7 film franchises that stuck the landing – and 8 that definitely didn’t

    “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”


    Ending a franchise places high pressure on creators to satisfy fans and resolve storylines.Some high-grossing films like “The Rise of Skywalker” failed to meet fan expectations.But “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2” killed it.

    When trying to end a franchise on a successful note, the pressure is on.

    Fans will almost always be unsatisfied unless every question is answered or if their favorite characters don’t end up in a good place by the end of the story.

    For every quality franchise-capper, there’s one that didn’t quite stick the landing with fans — even ones that make $1 billion at the box office, like “Jurassic World Dominion” or “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.”

    Here are some franchises that we think aced the ending … and some that could’ve used a little more work.

    Warning: This list contains spoilers for some of these franchises.

    “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2″ gave us the climactic showdown we’d been waiting for for 10 years.”Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.”

    Warner Bros.

    From the moment we first laid eyes on 11-year-old Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter in 2001’s “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” we knew it would be hard to eventually say goodbye.

    Ten years and seven movies later, the time came to see Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Co.’s final adventure as they battled the evil Lord Voldemort.

    While some book fans weren’t too pleased with some of the changes made from the books to the movies, it’s hard to deny the power of seeing Harry finally figure out Voldemort’s master plan and beat him, and then to see that our core trio has made it into adulthood and have become parents.

    For ’80s and ’90s kids, these characters grew up with them, and saying farewell was difficult but satisfying.

    “Before Midnight” capped off the best — and perhaps only — romance trilogy of all time.”Before Midnight.”

    Sony Pictures Classics

    Director Richard Linklater’s “Before” trilogy follows Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Céline (Julie Delpy), two strangers who met in Vienna in 1995 in “Before Sunrise.” They make plans to meet up in six months, but it’s revealed nine years later in “Before Sunset” that the reunion didn’t happen.

    Instead, in 2004, Céline attends a reading of Jesse’s novel he wrote about their time together. While the film does end with Jesse missing his plane, their relationship is left romantically ambiguous.

    That is, until 2013’s “Before Midnight,” which catches up with the couple another nine years later, when it’s revealed they’ve gotten married and had twin girls.

    It’s the first time viewers really got to see what Jesse and Céline are like together — it’s not perfect, but that’s what makes it so real and powerful.

    If “Before Sunset” is the last we see of these two — and it seems like it is because the next nine-year interval would have been 2022 — we’re happy with the time we spent with them.

    “The Dark Knight Rises” wasn’t perfect, but it was nice to see Bruce Wayne happy for once.”The Dark Knight Rises.”

    Warner Bros.

    Nothing was going to live up to “The Dark Knight,” especially after Heath Ledger’s death in 2008.

    However, Tom Hardy did turn in an iconic performance in “The Dark Knight Rises” as Bane, a psychopathic anarchist determined to blow Gotham to smithereens. In 2012, it was hard to go anywhere without hearing someone doing their best Bane impression.

    The plot of this movie doesn’t really make any sense, and the twist involving Miranda Tate’s true identity is underwhelming, but it’s almost impossible for any Christopher Nolan movie to be bad.

    The ending, which sees Bruce fake his death, leave his Bat possessions to John Blake (full name Robin John Blake), and then take a European vacation with Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman, is just sweet. Try to watch the moment when Alfred sees Bruce is actually alive and well at an Italian café without getting emotional.

    “War for the Planet of the Apes” concluded Caesar’s three-film arc beautifully, if not bittersweetly.”War for the Planet of the Apes.”


    We’ve decided that “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” (2011), “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” (2014), and “War for the Planet of the Apes” (2017) are their own little franchise, since they’re not connected to the original ’60s franchise, and the recent “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” takes place hundreds of years in the future.

    If you tune in to these three films, you’ll see the complete collapse of human society coinciding with the rise of Caesar, a super-intelligent ape played masterfully by Andy Serkis. Caesar is a better leader than almost anyone, real or fictional, as he’s wise, open-minded, and dedicated to keeping his family safe.

    Watching him evolve over these three movies is a gift, and while he doesn’t have what most might call a traditionally happy ending, he does end the series at peace.

    “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” is epic.”The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.”

