Figured out why, in trilogies, the first movie is always the best one. I can't be the first person to think this, I know I'm not. The thing is that the first movie always involves such awesome character development... some poor shmoe like you and me is just living his life, then suddenly the whole world turns upside down and it's huge and surprising and he totally changes who he is. It's like your first year of college... you change a little every year, but that first year... you can never go through a change like that again. And that's what I love about movies, the character development.
The only trilogy I've ever seen where I liked the third one the best was Star Wars (okay, for you mega-nerds out there I liked the sixth one the best). And before tonight I'd never figured out why... it was the character development. Darth Vader, who we'd seen as this evil looming dark force (literally) through the whole series, had the total system reboot and changed everything about him at the last second. It was amazing. It's my favorite third movie ever. hell, it might be my favorite movie ever.
All other characters (Neo, Luke Skywalker, Frodo Baggins, Belgarion, Bill & Ted, etc.) have their big exciting change during the first movie (or book or whatever), and only come back in the next ones so we can see how much more ass they can kick, which is normally a small percent of an improvement from the last film. The sequals aren't as good.
So I'm proposing, for all you novelists or aspiring screenwriters out there, to actually focus your first two stories on people other than your hero, so we have something to look forward to in the third ones. Yes, make it all like Star Wars. Darth Vader was the hero of the Star Wars movies, I just decided this, he's the one with the big epiphany. Yeah, he's a whiny brat no one likes in episodes I & II, but we'll chalk that up to Lucas becoming a self-absorbed technocentric know-it-all. Episodes IV-VI were the real Star Wars and Vader was the real hero.
Neo... eh, yeah, good life and all but once you become The One in the first movie you don't have much to grow with, and that's what people like to see. I was really rooting more for Trinity in this one, and as usual she was reduced to a helpless "kiss me neo" princess by the end. Didn't totally ruin the movie for me, but definately passed up a chance to be worlds better.