Many film franchises have the potential to continue for multiple installments, but sometimes they overstay their welcome. Whether it’s due to a lack of fresh ideas, poor execution, or a decline in quality, these 10 film franchises should have called it quits before they reached their current state. From long-running series that have lost their spark to newer franchises that never quite lived up to their potential, we’ll explore why these film franchises should have ended sooner and what could have been done differently to preserve their legacy. So without further ado, let’s dive in and take a look at the top 10 film franchises that should have ended sooner.
Top 10 Film Franchises That Should Have Ended Sooner
“Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park was a groundbreaking film that struck the perfect balance of thought-provoking science-fiction and breathtaking spectacle. While exploring the ethical implications of cloning extinct animals, the film also delivered some of the most impressive special effects of its time. However, the sequels failed to capture the same magic, opting instead for a heavy emphasis on action and spectacle at the expense of deeper themes and character development. This trend reached its peak with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, which abandoned any attempts at depth and instead focused solely on over-the-top dinosaur chaos. In doing so, the sequels missed the point of what made the original film so special.”
FAST AND THE FURIOUS
Since its inception in 2001, the Fast & Furious franchise has relied heavily on creating over-the-top car chases and heists, often at the expense of quality storytelling. While the franchise was initially enjoyable for its outrageous action sequences, it has become clear over the course of several films that the well of ideas is running dry. Despite this, studios continue to churn out new films in the series, driven by their financial success. Though the tragic death of actor Paul Walker cast a shadow over the franchise, the filmmakers of the seventh Fast & Furious film managed to give his character, Brian, a fitting resolution and the film received critical acclaim. It seemed like the perfect opportunity for the franchise to end on a high note. However, subsequent sequels were released and failed to live up to the expectations.
The Star Wars franchise has been on a decline since the prequel trilogy, despite those films successfully building towards a clear conclusion, despite the rocky process. The idea of adding a sequel trilogy sounds exciting, given the beloved characters and rich lore, but it’s asking filmmakers to add unnecessary layers to a story that already had a satisfying ending. The prequel and original trilogies culminated with Luke bringing balance to the Force, and that was the point of the story. While Rogue One was successful in filling a gap, the franchise continues to release more spin-offs and trilogies that add unnecessary details and information to characters that do not need it. Instead of exploring new settings and characters, the franchise continues to focus on a story that ended long ago. It’s time for Star Wars to come to a close.
Indiana Jones is a cinematic legend, known for its thrilling adventure and iconic characters. However, the franchise’s later installments have been met with mixed reactions from fans and critics. The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, in particular, was criticized for its over-the-top plot and CGI-heavy action scenes, causing many to question the franchise’s continued relevance. Despite this, a fifth Indiana Jones film is currently in development. While it’s exciting to see the return of such a beloved character, it’s worth considering if the franchise should have ended on a high note with The Last Crusade. This film not only offered a fitting conclusion to Indy’s quest for the Holy Grail but also provided insight into his origins and relationship with his father, making it a fitting end to the franchise.
To many fans, James Cameron’s Terminator films are considered a near-perfect duology, and everything that came after is considered unnecessary. Together, the two films tell the story of Sarah Connor and her son John, as they fight to create a future free of the genocidal artificial intelligence SkyNet. However, the sequels contradicted this narrative by suggesting that the characters’ sacrifices were ultimately futile, and SkyNet’s domination of the future was inevitable regardless of their actions. As the franchise progressed, the fight against SkyNet began to feel like a wasted effort – which was not the case in the first two films.
Saw was a surprise hit when it was first released, but its creators, James Wan and Leigh Whannell, believed that one film was enough to tell Jigsaw’s story. However, after the passing of Saw II producer Gregg Hoffman, Wan and Whannell joined forces with director Darren Lynn Bousman to create a trilogy that would give Jigsaw, his apprentices, and his twisted games a fitting conclusion. If Saw had ended with the third installment, it would have been remembered as a respected thriller series that concluded with Jigsaw’s death. Instead, it continued with multiple sequels and spin-offs, making the already complex story even more confusing. As the years passed, Saw’s brand of graphic violence and torture became less popular, making the franchise feel increasingly out of touch.
John Carpenter’s Halloween is widely considered the origin of the slasher genre and its franchise embodies many of the flaws commonly associated with the subgenre. Michael Myers’ long-running series has struggled to stay relevant and fresh, constantly chasing trends and undergoing countless reboots, resulting in five distinct timelines. However, this was never Carpenter’s original vision. He intended for Halloween to be an anthology, with Michael’s story ending in Halloween II (1981) and the series starting anew with Halloween III: Season of the Witch directed by Tommy Lee Wallace. If Michael’s story had ended as intended, the Halloween franchise would not be as convoluted and unoriginal as it is today.
The original Tremors, directed by Ron Underwood, was a unique blend of horror and comedy that captured the imagination of audiences. However, as the franchise continued with sequels, it failed to replicate the same magic. The concept of a small town being overrun by subterranean monsters, while entertaining the first time, became formulaic and lost its charm. The sequels shifted the focus away from the diverse and quirky cast of characters in the original, instead centering on the survivalist Burt Gummer, who was a minor character in the first film. The franchise transformed into a generic action series, losing the appeal of the original’s dysfunctional characters facing off against the monstrous Graboids.
The Harry Potter movies, despite not aging perfectly, hold a significant place in nostalgia and pop culture from the 2000s. To capitalize on this legacy, Warner Brothers, JK Rowling, and David Yates created the Fantastic Beasts prequels. However, poor storytelling and filmmaking, as well as controversies surrounding the filmmakers, led to the prequels’ failure. The third installment, “The Secrets of Dumbledore,” received poor critical and financial reception, effectively ending the series.
The problem with the Die Hard franchise was even noticed by Michael Scott. John McClane, who was originally portrayed as a regular cop fighting against criminals, was transformed into an invincible action hero who performed impossible stunts in the fourth installment. This change made the protagonist less relatable and the films less credible and captivating. With Bruce Willis now retired from acting, it appears that the franchise will not continue unless Hollywood chooses to reboot it with a new lead.
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