Lisa Schwarzbaum
April 06, 2007 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Are there any sequels you liked better than their previous installments?

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Spider-Man 3, Shrek the Third: With so many part 3’s coming out this season, are there any from the past you’ve liked more than their previous installments? — Gary Brantner

No doubt about it, the third time is historically the opposite of a charm, even though second-timers often surpass their predecessors. I’d just as soon remember The Godfather Part II, Aliens, or X2: X-Men United and forget what came afterward. I can think of two recent instances, though, when a 3 trumped a 2: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, directed by Alfonso Cuarón, was magically superior to the previous Mugglish productions cranked out by Chris Columbus. It was the first Potter pic to stand on its own as a great movie, and not just a slavish 3-D enactment of words on the page. And I suspect you’d agree that Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith was a relief after the fumbles in I and II — even though, chronologically, Episode III is actually part 6. You knew that.

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