When I saw At World's End at the cinema, I felt it wasn't as good as Dead Man's Chest. In fact, I was fairly unimpressed. I liked the ending, but all the mythology in the middle was mixed up. This time around I remembered what happened in part two, though, so the third film made a lot more sense. And not just that: I found that when you weren't waiting to work out the next part of the plot, you had a much better time with the subplot that was Will and Elizabeth's romance. And...well. I used to find it boring, to be honest, and to an extent it still is. But a lot happens to the two of them in the third film, and by the end of it, there's an aching sadness to the whole ordeal. Sure, if you stayed to see the scene after the credits, there's a note of optimism, but after that note, after 20 years have passed, and then 30, then what? How long does a person go on waiting? And that's the quiet of it all. Unless, of course, it truly becomes a family business, and the boy takes over his father's stead when the mother dies.
Hmm. I don't know. I liked it better this time around. I still love the end of the second film, but the disquiet at the end of the third is definitely what attracts me.
Trilogies are interesting narrative pieces, though, because they each have to ebb and flow, whilst being separate narrative components of a narrative whole. In the case of the Pirates trilogy, much like The Matrix, the first story is succinct, to the point, mostly because the other two parts weren't initially anticipated. Then of course, the second film is all exposition; it has to establish a mythology based on film one that is strong enough to deliver a climax in film three. This, I think, can be difficult, but second films tend to be better than the final installments, mostly because it's easy to line up the pins, but harder to bowl a strike. That is to say, to follow through on the premise is not always easy, and both PotC and The Matrix suffer from that a little, although I think both end in very satisfactory ways.
In fact, LotR: The Return of the King suffers the same, although it has the benefit of being anticipated as a third film (not the second sequel). The film's end is... wow, it's so fucking slow. But there's a quiet intensity to it. RotK is Samwise Gamgee's story, so in a way it has to end with his loneliness. Aragorn's story is the second film, I feel, where he steps up (even though the Return is his return, the second film is where he makes the decision to come back). Frodo's story is the first film, the Fellowship; there is a part of him in the third, but really, it's the bravery of taking the first step that is important. But the second film, the siege of Rohan - that's possibly one of the strongest climaxes of the trilogy. The venture into the heart of the mountain in the final installment is an inevitability, but the big battle happens half-through that story. The pacing is certainly odd in Return of the King, and I felt that the climax (Boromir) was strangely executed at the end of The Fellowship of the Ring. No, Two Towers is my favourite of those three films, but it is an exception. Film one is pure exposition; film three is about resolution on so many levels. The climax comes in film two, which is risky, very risky. There's a reason why PotC and The Matrix serve their climaxes in the third film: because after that, there's nowhere to go.
I am trying to think of other films that are truly, actually trilogies and not series. If there is another PotC movie, I don't think I'll be able to include it in the arc because the mythology won't really be the kind of thing that they can connect back to the nearly-epic story they've established and tied up here. Also: it would fucking RUIN the tone of the finale if they decide to mess with Will and Elizabeth some more, so I don't think they'll make a return. Her maybe, but I doubt it. It's not really their story anymore, is it? I sort of see each film being about each of the three characters - Will, then Jack, then Elizabeth. I love in the third film where they go to parlay, and the six characters are the trio and the three big bads. And they're all mixed, too. There's a lot of separation/reunion in these stories, a lot of distance and searching and waiting.
Ah: Underworld is supposed to be a trilogy, yes? THAT is a PERFECT example of the 1 + 2 film format. The mythology there gets amped up by miles. I secretly LOVE those films for (a) their levels of ridiculousness and (b) their tone. Selene is SO FUCKED UP, and the 'people' she knows, and the traditions she is repeating/defending/attacking, they're the kind of Gothic NIGHTMARE you really don't want to be in. SHE IS MESSED UP, YO. The third part will be CRAZY, I just know it (I mean, COME ON. The Rise of the Lycans? SERIOUSLY? Talk about taking all that mythology and just FLIPPING IT ON ITS HEAD. Although, naturally, again: where else can you go with it?). The mythology in itself is just so vast. I'm not talking intricate and historical like LotR; I mean PURE INSANITY. Masses and masses of 'all this will come again'. And that's definitely the theme of trilogies. The stories are always second runs. But Underworld is ALL about bloodlines, and family and repeated mistakes, and redemption. VAST. INSANE.
I have only seen Chronicles of Riddick; does that trilogy fit the pattern? I unfortunately found that film to be awful, despite Thandie. I... maybe I just wasn't getting the mythos? Which is what you get for entering in the last third. What about the Terminator films? Does that count, what with the TV spin-off and the fourth (yes?) film? I think it helps if the films are conceived as trilogies for the one-two format to apply? HMM. LET ME KNOW, PLEASE.
Tell me there's fic where ( cut for PotC3 spoilers ) I mean, waiting is difficult; waiting takes patience and these people haven't really displayed a lot of that. ( more spoilers ) I really wasn't all that interested before the finale, but it rings true with other stories of absence. Actually, I really like the parallels with Calypso and Davy Jones, mostly because there's nothing to say something similar won't happen again.
OH GOD. I'M SO BORING. And I can't sleep.
edit: UGH. I know that Kingdom of Heaven will likely be RUBBISH (sort of like King Arthur) but guys, these films... I am basically their demographic. If I can sort of enjoy Hercules and Xena and The Last Legion, I'm sure I will probably get a kick out of this dren, Bloom or not. (I doubt it can be any worse than Alexander which I will NEVER watch again.) (No, really, King Arthur should have been my thing but it was HORRIBLE. Blatant manipulation of audience expectations! Inappropriate clothing for snowy climes! Unlikeable primary characterisations! UGH.)