Sadly, not every film can be Mission Impossible 6.
Surely this is an unspoken sentence in the history of the English language, but it’s true. We should all learn from Tom Cruise’s latest outing. MI:6 does what most sequels don’t do, it did good. It’s not the best film of this year (Three Billboards, duh), but it is probably the best movie sequel since 22 Jump Street. MI:6 was widely accessible to people who haven’t seen any film in the franchise before, but it is simultaneously rewarding to committed fans. It was just an all-around great time for everyone. But sadly, this cannot be a review of MI:6; writing about enjoyable movie experiences is unfortunately not my style, so let’s get real.
Realistically, movie sequels fall into four categories:
1. Great (MI:6, 22 Jump Street, Paddington 2)
2. Good (The Conjuring 2, Deadpool 2, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle)
3. Fine (The Incredibles 2 –don’t hate me, Alien Covenant, JigSAW)
4. BAD (I’m sure you can fill this one in yourself)
The thing that most sequels suffer from is the lack of memorability. Unless sequels change things up to keep it fresh, they end up moulding into one and franchises become indistinguishable. Can you remember what happened in Saw IV? Probably exactly what happened in Saw I-III, except much, much worse. But I won’t be looking at those, even those are too good for me. I will be looking at those sequels that are not necessarily terrible, but those that are so unmemorable you totally forgot they existed.
Yes, Pitch Perfect 3 exists. Yes, Kingsman 2 came out less than a year ago. And yes, the widely anticipated criticised all-female reboot of Ghostbusters DID end up getting released, how could we forget so soon? So obviously, I sat down one afternoon and watched them all back-to-back in hope to prove society wrong. Society has tried to forget these movies, but I am here to see if they have been wrongfully cast aside. I set out to see if these sequels should have been forgotten or if they should be consumed IMMEDIATELY.
Spoiler alert: I shouldn’t have gotten my hopes up.
Film One: Ghostbusters (2016)
The film originally had massive backlash on the internet for being an all-female reboot of a classic 80’s film, but I am here to tell you that is not the reason the film got bad reviews when it was released. It got bad reviews because it is genuinely bad. I opted for the extended edition at a lengthy 2 hours and 13 minutes, and I wanted to turn it off within the first seven. The opening scene to the original Ghostbusters is iconic, but sadly, this film’s opening scene does NOT recapture that magic, however it does get points for casting Zack Woods (from Silicon Valley and The Office ‘fame’). Talking about casting choices, the main cast have zero chemistry, and all look incredibly bored throughout. After watching enough American Horror Story, Kristin Wiig just reminds me of a less talented Sarah Paulson, and Melissa McCarthy just reminds me of someone that I do not find funny. The other two leads are fine but less recognisable, unless you have kept up with modern-day Saturday Night Live which I hope for your sake that you have not. It’s ironic that in a female reboot Chris Hemsworth’s character is undeniably the highlight, the shining light in an otherwise dull, dumb movie. The story is not noteworthy in the slightest and for a comedy, basically every joke fails. Some people may like the slapstick, deadpan and potentially unintentional cringe style of comedy, but personally, this is not my style of comedy because I prefer comedy that is funny. I wish I could tell you, “booyah - emphasis on the boo” was not an actual joke in this movie, but it was, and I had to endure it.
Verdict: BAD. It wasn’t as bad as society expected, and it didn’t warrant the initial hate it received, but it was still pretty terrible and I would not recommend it to anyone. The best thing to come out of it was the joke Ricky Gervais made about it at the 2016 Golden Globes.
