When making a film franchise, it’s common for the first installment of a series to be carefully crafted and deliver quality storylines to audiences. More often than not, when a film reaches high levels of success, it tends to be followed by one or two other projects that are lackluster in comparison to the original film.
It’s rare to find a trilogy where the third and final film of the franchise winds up being better than the original two. Typically, this happens because the first few films use up all the compelling storylines and plot points, leaving the series dry by the time the third installment rolls around. However, that doesn’t mean all trilogies end on a low note. These particular series are exceptions to the rule.
The Star Wars Prequel Trilogy – Revenge of The Sith
A lot of Star Wars fans maintain the belief that Episodes 4-6 are the greatest the franchise has to offer. And while that might be true, the prequels still manage to hold their own. Episodes 1 and 2 are decent, but Revenge of the Sith is packed with action and adventure.
Anakin finally turns to the dark side in Episode 3, and his lightsaber battle against Obi-Wan is an iconic scene that Star Wars fans will never forget. Watching Anakin transform into the most iconic Star Wars villain of all time is worthy of praise, and it certainly makes Revenge of the Sith the best film in the prequel series.
Chris Evans’ Captain America Trilogy – Captain America: Civil War
Although Captain America:The First Avenger and Captain America: The Winter Soldier were both excellent films with captivating storylines, it’s indisputable that Captain America: Civil War raised the stakes significantly. Civil War was one of the first major MCU team-up movies that brought various heroes together outside the Avengers series. Up until this point, each hero was pretty much self-contained within their own titular franchise, unless they were coming together with the other Avengers for another larger than life battle.
Since the 2016 release of Civil War, Marvel has continued to bring heroes together from all walks of life, as seen in Tom Holland’s Spider-Man movies, Thor: Ragnarok, and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Aside from bringing back everyone’s favorite heroes for a major crossover, the final battle between Steve, Tony and Bucky is still one of the most intense scenes in MCU history. It’s true that Marvel will be making a Captain America 4 movie, but now that Anthony Mackie has taken on that role, Chris Evans will no longer be the star of the series. Hopefully, Sam Wilson gets his own three-part series, and the new Cap films will be separate from the original three.
The Cinderella Trilogy – A Twist In Time
Everyone knows the classic tale of Cinderella getting swept off her feet by Prince Charming. Disney Princess movies are still some of the most famous projects the franchise has ever created, and many of the original princesses returned in sequel films; however, these are usually not as well-known. In Cinderella’s case, she was given not one, but two subsequent installments after the success of the first animated movie.
Cinderella III: A Twist in Time gives her evil stepmother a magic wand to turn back time and cast a spell on Prince Charming, making him to marry Cinderella’s evil step-sister, Anastasia, instead. Rather than going through with the deception, Anastasia comes to the realization that real love is better than power or money, and refuses to marry the Prince.
This direct-to-video movie sends a more meaningful message than the first film, illustrating that it’s never too late to do the right thing. Rather than waiting on a man to save her, Anastasia is able to change on her own, and she comes to the realization that she’d rather be single than with someone who doesn’t truly care about her, all by herself.
The Maze Runner Trilogy – The Death Cure
The Maze Runner had fans reeling in 2009 when the first book hit shelves, and the series continued to maintain a dedicated following throughout all subsequent novel releases. In 2014, The Maze Runner came to the big screen and stayed pretty true to the novels throughout the duration of the series.
The third movie received some criticism in relation to the storyline; however, The Death Cure is arguably the best movie in the entire trilogy. What makes The Death Cure stand out from The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials is the level of talent each actor brought with them to the series conclusion, especially Dylan O'Brien.
The Death Cure is much darker than the first two films, and delivered some serious heartbreak with the deaths of two major characters. The actors all did an excellent job conveying how broken, scared, and devastated their characters were during their final battle, and their performances alone set The Death Cure apart from the rest of the series.
Tom Holland’s Spider-Man Trilogy – Spider-Man: No Way Home
Perhaps the most obvious answer on the list, Spider-Man: No Way Home is by far the best movie in Tom Holland’s Spider-Man trilogy. Unifying three generations of Spider-Men, in combination with the more serious side of Holland’s Peter Parker that fans got to see, it's no wonder that this film became an instant MCU favorite.
Rumors of there being more Spider-Man films in the future have been circulating the internet since No Way Home hit theaters. Hopefully, Marvel has more planned for Tom Holland in the future.