You can't beat a good movie trilogy, where you get to go on a journey with a series of characters for more than one movie.
We have been treated to a whole host of different movie series over the years - however, more often than not we see the movies at the end of the series nothing more than a pale imitation of the first.
Every so often you get a movie trilogy that comes along where all three films are terrific and we take a look at some of the movies series that buck this trend and deliver three unforgettable films.
- The Lord of the Rings
It is hard to believe that it was back in 2001 when The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring hit the big screen and we kicked off our Middle Earth journey for the first time. Many called J.R.R. Tolkien's novels unfilmable, but Peter Jackson showed that it could be done.
Over the next three years, Jackson, who also penned the screenplay as well as being in the director's chair, delivered three movies that were out of this world and took us on an unforgettable movie experience. For me, The Lord of the Rings trilogy remains one of the greatest times that I have had in the cinema and they are movies that I still come back to time and time again.
The Fellowship of the Ring is my favourite of the three as we see all of the characters in their purest form - before they are corrupted by the Ring or worn down by war or the journey that they are on. It is also the movie where the core relationships are formed between the central characters and before a darkness hangs over them and the story.
Of course, there are some great visual moments with the mines and the Balrog but it is The Two Towers where Jackson really hits it out of the park with the special effects. The darkness creeps into the film in The Two Towers, and it is the battle of Helms Deep that is the film's epic climax.
In 2003 the final instalment hit the big screen and this is the movie where we see our favourite characters make dangerous choices, face up to evil, and be prepared to die for what they believe in.
The Lord of the Rings is one of the greatest and most successful film trilogies of recent years and the three movies grossed in excess of $2,917 billion at the global box office. The Return of the King won all eleven Oscars it was nominated for, including Best Picture and Best Director for Jackson.
- The Bourne Series
It was back in 2002 when Matt Damon took on the role of Jason Bourne for the first time in The Bourne Identity, which was based on the books by Robert Ludlum and directed by Doug Liman.
The Bourne Identity was not the most successful film in the series but it kicked off the franchise in fine style and showed that Damon could be a major action hero - a fact he cemented during the course of the franchise's success.
The Bourne Identity as a fast paced and edge of your seat thriller that was a breath of fresh air for the action genre. This is one film that you really wanted to see a sequel to... and the studio obliged with The Bourne Supremacy in 2004. This time, Paul Greengrass was in the director's chair and the franchise really did go up a notch with this fine filmmaker at the helm.
Like the first film, The Bourne Supremacy was an intelligent thriller that was packed with twists, turns, violence and incredibly complex and interesting characters. Damon continued to shine in the title role and his star truly rocketed thanks to the Bourne franchise.
However, Greengrass left his best for last as The Bourne Ultimatum brought the series to a close in 2007. For me, this was the best film in the trilogy - it is so rare to see a franchise get better and better as the movies go on.
It was a movie that never allowed the audience to take a breath and really was a masterclass when it comes to an action/thriller. It was an unrelenting movie that gave us the answers that we had been waiting for. The Bourne series is one of the best action franchises of all time and grossed over $1,221 billion at the box office. However, the Bourne series will not be a trilogy for much longer as Damon and Greengrass are back for a long awaited fourth instalment - filming has already got under way.
- Christopher Nolan's Batman
Batman is one of the most iconic superheroes of all time and we have seen several incarnations on the big screen over the years... but no movie was as good as those by director Christopher Nolan.
It's fair to say that Batman & Robin, which was released in 1997, was not that great and many believed that it had killed the franchise for good. However, that was not to be as Nolan breathed new life into it with Batman Begins back in 2005 - yes, this movie is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year.
Batman Begins was a terrific origins story that introduced us to Christian Bale's Bruce Wayne and his past - but without dwelling too much on a story that we all know so well.
Nolan brought a dark and brooding feel to this movie and this was to be something that he carried through the entire franchise. While Nolan delivered a great looking film had everything you would come to expect from a blockbuster and yet, he put the story and the characters right at the heart of the film - this is an incredibly human story and this is what has truly captivated audiences.
However, it was to be The Dark Knight that was to be the real jewel in the new Batman franchise crown when it was released back in 2008. The Dark Knight really set the standard for all the comic book movies that followed as it was a gritty and edgy film that was unlike anything else that we had seen in this genre before.
