Is there a film that started out great but completely went off the rails in the third act? According to a popular online movie forum, there is. After someone asked for their best examples, here is what they volunteered. Do you agree? There are several that I disagree with in this list.
1. Spectre (2015)
Many concurred that Spectre was on track to be a solid Bond film until they arrived at Christopher Waltz’s base. Furthermore, they agree it was a complete waste of Christopher Waltz. “It was me, James. The author of all your pain.”
2. Iron Man (2008)
“Ruined is a strong word as I still liked the movie, but the third act of Iron Man is noticeably weaker than the rest of the film. I didn’t like how Iron Monger turned into a ‘Look at me, I’m so evil’ cliche villain all of a sudden. They could’ve been done a bit better.
3. Law Abiding Citizen (2009)
Law Abiding Citizen — “Absolutely fantastic for two-thirds of the film. It’s an excellent revenge thriller, and it could’ve been perfect. The bad guy should’ve won. It would’ve been so refreshing. I still love the movie, but I find myself wanting to turn it off in the final third.” This is one of my favorite movies! But I agree with the forum; the ending was not as satisfying as I had hoped.
4. Downsizing (2017)
“Downsizing with Matt Damon. The third act was like out of left field. The premise was amazing. They could have done so much with it, but the writer and director dropped the ball.”
“It just kept going. I checked out about 20 minutes after he got on the boat, and then the movie just kept going and going.”
5. I Am Legend (2007)
“I Am Legend had the potential to be a better film if the third act didn’t fall apart. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy it, not as much as The Omega Man (1971) or Last Man on Earth (1964), but had its third act been better — it could have been right up there with the other two.”
6. A Simple Favor (2018)
“A Simple Favor goes through the first two acts as a Gone Girl-esque mystery with a hint of comedy thrown in and is pretty intriguing. Then, the third act honestly seems like a completely different person wrote it.
The movie suddenly changes from realistic dark drama to the type of stuff you’d see in a bad made-for-TV movie before just going all in as a slapstick comedy to wrap everything up. Even as a dream sequence, the ending doesn’t make sense because all the characters behave in ways that go entirely opposite of what they represent at the movie’s start.”
7. Passengers (2016)
“Passengers. The movie’s beginning was gripping, setting itself up to be an interesting and thought-provoking psychological thriller. Then they turned it into The Notebook.” I LOVE this movie. So that is a hard disagree for me.
8. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)
“The Force Awakens’ second half has issues — basically, once they get off Jakku. Any time Rey and Ren are onscreen together works, but the overall story is rote.”
“The first hour of The Force Awakens is so electric. Anything is possible. Everything is cool and new and weird. We are living in the carcass of the old world. Then they did that. JJ should never be allowed to end anything. I do not know why we haven’t learned this.”
9. The Worlds End (2013)
“The World’s End (last of the Cornetto Trilogy). Ticks along quite nicely until they end up in the hidden chamber and then have what seems like an eternity of exposition, and the film just dies a death.”
10. It Chapter Two (2019)
“It Chapter Two — I loved the movie, but that third act (especially the ending) was comical. I was so disappointed with It’s final form at the end. If I recall correctly, in the book, the human mind can’t even really comprehend Its true form, and they just see it as a giant spider thing.
So when it came to the movie, I was hoping we’d get something really cool looking, like a cross between the Alien queen and Cthulhu. But instead, we just got a bigger-sized Pennywise with spider legs.”
11. In Time (2011)
“In Time. It had a great premise, and I liked where the story was heading until the third act turned it into a cheap Bonnie & Clyde copy.” A few people suggest Justin Timberlake’s acting was subpar.
12. Fury (2014)
“Fury. A solid and reasonably realistic dark portrayal of World War II armored combat ruined by a 90s-style action sequence with no basis in reality.”
13. Insidious (2010)
“Insidious. I firmly believe that the first two-thirds of that movie (the haunted house part) is one of the best horror movies of the last few decades. But I’m always so let down by the last act (the astral projection part) that I hesitate to recommend it to people.”
14. A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)
“A.I. Artificial Intelligence stands out — two-thirds of the movie is humans abusing and wishing to terminate the boy, then he runs away and wakes up centuries later just to have his wish of his mother telling him she loves him fulfilled. I don’t buy it.”
15. Sunshine (2007)
“Sunshine is a superb science fiction in the first two acts and a cheap slasher in the third. It was still great, but it could have been even better. It’s worth watching. Just walk into it knowing it changes tone dramatically in its final act, and not for the better.”
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Elizabeth Ervin is the owner of Sober Healing. She is a freelance writer passionate about opioid recovery and has celebrated breaking free since 09-27-2013. She advocates for mental health awareness and encourages others to embrace healing, recovery, and spirituality.