Well, we have a title for the upcoming Batman vs Superman movie, and it’s very sad indeed: Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. Many people object to the ‘v’ in that title, arguing that ‘v’ is almost exclusively used for court cases rather than superhero battles. They aren’t wrong, but I honestly don’t care all that much — my disgust is solely for the words ‘Dawn of Justice.’ And it’s not that I don’t get it — this will be the dawn of the Justice League, blah blah blah — but really, how do you say that title with a straight face? ‘Dawn of Justice’ sounds like the hit song in a superhero musical parody. (Someone please write that for me. Robyn? Please?)
In honor of this particularly lousy title, I was inspired to search for some other terrible film titles — all of which are sequels and only some of which I’ve actually seen. I spent a whole ten minutes researching this — because I’m a lazy bum who’d rather be reading her book right now — so feel free to comment if there are names you feel should have made the list. (Remember, though, this is about the quality of the title, not the movie itself — although, admittedly, there does seem to be some correlation between the two.)
10 Awful Sequel Titles
10. Star Trek Into Darkness
This is just a grammar issue. The colon is a time-honored tradition in the sequel title business. You will see it up and down this list — why did we get rid of it here, why? Someone just fucked up on the press release, didn’t they? Someone made a typo, and the studio was forced to pretend, “No, no, we totally MEANT for it to be like that. Really. That’s how all the cool sequels use punctuation these days — by NOT fucking use it. Ha! Take that, Mrs. Mooney — fuck tenth grade English!”
(I know I’m being awfully snotty for a girl who slaps em dashes around like they’re going out of style and uses commas whenever she feels like it for dramatic effect. I don’t care. Use the colon, dammit!)
9. Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace
This didn’t seem to make anyone else’s lists, but I don’t care. Menace is a hard word to take seriously in a title — qualifying it with the word ‘phantom’ does not make it any better. When I hear ‘The Phantom Menace,’ the very first thing I think is . . . well, okay, the first thing I really think is “fucking midichlorians,” but THEN I think, “Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Rejected Titles for New Melodramatic Opera”. (Also on that list? Singing Whiners. Seriously. I know I shouldn’t judge that play off of one film adaptation . . . but I do. Whiners, the lot of ’em.)
8. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
Actually, this is factually true. Money, in fact, does not sleep. On its own, money doesn’t do very much at all. Because it’s an inanimate object. Assholes.
7. The X-Files: I Want to Believe
Look, I get it: ‘I want to believe’ is a key catchphrase for the show. I even liked it while watching the show back in the day — ‘I want to believe’ is basically how I would sum up my thirteen year old self’s stance on spirituality and the supernatural in general. But as a movie title, it mostly makes me think of gospel songs, or possibly George Michael.
I now have “Faith” stuck in my head. I hope you’re happy, movie.
6. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
. . . look, it’s just a dumb title, okay? If Indiana Jones has found himself in a 1980’s sword and sorcery movie, it probably wouldn’t bother me, but this . . . no. No bueno. Boo.
5. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Yes, I’m aware this movie hasn’t even come out yet. I don’t care. How awkward is this name? Seriously, there is no excuse for repeating the words ‘of the’ in a seven-word title. Also, I’m starting to think ‘dawn’ doesn’t work particularly well for me, unless it’s immediately followed by ‘of the dead.’
4. Howling III: The Marsupials
So, here’s the thing: I haven’t actually seen this movie, and I’m a little unclear if the film is supposed to be a pure parody, or if it’s supposed to be a tongue-in-cheek horror film. Because those are different things to me. Scream is tongue-in-cheek. Scary Movie is pure parody. The word ‘marsupials’ can turn up, I suppose, in the title of an intentionally ridiculous crapfest, but if there’s even one scene that wants you to take it seriously or make you scared . . . no. This is unacceptable. (Also, it just kind of makes me sad that this movie title exists at all. I mean, bad sequels happen to every franchise, particularly horror ones, but no matter how much Scream 3 sucked monkeyballs, it wasn’t, like, Scream 3: Koala Bears vs Ghostface or something. I feel bad for The Howling, and honestly, I didn’t even LIKE The Howling all that much.)
3. Live Free or Die Hard
Look, Die Hard is a stupid name. We all know that. Die Harder is just funny. Die Hard with a Vengeance is similarly terrible. But nothing quite beats out Live Free or Die Hard because seriously: what does that even MEAN? Are we supposed to live like John McClane, an alcoholic cop who’s separated from his wife more days than not and whose kids really only like him when he’s saving their lives from cyber terrorists? Don’t get me wrong — I like McClane — but I really hope that’s not our definition of living free these days. And if we’re not old, cantankerous bastards who punch out our problems and fear technology . . . does this mean we, too, have to die hard? Because the likelihood of my being able to take out a helicopter with a car seems, well, not very.
2. Rambo: First Blood Part II
This title is unacceptable. It is ridiculously confusing. You would think, from the title, that this particular movie is a sequel to Rambo. You would be wrong. The first movie is First Blood. Then we get Rambo: First Blood Part II. Then we get Rambo III, and finally we get fucking Rambo. I mean, seriously. WHAT THE HELL? Why, WHY would you put Rambo in front of the fucking colon? Whoever came up with the title of this movie . . . buddy, you deserve to be slapped around with a dead, stinky fish, all right.
1. Quantum of Solace
Look, I don’t ask a lot from the title of a James Bond movie. You wanna name your spy movie Octopussy? Fine, have at it. But I DO expect that those titles won’t remind me of a) emotional denouements or b) fucking PHYSICS. I have never lost interest in a movie so fast as when I heard the title Quantum of Solace. Like, I don’t usually make decisions based solely on the title of a movie, no matter how cheesy it is. (I still intend to see Dawn of Justice, and — with a few caveats — I generally enjoy the Die Hard movies.) But once I heard the name Quantum of Solace, I was like, “Peace, bitches, I’m out.” And I’d really liked Casino Royale, too, much to my shock. I was just seeing it because my friend wanted to.
I have still not seen Quantum of Solace. And you know what? I still don’t really need to. (Although, admittedly, shitty reviews have something to do with that too.)