The Dark Knight was a comic book movie, a crime thriller, as well as a great character study of good vs evil. Bale and Heath Ledger excel as Batman and the Joker and the time they share on screen is some of the franchise's most powerful. The Dark Knight is film that should have gone on to be nominated and win the Best Picture Oscar - the fact that it didn't even get a nomination in this category really was outrageous.
Nolan brought the franchise to a close four years later as The Dark Knight Rises in 2012. While the movie didn't quite hit the dizzy heights of its predecessor, Nolan still balanced the action set pieces and the human story that had been a running theme throughout the franchise.
The Dark Knight Rises was still a thrilling and emotional ride as Bruce Wayne faced his toughest challenges as he had to battle with his enemy and himself. All three films were critical and commercial hits and the franchise took $2,463 billion at the global box office.
Batman is set to return to the big screen for the first time since The Dark Knight Rises as Ben Affleck takes over the role in Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice - he is also set to make an appearance in Suicide Squad.
- Toy Story
It was 1995 when Toy Story was released - becoming the first CGI animated film - changing the face of this genre forever. The movie saw Disney team up with Pixar and an animation giant was born.
The release of Toy Story truly was one of the most ground-breaking moments of the nineties as we was the genre make a huge leap forward; Toy Story did for the genre what Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs has done decades earlier.
The movie also introduced us to the character of Woody and Buzz Lightyear for the first time - voiced wonderfully by Tom Hanks and Tim Allen - and they remains two of Disney/Pixar's greatest, most loved and iconic characters to date.
Toy Story was an intelligent and sophisticated buddy movie that really highlighted the potential of the animation genre with these new techniques. But it was the sequel Toy Story 2 that really cemented Pixar as an animation giant pushing the boundaries even further.
While being just as technically brilliant, bright and funny as its predecessor, Pixar were clever enough to aim the movie at adults as well as children. Toy Story 2 asked questions; what is the purpose of a toy? Is it better to live a life in a box or risk everything to make one person happy, even if it's for a short time? Questions are not something that we had seen tackled all that much in animation before and it became as ground-breaking as Bambi losing his mother back in 1942.
But it was to be Toy Story 3 that was to break box office records as it grossed over $1 billion and became the highest grossing Disney/Pixar film. It is still the third most successful animation film of all time, behind Frozen and Minions.
Toy Story 3 is the most emotional of the three movies and, for me, the best. It really is a timeless story with universal themes that we can all relate to about coming of age, moving out into the world and leaving childhood behind - themes that we call all relate to.
We all remember that moment when we leave our childhood toys behind and I defy anyone to not get choked up when Andy does that very thing, which brings a very poignant end to this wonderful series of movies.
The series has grossed over $1,700 billion at the box office and remains the greatest animation trilogy of all time.
- The Original Star Wars
Of course, you cannot talk about trilogies without giving a little mention to the original Star Wars movies - films will thrilled a generation of moviegoers.
Written and directed by George Lucas, Star Wars: A New Hope was released in 1977 and introduced to the characters of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Darth Vader for the first time - characters that are now some of film's most iconic.
A New Hope was unlike any other movie to have ever hit the big screen. The scale and ambition of Lucas was enormous and yet, it was something that he pulled off in fine style.
Three years later The Empire Strikes Back was released and while it was not critically lauded when it hit the big screen, and has gone on to become the most acclaimed film in the series. The Empire Strikes Back is perhaps the darkest instalment of the series and sees the central characters tested like never before.
It is a truly engrossing and spectacular instalment that really ups the ante and the stakes from the first film. We also learn the connection between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, which remains one of the greatest movie twists of all time.
Return of the Jedi brought the trilogy to a close in 1983 in fine and rather exciting style. The face-off between Luke and Darth Vader in from of the Emperor remains a truly great moment as we see Vader make and unexpected choice - a great end for a wonderful villain.
Years later, the original Star Wars movies are regarded as one of the greatest film series ever made and are as loved and admired as ever. While we have seen new films released over the years, they have never quite reached the dizzy heights of the originals.
Other great trilogies include Back To The Future, The Godfather, and the Dollars Trilogy.