This weekend marks the final chapter in the “Fifty Shades” film series.
Sex. Bondage. More sex. And some hilariously bad plot twists (and dialogue). It’s all there in “Fifty Shades Freed,” and while the film serves as a kinky date night offering for some, few will miss the saga.
Some movie franchises never end, and we’re happy they don’t. Enthusiasm for the “Fast and Furious” films remains sky high. The stunts get crazier with each episode, but we’ll still line up to watch them.
The same holds true for the Bond, James Bond films … assuming 007 doesn’t get a woke makeover. The following four franchises? We’re very glad they’ve called it a day.
“The Hunger Games”
Jennifer Lawrence became a superstar during these four features. What began with such promise and intensity ended on a modest note. The more we think about Katniss’ plight, and that of her similarly silly named cohorts, the more we appreciated that the saga came to an end.
Say what you will about this oft-mocked series. It scratched a very particular itch for tweens, particularly girls, just experiencing their first crushes and disappointments. The fact that two of the three stars (Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson) went on to become respected actors is no accident. Sorry, Mr. Lautner.
The saga still didn’t create a world we wanted to revisit without Edward, Bella and Jacob. Sans those core players, subsequent “Twilight” movies would lose their bite.
“The Maze Runner”
This franchise tried to play catch-up with the dystopian movement that caught fire when Katniss first hit the screen. “The Death Cure” ended the trilogy last month, and at precisely the right time. The first film remains the best, introducing us to a surreal mystery and the splendor of those massive maze walls. It’s been downhill ever since, with characters who failed to connect with audiences like Katniss or even poor Jacob did.
Here’s a film franchise that hasn’t technically ended. The “final” Potter movie hit theaters in 2011, but five years later Warner Bros. delivered the Potter spinoff “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” Or, the unofficial title, “Fantastic Beasts and zzzzzzzzzzz.”
The original series had it all. Child stars who grew into their roles. Wonderful British characters actors relishing the genre trappings. And a final installment that proved satisfying on an emotional level. That Potter brand proved too alluring for the studio to ignore. Thus, the spinoff series which is off to a drowsy start.
Continuing the Harry Potter story could still happen, but it won’t be the same.