For some fans, Transformers: Age of Extinction will be the best of the franchise. Mainly if those fans are more fond of Mark Wahlberg as an Optimus Prime sidekick than Shia LaBeouf. For others, it'll be the same as most fourth installments, a sequel that is far enough removed from the favored original that the series seems to be wearing out its welcome.
Part fours are tricky by nature. They often follow a trio of movies that fit nicely together as a trilogy, even if they were of lesser quality as they went along. Look at how Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tide and Terminator Salvation and The Bourne Legacy threw off the balance of their respective franchises.
But while there are some really horrible fourth parts out there, like Jaws the Revenge, Superman IV: The Quest for Peace and -- as much as I like some of it, Alien: Resurrection, this particular sequel spot has had some redemption in the last decade. There's Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which I consider the best installment of that franchise. And there's Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (aka "Ghotocol"), which many people claim as the best of its series.
I have soft spot for Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and for Rocky IV, both of which I saw as a kid without having seen or been interested in their predecessors -- and was just fine enjoying as stand-alone movies. Also, there's 28 Up, which is the best of the Up documentaries. And while it's nowhere near the first two of its series, I like Shadow of the Thin Man because I like all the Thin Man movies.
But even as someone who isn't a James Bond junkie, I have to suggest that Thunderball is probably the best part four there is.
(Oh, and I shouldn't have to make note of this, but Star Wars does not qualify, because it is the first installment of a franchise and just labeled "episode IV" in a story told out of order).
What is the best part four of a movie franchise?
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