Great movies stand the test of time, and when they happen to be part of a phenomenal franchise, all the better. Fans get hooked on characters, hum theme songs, and count down the days until the next film in the series is released. But there’s no telling whether the upcoming movie is going to drop the ball.
Unfortunately, with the good comes the awful, and we’re here to call out some of the weak links in some fan-loving franchises, such as Harry Potter, Men in Black, and even Ice Age. Feel free to disagree, but here are what we believe to be some of the worst films in stellar franchises.
X-Men: Dark Phoenix
In 2000, the world was introduced to a new type of superhero franchise, one that picked up the slack of the disaster of Batman & Robin – X-Men. The fact that Fox cast Hugh Jackman as Wolverine was a huge selling point for a lot of comic book fans.
For multiple movies, minus a few, the X-Men franchise was on point, but it all went downhill with the latest installment of Dark Phoenix. With Sophie Turner at the forefront, what could possibly go wrong? Answer: a lot. With multiple reshoots, budget cuts, and a super rushed plot, the film was very disappointing.
At the time, Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy was all the rave. People loved watching Peter Parker transform into Spider-Man through the first two films. So, when a third film was announced, people were excited to see who Spidey was going to save New York from next. Unfortunately, the third installment didn’t work out as planned.
First off, there were one too many villains to keep track of. Not to mention, a majority of the plot was focused on them and not our main hero.
In 1976, Sylvester Stallone and Rocky became the same, becoming America’s favorite underdog in the process. They inspired people in the form of a fictional character trying his best to prove to his Philadelphia neighborhood that he wasn’t just another bum. And while the films got campier and campier as they went on, nothing compares to the disaster that is Rocky V.
After the not-so-subtle Cold War allegory that happened in Rocky IV, fans see the boxer shipped back to Philly in the fifth installment. The film tries to tie in too many plotlines, including Rocky’s “protege,” brain damage, and a random street fight for former glory.
The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift
What is now known as the Fast saga began in 2001 with The Fast and the Furious, aka the remake of Point Break but with cars instead of surfing. There was street racing, Paul Walker, scantily dressed women, Vin Diesel, and people couldn’t get enough. Well, that is until The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift was released.
Before the franchise figured out the direction it wanted to take, audience members were left with this mess of a movie. One, it didn’t have the two main actors. And two, the villain and protagonist relationship was so unbelievable you can’t help but laugh. Thankfully, the franchise eventually figured it out.
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
The Star Trek franchise is arguably one of the most popular in pop culture. It brought a generation on trips through the galaxy on the Starship Enterprise while giving an up-close and personal look at the relationship between Captain Kirk and Spock. Unfortunately, the franchise went downhill when William Shatner made his directorial debut with Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.
Not only was the opening scene of Kirk free climbing El Captain bizarre, but it paved the way for an even more ridiculous plot. Yes, we’re talking about the quest to find the floating head. We’re not sure about you, but this film gives us Wizard of Oz vibes.
Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone
J.K. Rowling introduced the world to Hogwarts and the story of Harry Potter in 1997. Then, a few years later, a live-action version was released, and fans of the series couldn’t have been more thrilled. And while Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone isn’t ‘horrible,” it’s not the best in the franchise of movies.
Truthfully, nothing technically went “wrong” in this film; it’s a beautiful introduction to Harry, Hermione, Ron, and the rest of the Hogwarts gang. The one downfall is the innocence and child-like manner the film takes on. But, when you think about it, the tone of the film makes sense for what’s to come.
The Purge was a new type of horror/thriller film. It brought the viewer into a dystopian society where the government allows 12 hours of complete anarchy. Literally, anything goes. To say that idea is horrifying is an understatement. The genre usually gets a bad reputation for having awful sequels, but The Purge franchise is different.
Ironically, it’s the first movie that is considered the worst. Considering the idea, the movie was underwhelming at best. It pretty much took the formula of a typical home invasion movie and added a weird “holiday.” Thankfully, the next three installments in the franchise were solid.
Star Wars: Episode II – Attack Of The Clones
When it comes to George Lucas’ original Star Wars trilogy, there’s just something classical and childlike that we can’t help but smile. Lucas brought together interesting mythology, fantastical worlds, and complex characters to brings together one of the most-loved franchises of all time. And then the prequel films happened.
While Phantom Menace has its own issues, the worst of the prequels is arguably Attack of the Clones. Not only is the relationship between Anakin and Padme cringe-worthy and awkward, but people just wanted to skip everything and see how Anakin turned to the dark side and into Darth Vadar.
When people think of Hannibal films, people usually bypass Manhunter and go straight to Silence of the Lambs. But both films introduce one of cinema’s most dangerous villains, Hannibal. And while the sequels Hannibal and Red Dragon aren’t nearly as good, Anthony Hopkins still makes them interesting films to watch.
That can’t be said for the last film in the franchise, Hannibal Rising. The movie is meant to be an origin story, going back to the time Hannibal Lecter has his first taste of human flesh. It should have been epic. Instead, the story is bland, predictable, and did a bad job of hiding its agenda as a money grab.
A Good Day To Die Hard
Die Hard arguably made action films what they are today. The movie has stellar characters, including wise-cracking John McClane, action sequences, and writing that kept audience members hooked from the opening to closing credits. But everything changed when John Moore decided the world needed another film in the franchise in the form of A Good Day to Die Hard.