    New Line Cinema

    “The Return of the King,” released in 2003, won a record-breaking 11 Academy Awards upon its release: best picture, director, adapted screenplay, art direction, costume design, film editing, makeup, original score, original song, sound mixing, and visual effects.

    Even the Academy agreed that the power of this film, which concluded the long and arduous journey of Frodo and Sam to destroy the ring at Mordor, cannot be denied.

    It doesn’t matter that this movie has at least three separate endings; we’ll gladly take them all to spend more time with Frodo, Sam, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Gandalf … the list goes on.

    “Blade Runner 2049″ is one of the best sci-fi movies of the 21st century.”Blade Runner 2049.”

    YouTube/Warner Bros.

    The ending of the original 1982 “Blade Runner” has been debated since it was released: Was Deckard, played by Harrison Ford, a replicant (a realistic android) or not?

    You might think that “Blade Runner 2049,” released in 2017 would answer that pressing question. And you’d be wrong.

    Instead, “Blade Runner 2049” focuses on a new blade runner, K (Ryan Gosling), who is revealed to be a replicant almost immediately. He begins to question his own reality and memories, and goes on a mission to find the long-missing Deckard to get answers.

    While this movie doesn’t answer every question from the original, the story is compelling, the visuals are stunning, and it’s always a treat to see Ford on screen.

    “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2″ ended with an epilogue showing us Katniss and Peeta would be OK.”The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2.”


    After the success of the two-part “Harry Potter” finale, many other YA adaptations tried the same move, including “The Hunger Games,” which split the final book, “Mockingjay,” into two films.

    The second film, released in 2015, finally saw a full-on civil war break out in the dystopian country of Panem. Our heroine Katniss, played by Jennifer Lawrence, confronted her nemesis President Snow, played by the late great Donald Sutherland, and also learned that not everyone on the side of the rebellion was good, either.

    The final confrontation, in which Katniss chooses whether to execute Snow or his replacement, President Coin (Julianne Moore), is one of the most tense scenes in the entire franchise.

    Just like in the book, the film ends with an epilogue showing that Katniss and Peeta, while traumatized, will keep living in spite of the tragedies around them.

    On the other hand, we’ll never know what happens to Tris because “Allegiant” was never supposed to be the final film in the “Divergent” series.”Allegiant.”


    The “Divergent” trilogy is perhaps one of the worst YA adaptations of all time, and it’s not only because it wasn’t supposed to just be a trilogy.

    “Divergent” is based on the book series of the same name, and the movie adaptation was a clear move to capitalize on the success of another dystopian franchise, “The Hunger Games.”

    But the mythology is confusing, the characters aren’t likable, and the enemy isn’t compelling.

    The last film, 2016’s “Allegiant,” did so poorly at the box office — it made $179 million on a $110 budget, according to Deadline — that the final film was ultimately canceled.

    That was an unfortunate decision for fans since the film ends on a cliffhanger.

    The less we think about “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” the better.”Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.”


    What else is there to say about “Rise of Skywalker,” which follows up the great “Last Jedi” by dismantling almost every plot point it made?

    After taking an encouraging step into the future, “The Rise of Skywalker” turns the franchise’s focus back into the past, involving Palpatine, who somehow returned after his death in “Return of the Jedi.”

    The discourse around “Star Wars” has become toxic in the 21st century, and we’re ready for a new series that ditches the Skywalkers, the Solos, and the Palpatines for good.

    You could call “Dark Phoenix” or “The New Mutants” the last 21st Century Fox “X-Men” movie. Neither one was great.”Dark Phoenix.”


    Disney acquired 21st Century Fox in 2019, finally getting ownership of the X-Men and the Fantastic Four so they could be integrated into the MCU.

    But before that could happen, the final Fox “X-Men” movies had to be released. First up, the distressing “Dark Phoenix,” which is the second ill-fated attempt to adapt the Phoenix Saga to the big screen from the comics.

    Fans didn’t get enough time with Sophie Turner’s Jean Grey to care about her descent into madness, nor did they care about Tye Sheridan’s Cyclops’ attempts to help her.

    The real bright spot of these movies was the relationship between James McAvoy’s Professor X and Michael Fassbender’s Magneto — and Magneto doesn’t even enter this film until the one-hour mark. It’s disappointing that this was our farewell to this version of these characters.

