Lord of the rings cast

7 Best Third Movies in a Trilogy

War for the Planet of the Apes came out in Australia last week and it just might be the best of the new Apes trilogy. You can check out our review here. It got me thinking about movie trilogies, namely the third entries and how many of them are actually any good. So here are 7 of the best third movies in trilogies, in no particular order.

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

The perfect third movie for what I’d consider to be possibly the best trilogy in the last 20 years, Return of the King hits every beat it needs to, and hits it well. Unlike another third movie helmed by Peter Jackson, Return of the King is the culmination of everything set up in the previous two movies. The ending, while long, is perfectly earned and one that gives closure to each and every character we’ve grown to love over the trilogy. Plus the Ride of the Rohirrim  sequence is the best thing. Ever. 

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

This was my first Indiana Jones movie as a kid and as an adult it is still my favourite. Not only is Harrison Ford still awesome as Indy, but bringing in Sean Connery as his father is fantastic. The pair work so well together and you completely buy them as a father/son duo. Not to mention seeing River Phoenix in the opening train sequence is all kinds of awesome.

The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

The original Bourne trilogy was one where each installment was better than the last, culminating in UltimatumMatt Damon shines as the stoic Jason Bourne, bringing a subtlety to the character that goes beyond the typical “amnesiac with a past” trope. Director Paul Greengrass expertly manages to craft exciting action sequences with his rapid-style editing and amazingly you don’t get lost in the quick cuts. The fight between Bourne and Desh is still one of the best hand-to-hand combat scenes of all time.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

I really love the Harry Potter novels. I really don’t love the film series. They’re good enough movies but the latter movies in the series were poorly adapted shells of their novel counterparts. So when I say that Prisoner of Azkaban is a great movie, that should carry a little bit of weight to it. Seeing the trio of Harry, Ron and Hermione really start to grow up and the series start to take a darker tone sets the stage for what is to come. Plus this one has David Thewlis as Lupin, the best character in the series. You can fight me on this.

Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983)

While it’s no Star Wars or Empire Strikes BackReturn of the Jedi is still a fantastic conclusion to the original Star Wars trilogy. It’s a little choppy in the storytelling and sure, you might not like the Ewoks, but it is still a complete story in its own right, as well as concluding the stories of Luke, Vader, Han and Leia (well, for a while). ROTJ is still my favourite third act of a Star Wars film – with the concurrent battles on Endor, the Death Star and in space. 

Logan (2017)

The most recent entry on this list, sometimes I forget that there is actually a trilogy of Wolverine films. While X-Men Origins: Wolverine is complete ass and The Wolverine is half a good movie, Logan is the one that takes the cake. A brutal, heart-breaking pseudo-western that acts as a great send-off for Hugh Jackman’s Logan and introduction to Dafne Keen’s X-23 (please keep her on Fox Studios). This film is certainly not just one of the best superhero movies of the year, but one of the best movies of the year. It isn’t perfect, but it’s damn close and a hell of a lot better than the rest of the trilogy.

The World’s End

The Cornetto Trilogy – Shaun of the DeadHot Fuzz and The World’s End is one of the funniest trilogies of modern times. The World’s End is a hilarious pub crawl, anchored by regulars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Writer and director Edgar Wright is one of the more unique storytellers working today, and The World’s End is certainly up there in its uniqueness. Never did I think five drunk guys fighting androids in a pub bathroom would be as entertaining or as funny as this. 

What’s your favourite third film in a trilogy or franchise? What’d you think of our list? Is there any we missed? Sound off in the comments and on our Facebook page to let us know.