Speaking to The Los Angeles Times about the possibility of directing a follow up to his smash hit The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan makes it clear he is not sold on the idea.
I have to ask the question,” he says, “How many good third movies in a franchise can people name?
The article doesn’t say that Nolan then leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms with a smug smile, but I can picture it. The guy makes a billion dollar-grossing movie and all of the sudden he’s the sequel expert. Just because he crafted possibly the greatest superhero movie of all time, he thinks he’s all that.
I’ve got news for Christopher Nolan. There have been plenty of great third movies. I mean, there’s…
Well. Come on. Rambo III. I mean, that wasn’t… so bad.
Okay, it was. But hey! Who gave us Mr. T? That was Rocky III, my friend! And that was…
I don’t care what anybody thinks, Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift was one helluva… I mean, it was… a…
Hey! How ’bout that Home Alone 3?! Come on… Ebert liked it.
Maybe I’m not making the strongest case here. The fact is, we really, really want Nolan to make a third Batman movie, right? So putting aside the nonsense, here’s six good “third movies” to inspire Nolan and give us the Dark Knight follow-up we so desperately crave:
6. Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
Yes, it had Ewoks. But it did wrap up the original trilogy story nicely, and even the most staunch Jedi haters can’t deny that the film has some slam bang moments. Furthermore, unlike the new trilogy, Return of the Jedi has Han Solo going for it. And let’s face it: the best thing about any Star Wars movie is Harrison Ford playing Han Solo. Think back to A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. Recall the best scenes from those movies. Tell me that Ford isn’t in all of them.
5. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
As if Indiana wasn’t bad ass enough, they decided to throw Sean “Drop Your Panties” Connery into the mix, and every scene the two are in together is somehow both hilarious and action-packed. It’s intelligent, deals with the real threat of Nazis attaining the Cup of Life, and almost every line is quotable. Plus, the movie had the classic sensibility to show four heroes riding off into the sunset to tie up the entire franchise. Did you hear that Spielberg? It TIED UP the franchise.
4. The Bourne Ultimatum
If someone were to ask me what’s the best of the Bourne movies, I’d be hard pressed to find a favorite. I consider Ultimatum to be every bit as good as its predecessors. So far, these films have been the most even in quality of any series I’ve ever seen. There’s talk that this might become a James Bond-type franchise, and if past success is an indicator, I hope it’s true.
3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
As far as I’m concerned, the first two Harry Potter films don’t deserve to be called movies. They’re just glorified PowerPoint presentations: soulless, artless, fan service crap. So I was very surprised when I was dragged to see Prisoner and enjoyed every minute of it. I believe most of the credit goes to director Alfonso Cuarón, a masterful storyteller, who later gave us the excellent Children of Men. Regarded by many Harry Potter fans as the best of the series.
2. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
The worst you can say about the conclusion to Peter Jackson’s LOTR trilogy is that it’s too long. Otherwise, it kicked ass critically, commercially, and was the darling of Oscar night. People were engaged in this whole “third movie curse” talk prior to its release as well
By far the greatest “third movie” ever made. Not only is it a great Bond film, but it’s a treasure trove of cultural touchstones. “I don’t expect you talk. I expect you to die!” From Russia With Love was the film that ensured the Bond franchise was viable, but Goldfinger was the movie that made Bond an icon.
Please, Mr. Nolan, Make a Third Batman Film
So Chris, take notes, suck it up, and make that third Batman movie. Batman fans like us will never forgive you if you don’t do it. And if you fail? Well, because we are rabid fans, we’re bound to register our disgust all across the internets.
But we believe in you, Chris. As much as we loved Tim Burton’s Batman, we saw the chinks in his armor–his narrative discontinuity, his penchant for raising style above substance. If you have any weaknesses as a filmmaker, it’s in defining spatial relationships during action scenes. There’s not a single fight scene in either Batman Begins or Dark Knight where we can tell what the hell is going on through all the fast cutting and micro-editing. It’s a small point, and the films are so good, they overcome that weakness.
That’s all beside the point anyway. Make the movie. It’ll be fine. Oh, and we guess the answer to your question, or at least our answer, is six. But we’re sure there might be more. Most directors couldn’t handle it, but you’re not most directors, and we have full faith in you to create an incredible third film.
Editor’s Note: It should be known that Mister Hand actually hates The Last Crusade, and I had to write that small portion. Feel free to send him death threats or, even better, long emails explaining in excruciating detail why The Last Crusade is one of the best films ever.