    But technically, the last “X-Men” film released by Fox was 2020’s “New Mutants,” which was delayed time and time again and finally dumped during the pandemic. However, it’s also disappointing — it doesn’t have anything to do with our established characters.

    Why did they decide to conclude the “Jurassic World” trilogy with a film that barely has any dinosaurs in it?”Jurassic World: Dominion.”


    The final “Jurassic World” movie (for now) was “Jurassic World Dominion,” which was released in 2022.

    It brought back legacy characters Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), and Alan Grant (Sam Neill), which was a relief since the characters played by Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard were so bland, we forgot their names immediately after seeing the movie.

    There are dinosaurs in this movie, but not many. Instead, the main antagonist of this movie is a swarm of giant locusts. Yes, locusts.

    According to Deadline, there’s going to be another “Jurassic World” movie starring Scarlett Johansson, Jonathan Bailey, Rupert Friend, and Mahershala Ali, so hopefully it’s a better story than this was.

    The last-ever DCEU movie was “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom,” which makes us sad.Jason Momoa in “Aquaman 2.”

    Christian Black/DC Comics

    The DCEU (the DC Extended Universe) was just never able to compete with the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe). There were 15 films in the DCEU, and none of them (except maybe “Wonder Woman”) came close to the level of quality over at Marvel.

    That’s why Warner Bros. tapped James Gunn and Peter Safran to restart the entire thing with the DCU (DC Universe), which will launch in 2025 with “Superman.”

    That means that the last DCEU movie we ever got was 2023’s “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom,” which is perfectly fine, but does nothing to wrap up the many loose ends of the DCEU.

    “Spider-Man 3″ set us up perfectly for a fourth movie, but it wasn’t meant to be.”Spider-Man 3.”

    Columbia Pictures

    Spider-Man 3,” released in 2007, ends with Peter and MJ tentatively getting back together while mourning the death of their mutual friend Harry Osborn. We were invested in what was next for Peter and MJ as they reckoned with what had happened over the course of the previous film.

    Also, Dr. Curt Connors was a character in two of these movies without ever turning into his villainous comic counterpart, the Lizard. We’re still waiting for that payoff.

    We got some closure when Tobey Maguire’s version of Peter appeared in the 2022 film “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” but we want more.

    The last time we’ll see Captain Jack Sparrow is most likely “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” which is bleak.”Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.”

    Walt Disney Studios

    We’d argue that “Pirates of the Caribbean” should’ve ended after the third film, “At World’s End,” in 2007.

    The next film, “On Stranger Tides,” ditched most of the familiar characters, which is a problem — Jack is better when he’s a zany side character doing his own thing, while characters like Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann have their own arcs and carry the emotional weight of the story.

    Dead Men Tell No Tales,” released in 2017, learned from that lesson by bringing back Captain Barbossa and introducing Henry (the son of Will and Elizabeth) and his love interest, Carina.

    Unfortunately, neither Henry nor Carina is that compelling, and Depp seems like he’s operating on autopilot in his fifth outing as Captain Jack.

    According to Entertainment Weekly, producer Jerry Bruckheimer is still hopeful that a sixth movie starring Depp will be made, in addition to a female-focused reboot starring Margot Robbie.

    We should’ve let the Connor family rest after “Terminator 2: Judgment Day.” Instead, we got four more bad films, ending with “Terminator: Dark Fate.””Terminator: Dark Fate”


    “Terminator” and “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” both directed by James Cameron, are two of the best action movies of all time.

    “Judgment Day” also ends on a definitive note, with our heroes preventing the evil computer system known as Skynet from ever being invented.

    Of course, Hollywood couldn’t let it end there. “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” made it clear that none of what happened in “Judgment Day” mattered — the machines were still coming.

    “Terminator Salvation” is sort of a prequel, but also semi-ignores everything about the other movies. And “Terminator Genisys” fully ignores all the events of the previous films and is yet another reboot.

    Finally, after the poor performances and receptions of these sequels, we arrive at 2019’s “Terminator: Dark Fate,” which yet again ignores everything that happened after “Judgment Day” and reunites stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton.

    “Dark Fate” is certainly better than the three previous films, but it was ultimately unnecessary and, according to Screen Rant, was a huge box-office bomb.

    Our opinion is that this franchise needs to be over.

    Read the original article on Business Insider


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