Movies & TV / Columns

Stew’s Top 10 Movie Franchise Part Fours

June 13, 2022 | Posted by Rob Stewart
Avengers Endgame Image Credit: Marvel Studios

Oh man did I call this one.

Previously, when I ranked the best Part Three’s in movie franchises, I noted that when I started putting together the list, I was SHOCKED by how many of them were great. I ended up leaving off several high quality movies because there was such a dearth of winners when movies hit their third entry. So I wondered… if I looked at FOURTH outings in cinematic franchises, would I hit the quality wall hard?

Yes. Yes I would. But still, I said I’d do this, and here I am, giving you my Top Ten Part 4’s in movie history!

My disclaimer here? Well, I can’t rank what I haven’t seen, and the biggest miss here is likely to be the fourth Mission: Impossible movie. In my research, that came up a lot, but… the only M:I I’ve ever seen has been part 2! Which is apparently the worst one! Oops! (I actually saw M:I2 in theaters, and I thought it was terrific fun, if not a great serious movie. I was, like, 19, though, and it did everything it needed to for 19 year old me. It had doves! A devolving fight scene at the end!)

As a second disclaimer? I had to cheat–TWICE!–to keep some truly awful movies from getting on the list. And even then, I’m really not happy with some of the films that snuck their way on. We’ll cover the cheats and the disappointments when I get to them, though. So let’s start the list off with…

Image Credit: Marvel Studios

10. Thor

The first of my two cheat entries, Thor IS the fourth movie in the MCU, so I feel okay about that part of it it. But I previously listed movies like Thor: Ragnarok and Spider-Man: No Way Home in the Part 3 ranking, so my counting is cheating. Even then–even with the cheating–Thor is… adequate. It’s not a particular good movie. But it’s not bad! And that’s good enough! With the release of Love & Thunder, this will probably become the third best Thor movie… out of four.

But look at the casting! This movie gave us Chris Hemsworth as Thor! It gave us Tom Hiddleston as Loki! Natalie Portman as Jane Foster! Kat Dennings as Darcy Lewis! This movie set up a lot of dominoes to fall later on. So yeah, screw it! It can be #10! I’m okay with that.

Image Credit: Dimension Films

9. Scream 4

I don’t… I don’t like this movie. It has a beyond-obnoxious cold open. The whodunnit is stupidly predictable. For the THIRD TIME IN AS MANY SEQUELS, the story sets up barriers between Dewey and Gail to force us to watch them come together yet again. I still believe this is the overall worst of the Scream movies, and that’s with how bad Scream 3 is.

So why does it get placement?

Well, a lot of other Part 4’s are drek. But also! This has Emma Roberts, who is one of our most underrated stars. And Hayden Panettiere has a decent role here, and folks rightfully love her character to this day. And the regulars (Campbell, Arquette, and Cox) ALWAYS work. So there ARE gems in this flick if you look for them, but they’re being dragged down by a simply woeful screenplay.

Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

8. The Final Chapter

Hey, it’s one of my least favorite Fridays The 13th! But it still makes the list because… fuck it, I really like Fridays the 13th. I wish this movie was better in the technical sense, because it is a good F13th movie-wise. Corey Feldman is great. The party scene is funny. Tom Savini effects are back!

There is just so much wrong on an actual film-making level that I can’t enjoy it. AND YES, I KNOW. I’m critiquing the FILMMAKING of the Friday The 13th franchise. But this one is REALLY BAD, even by those standards.

Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

7. Paranormal Activity 4

I’m still not really into movies I like here, though I guess this is okay. It’s the last watchable PA movie before the franchise lost any redeeming qualities. The story here makes NO SENSE. None. So the demon kidnapped a baby back in Part 2, okay? Then a few years later, the demon and a little boy move in across the street from a family. And it turns out that the family’s young son is the baby the demon previously kidnapped!

How did this family get him? Why did the demon let him go, just to go get him again? Who the hell was the boy that originally living with the demon? Movie ain’t gonna tell you! Paranormal Activity 4 doesn’t feel like it owes you shit in the way of an explanation. My dad back when he was alive would REGULARLY text me “So who was Robbie?” in regards to the boy that moved in with the demon and disappears from the movie as soon as it’s revealed the family’s son is the baby from part 2. He died never knowing the answer! How sad for him. How sad for all of us.

