In the wake of this year's most anticipated television finale of Lost, the Twitter feeds I subscribe to were awash in positive sentiments about what they had just watched. Emotional. Satisfying. Blessed wishes towards the creators. And I could not agree more. It was only a matter of time before the skeptics and the haters would come out of the woodwork to challenge our intelligence and bemoan the lack of answers to questions they had. This is the typical pattern of behavior to the closing of any beloved series. Be it franchise, trilogy or simple phenomenon, it will be either just what the doctor ordered or a failure to quench the aching thirst built up by the journey to that point. Depending on who you ask, of course.
The Matrix was ready to be crowned the greatest science fiction thinker since perhaps Blade Runner. Then, despite an expansion of the story's philosophy and some really kick-ass action sequences in The Matrix Reloaded, most everyone felt let down by the Wachowskis in the payoff (or lack thereof) of all those ideas in The Matrix Revolutions. Most everyone was fine with the length of the first Pirates of the Caribbean since it ate up time with such a spectacular surprise. Ditto with Dead Man's Chest as the proposed trilogy (at the time) was well on its way to becoming this generation's Indiana Jones (before the Crystal Skull.) When Rossio, Elliott and Verbinski actually went the extra mile to give it a big, epic-length finish in At World's End, fans turned on it. After a billion dollars in domestic box office and a game-tying record 11 Oscars, fans of The Lord of the Rings felt it had TOO MUCH closure with its multiple endings and touchy-feely Hobbitry. How dare that Peter Jackson wrap up characters we had invested nearly ten hours of our lives on - even before the extended cuts on DVD.
Is it in our nature to be disappointed once we have branded something with the excellence brush? How many disappointing third entries have we seen once the bar has been raised from The Godfather to Superman to Spider-Man? Did Ewoks seriously kill all the good will established by The Empire Strikes Back? Can Christopher Nolan overcome that in 2012 when he writes the final chapter of his Batman adaptation or will any villain pale in comparison to Heath Ledger's Joker? Will we feel the same emotional reticence with Harry Potter even if readers are already familiar with how it ends or will two films be too much? Does anyone still view Iron Man as some flowing story that demands closure?
Where have you felt most satisfied? Jason Bourne finally putting all the pieces of his past together? Rocky Balboa making his final exit from the ring? Doc Brown flying away on a time-traveling train? Maybe you are more an American Wedding kind of person than a Lethal Weapon or Karate Kid. Or do you even refuse to answer the question until Toy Story 3 comes out?