Why the Second Movie in a Trilogy is Always Best

Until Kanye's "Bound 2" video premiered this week, the only thing anyone could talk about was The Hunger Games: Catching Fire release. REMEMBER WHO THE ENEMY IS, Y'ALL! Even though it seems like all movie franchises are jumping on the Harry Potter bandwagon and making their final installments series two-parters (aka we're paying almost $30 to see our fave stories end), the Hunger Games is STILL a trilogy, which is why I'm especially jazzed for Catching Fire.

In trilogies, the middle child is sometimes the best (with some appalling exceptions — I try to forget Back to the Future: Part II). We've got all the exposition nonsense out of the way, and nobody's wasting time with conclusions. Just the best bits — all the action and excitement. Especially in Catching Fire: Katniss and Peeta have truly pissed off President Snow, and the Quarter Quell is truly nasty, pitting all the former winners of the Hunger Games against each other. I am SO ready to see ancient Mags take people down, not to mention the added eye candy that is Finnick O'Dair. And maybe poor Gale will have more lines, less wide-shot brooding.

Here are some second movies in a series that show just how successful the middle child can be:

Spider-Man 2

His face is split in two to show his inner conflict. Symbolism!

Doc Oc is the best villain of the Spider-Man trilogy; definitely the most complex and sympathetic. And we see Spidey trying to HAVE IT ALL — love, school, spidey senses. It's better than the first Spider-Man and MILES better than Spider-Man 3, which was atrocious and should never be spoken about again.

The Dark Knight

RIP :(

Ummmm, self-explanatory. Heath Ledger as the Joker is one of the eeriest and most intense performances in any superhero movie. Wanna see a magic trick?

Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

Anyone who cares about artistic integrity agrees that the episodes IV, V, and VI ARE the Star Wars Trilogy, and whatever happened later is inexplicable. All the best Star Wars crap you remember came from THIS installment: the ice planet Hoth, AT-AT's, Cloud City, "Luke, I am your father," Han Solo frozen in carbonite, and of course, this eternal exchange: "I love you." "I know." COLD!

The Godfather: Part II

Even the font is hella iconic.Al Pacino as the new Don Corleone is almost TOO much. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. In this case, the third Godfather installment is the enemy.

Austin Powers The Spy Who Shagged Me

YES, including this on the list because it was a very important movie to me when I was young and didn't have a sense of humor yet. Austin Powers helped shape it. The second movie is by far the funniest, and Heather Graham as Felicity Shagwell seducing Fat Bastard is a scene that's everlasting.

So what does Catching Fire have that will help it shape up to be in good company with these other sequels? First of all, a number of new and powerful characters, including the inimitable Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Plutarch Heavensbee, the soulless and cruel Gamemaker. Also, a budget that FAR surpassed the first installment, meaning more incredible costuming (eye candy in the form of Elizabeth Banks as Effie), and crazy effects. Two words: blood rain. Early reviews are already singing its praises.

Catching Fire is in theaters now, but you probably already knew that.