Ignoring all that, this is a decent enough Paranormal Activity. Kathryn Newton is the lead protagonist, and I’ve come to enjoy her in Supernatural and Freaky. Also, if I recall correctly, the MCU is recasting Cassie Lang to her.

Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

6. Godzilla Vs Kong

See? I’m, cheating again. So we had Kong: Skull Island. Then Godzilla. Then Godzilla: King Of Monsters. Then this! So it’s part 4 in a link of movies! Though no one considers King Of Monsters to be Kong Part 3, right? Whatever.

I unashamedly loved this movie. It’s not high art, but it’s not trying to be. Look, sometimes you want to watch Lost In Translation; sometimes you want to watch Godzilla Vs Kong. And boy does this movie give you Godzilla versing Kong! Three times! With a definitive winner! And absolutely gorgeous special effects! The plot sucks, sure (the whole inner-Earth thing is nonsense just meant to try to be a visual spectacle), but… GODZILLA FIGHTING KING KONG!

Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

5. Fury Road

Everyone likes this movie more than I do. Which is not to say I dislike it AT ALL! I think it’s a Very Good movie; I have it as a 3.5 / 5 after one viewing (which was at home, not in theaters, so I imagine that hurts it). But that’s just it… I see this as “Very Good”. A little shy of “Great”. I mean, it’s a great ACTION movie! Truly glorious with the chasing and the fighting and the vroom-vrooming and all.

But, like… this was nominated for BEST PICTURE? In no reality is this a better movie than, say, The Dark Knight, which was not nominated. It simply isn’t. It IS better than Return Of The King, which is another popcorn flick that was not only nominated, but WON Best Picture. So everything is weird, I dunno.

ANYWAY, this is a hell of a fun movie that is visually just unimpeachable. I will watch it again someday. Maybe someday soon. And maybe my score will go up. Probably.

Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

4. The Goblet Of Fire

After The Prisoner of Azkaban spiked the Harry Potter flicks into being more than just charming effects and adorable kid actors, The Goblet Of Fire continued that upward trajectory here. We get the return of Voldemort! A shocking death! The kids starting to get a little hormonal with each other! Gandalf going WAY OFF from what the book says he does and just screaming at Harry about putting his name in the titular goblet!

Good stuff.

Image Credit: MGM/UA

3. Rocky 4

Listen. If ROCKY can change, and the communist fans can change, then EVERYBODY can change. So if you don’t think this is one of the three best Part 4’s ever, you better change.

So the spirit of what made Rocky a legendary and award-winning film in the 70’s was long gone by this point, but the series also shifted to sheer fun here. We get, what, THREE training montages? We get Ivan Drago as an absolute monster of an antagonist. We get the best boxing match for entertainment value in the whole franchise with Rocky and Drago just fucking teeing off on each other for an eternity. And then Rocky beat Communism, once and for all!

Image Credit: Galaxy International Releasing

2. The Return of Michael Myers

Shut the heck up. It’s my list, and this gets to be #2 ahead of, like, Fury Road. Easily my second favorite of the entire Halloween franchise, and definitely in the top ten (probably five) for Number Of Times I’ve Seen A Movie In My Life, The Return of Michael Myers is one of the best slasher sequels ever.

The cast is great, with Danielle Harris stealing every scene she is in. Donald Pleasance was in full loony tunes mode here. Elle Cornell is a terrific final girl; one of the most underrated ever. I will keep watching this movie every fall until I die.

Image Credit: Marvel Studios

1. Avengers: Endgame

Yeah, so this was obvious. It’s arguably my favorite movie ever, so throwing in restrictions to what can compete with it isn’t even fair. It’s Endgame!

The fourth Avengers movie wrapped up almost ten years of cinematic storytelling with dozens of callbacks, lots of character growth, some huge long-awaited moments, and a lot of heart. All it didn’t do was defeat communism.

That was anti-climactic. When I started making this list, Endgame and Halloween 4 were the first two names I put on my cutdown list, and nothing ever came close to surpassing either of them for the top two spots. (I really love Halloween 4 to a ridiculous degree, guys)

Am I going to do a Best Part 5’s ever? I mean… I REALLY don’t want to… I am really struggling to even think of what could be on that list. The BEST I could offer would be Best Part 5+ Ever. And even that would be, like, 3 different Jason movies (Part 6, Part 7, and Jason X). And who knows what else? Maybe both Creed movies if I decide they count on the Rocky timeline? I promise not to do that with the MCU, though…

Don’t let me talk myself into this!

Until next time… take care!