Film Two: Kingsman 2: The Secret Service (2017)
I would like to preface this by saying I had seen before, and from remembrance, I thought it was fine. I thought the action was cool and the Game of Thrones cowboy guy was by far the best part. Upon rewatch, I can confirm this movie is long and dumb, but enjoyable. Basically, the Kingsman Spy Service gets destroyed and the survivors must side with the American equivalent (Statesman, obviously) to take down a drug cartel leader. It is unbelievably over the top but without the self-aware nature of the original, which is fine if you go in expecting just that. But, it does something good sequels should do, it builds upon the world it created in the first one. Instead of rehashing the first film, it takes that world into account and adds upon it which makes this sequel feels fresh and unique. Coming straight off watching Ghostbusters however, watching this felt very long and I was fighting the urge to go on my phone from very early on. Just as I remembered, Whiskey (cowboy GOT man) is the highlight. He spins his revolver around on his finger and kills everyone around him in a 360 degrees radius. Awesome. Channing Tatum does absolutely nothing for noone, and I much preferred Colin Firth in Mamma Mia 2, which is saying something. Elton John is also here for some reason, but he is incredible, so if you want to see him in fight sequences and being completely out of character, this movie is for you. Or you could just watch the isolated fight scenes on YouTube for free, that’ll probably be more satisfying and save you two-and-a-half hours of your life.
Verdict: Good. It may even be better than the first one. Despite the overly long runtime with slightly uneven pacing and a very unsubtle message on drugs, you are likely to enjoy this flashy over-the-top spy film. Also, a Cowboy played by Jeff Bridges spits out a shot of tequila into a bucket like it was tobacco and it is as stupid and amazing as it sounds.
Film Three: Pitch Perfect 3 (2017)
This was the movie I was most excited to watch out of the three, by far. Like every sane person, I loved the first Pitch Perfect and absolutely hated Pitch Perfect 2. My friend told me that PP2 was probably better than PP3, but, I was hopeful. It might be bad, but it couldn’t be Pitch Perfect 2 bad, could it? And thankfully, the answer is no, it wasn’t that bad. Unlike Ghostbusters and Kingsman, Pitch Perfect 3 felt rushed and fast-paced (despite nothing really happening). There was practically no storyline, but when the plot that does exist revolves around trying to prove your artistic worth to DJ Khaled, you know what you’re getting into. The cast’s chemistry is 100 per cent the highlight and arguably the reason to watch it. I absolutely love Anna Kendrick, her memoir is sitting on my bedside table in fact, so more of her doing her thing isn’t a bad thing. Ruby Rose also appears very briefly, and while she didn’t do anything of value, I still enjoyed her presence. After years of listening to Hamish and Andy’s daily radio show and recently completing the TV Show Please like Me, I know what an Australian accent should sound like and John Lithgow puts in a very poor effort attempting to be Fat Amy’s dad. As this is supposedly the final Pitch Perfect movie, the last 10 minutes were an emotional conclusion and even after considering the 80 minutes that preceded this were dumb and had no emotion whatsoever, those last 10 minutes still hit me. So despite the weak to non-existent story and lack of laughs, you’re likely to enjoy this if you liked the others, or even if you hated PP2 like me. The riff-off happens within the first twenty minutes however, and there was no Adam Devine’s character which is a complete let-down, but still.
Verdict: Fine. It was completely forgettable and will never be a classic like the original, but it was enjoyable enough. The chemistry between the cast is incredible and the soundtrack was fun, which is all I could ask for.
Last ten minutes: Five Stars
Rest of the film: Two-and-a-half Stars
Sometimes movies get unfairly misjudged and therefore left unwatched and forgotten. Sometimes it’s not the films fault, it can all be due to timing. The Nice Guys and Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping came out at the same time as Captain America: Civil War which completely ruined any chance they had to succeed (success they both should have earned, might I add). But sequels have the worst chance of being remembered, simply because they are sequels, we’ve seen it all before. Kingsman 2 and Pitch Perfect 3 weren’t terrible, and are arguably worth watching, but they have been forgotten. Sequels have a pretty bad reputation, but some sequels might be worth a watch and should be given a chance; Pirates of the Caribbean 5 might’ve be cool, who knows? And maybe I WILL go see the new Johnny English when it comes out, I’m not sure.
But what I am 100 per cent sure of is no matter what, never ever watch Ghostbusters.
Please. It’s just not worth it.