches onto Peter in his sleep, and fuels his aggression. Peter "kills" Sandman by flooding him in the sewers.
Third, Peter makes a mess of a planned proposal when Gwen interrupts their dinner, making Mary Jane feel like she's not a big part of his life. She goes to see Harry at his place, where familiarity brings his memories flooding back. Harry threatens to kill Peter if Mary Jane doesn't break it off with him, and she complies. When Peter finds out Harry had something to do with it, he beats Harry to an inch of his life before scarring him with a pumpkin bomb. In some attempt to start over, Peter ruins Eddie's career and takes to dating Gwen Stacy. One date takes them to a restaurant where Mary Jane is performing, and after Peter gets into a fight and accidentally hits her, he realizes how far gone he's become.
Fourth, Peter goes to a church tower to use its bell to remove the alien costume. Eddie, praying to God for revenge, is granted the symbiote and becomes Venom. He makes a deal with Sandman to trap Spider-man, and kidnaps Mary Jane to use as bait. Peter tries to appeal to Harry for help, but is denied, although he does later show up. In the showdown, Harry is killed by Venom, while Brock is killed by a pumpkin bomb. Watching the three broken friends reunite, Sandman apologizes to Peter for accidentally killing his uncle, and after he is granted forgiveness, he fades away.

Of course, you already knew that, but I'm just throwing it out there. Eddie only pops up in the movie when it is convenient, likewise with Marko. If it had been written differently, the same characters could have worked fine together, just with different circumstances provided.

Why have I gone to the trouble to highlight that point? Because Spider-man 3 actually left it open for another sequel to follow, and could have reasonably broken the trilogy curse.
EdgyOutsider - 10/9/2012, 6:03 PM
Spider-Man 3 could've been better but it was best left as a trilogy. The Dark Knight films were meant to be a trilogy. You didn't go into any sort of detail on why trilogies are a bad thing for comicbook movies. You just named two end films and their flaws and how they could've been improved on. You didn't explain why every cbm should go beyond a trilogy.

I for one think trilogies are best for cbm's to avoid getting stale and just overall bad. Not to mention people getting sick of the films. We comicbook fans wouldn't, but casual movie audiences would.
Tainted87 - 10/9/2012, 7:29 PM
Because no one gets tired of reboots...
calin88 - 10/10/2012, 4:28 AM
I prefer a 3 1/2 - 4 hour movie then waiting another year to see it end
EdgyOutsider - 10/11/2012, 8:19 PM
I'm not a fan of the idea of rebooting something, still not a fan of the idea of a Spider-Man reboot (although it was a very good movie in my opinion, not the best CBM though) but I'd rather see a new version of something rather than running the franchise into the ground.

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