Wildly considered the worst movie in the epic franchise, A Good Day to Die Hard pretty much, wait for it, tried too hard. The plot was predictable, there was little to no chemistry between the lead actors, and Bruce Willis seemed to be over his role of McClane.
Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is a great lesson in don’t fix what isn’t broken. This franchise is all about a whip-cracking professor who just so happens to go on one too many dangerous adventures through abandoned pyramids and such. So, when a movie comes out with the Even Stevens kid, people were not only confused; they were also beyond skeptical.
As it turns out, all of the skepticism was warranted. The film tries its best to go back to the franchise’s original formula. But when it turns out Shia LaBeouf is Karen Allen and Indiana Jones’ son, things fall apart at a rapid pace.
Matt Damon brought a whole new feel to spy films with his role as Jason Bourne. Long gone were the days of high-tech gadgets, glamorous women, and fancy cars. Instead, the Bourne franchise dove into a new generation of super spies, one that was way more gritty and realistic. Pretty much, the first three films were perfect.
So, when Jason Bourne was announced, people were excited to see what adventure was in store. What they weren’t expecting was a dull plot that was already explored. The new installment felt stale, and the studio should have left the franchise at the end of The Bourne Ultimatum.
The Godfather Part III
The Godfather is one of the strongest franchises out there. People can’t help but be sucked into the drama of the Corleone family. And while the second movie isn’t nearly as great as the first, of which is considered to be one of the greatest films of all time, it is a masterpiece in its own right. Then there’s the third film.
For many, The Godfather Part III never should have been made. Although Al Pacino and a lot of the original cast are outstanding, it doesn’t overshadow the lackluster performance of Sofia Coppola as Mary Corleone. By the end, the film didn’t leave a major impact.
Batman & Robin
In terms of DC superheroes, Batman takes the cake in terms of popularity. Fans enjoyed watching the character grow from his pain to become the Dark Knight of Gotham. So, when Tim Burton created a live-action Batman movie, people were all for it. Then director Joel Schumacher took over, and things went downhill.
Ironically, it wasn’t Schumacher’s first film that is considered the worst in the franchise, but his follow-up, Batman & Robin. The Batsuit was atrocious, and the tongue-in-cheek vibe and horrible puns make this film a blueprint on how not to portray the superhero.
James Cameron changed the science fiction genre in 1984 with his film Terminator. The plot of AI believing humankind is disposable is still a relevant plot, and the sharp action sequences were enough to draw the audience in while they memorized lines such as, “I’ll be back.” And while the first three installments of the franchise were amazing, everything changed when Cameron left.
Alan Taylor took up the directorial reins after Cameron’s departure, and not in a good way. Terminator Genisys is short on thrilling action while relying heavily on CGI for the “wow” effect. The film is a perfect example of a studio cashing in on nostalgia.
Men In Black International
The Men in Black franchise brought together a few of our favorite things, Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith, and sarcastic aliens. While none of the films turned out to be as strong as the original, they all had a certain charm to them that you couldn’t help but appreciate.
Then the franchise decided to do a fourth spin-off film, Men in Black International. And while the cast of Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson is great, the plot lacks the charisma of the first three films. It doesn’t help that the script was being rewritten during filming.
Mission: Impossible II
Tom Cruise took an idea from a 60s spy show, ran with it, and came up with the Mission Impossible franchise. The films are not only entertaining, but they show the audience how insane Cruise is. We’re talking about all of the stunts he insists on doing himself, including holding onto the side of a plane while it takes off.
All of the thrills felt cheap in Mission: Impossible II. Director John Woo took the action scenes and added one too many slow-motion sequences. The weird action tacked onto a film taking itself way too seriously for what it is, makes this MI film the worst in its franchise.
In 1979, Ridley Scott brought together two very different genres, science fiction, and horror. Alien left an impact on both genres, and when James Cameron came in to direct the second installment of the franchise, fans knew they were in for something special.
The first two films went on to win Academy Awards. Then, David Fincher was brought in to direct Alien 3 and the franchise began to lose its appeal. Not only did Fincher decide to kill off two main characters right off the bat, but there was no emotional attachment. Yes, the next two films are considered worse, but Alien 3 didn’t help to get there.
The Avengers: Age Of Ultron
The MCU did the impossible, weaving together multiple storylines in the same universe and tying them together in an epic finale. Truthfully, a majority of the films are stellar, with great plots, action, and an all-star cast. But the movie that came after the original Avengers had a lot to live up to if the MCU wanted a fighting chance.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron wasn’t horrible, but it is one of the worst movies in the franchise. The film feels as though it’s a long commercial foreshadowing what is to come. And while it was entertaining, we could still do without it.
Ice Age: Continental Drift
The Ice Age films are funny, endearing, and make you want to watch a squirrel chase after an acorn for way too long. And while fans of the movies became entranced with the adventures of ice age pals Sid, Diego, and Manny, they weren’t prepared for the story to continue.
Taking place after The Meltdown, Ice Age: Continental Drift lacks originality and humor. The characters we have come to know have personality revamps, Scrat technically turns into a villain, and there are one too many subplots to keep track of for a children’s movie.