Top 10 Most Satisfying Movie Franchise Endings



Top 10 Most Satisfying Movie Franchise Endings

VOICE OVER: Andrew Tejada WRITTEN BY: Johnny Reynolds
These film endings delivered! For this list, we'll be looking at film franchises that went out on top, giving viewers fulfilling conclusions to their stories. Our countdown includes “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2”, “Toy Story 4”, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2”, and more!

Top 10 Most Satisfying Endings to Movie Franchises

Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Most Satisfying Endings to Movie Franchises.

For this list, we’ll be looking at film franchises that went out on top, giving viewers fulfilling conclusions to their stories. However, we won’t be including any movies whose stories or characters continued in later installments. Sorry, “Star Wars” fans. Also, we’re talking endings here, so consider this your spoiler warning.

Which ending to a movie franchise satisfied you the most? Let us know in the comments below.

#10: “War for the Planet of the Apes” (2017)

Before 2011’s “Rise,” many likely weren’t too excited about another “Planet of the Apes” reboot. But with deep characters and incredible effects, it won audiences over and set the stage for a thrilling trilogy. The conflict between the dwindling humans and hyper-intelligent apes eventually escalated to warfare. Caesar’s drive to see his people to safety made him a sympathetic protagonist, beautifully captured again by Andy Serkis. The humans, led by Woody Harrelson’s ruthless colonel, were desperate and threatening. The captivating struggle between the two groups came to a head in a literally explosive climax. While we were sad to see him go, Caesar’s sacrifice in the name of his loved ones was a poignant and heartbreaking end to one of sci-fi’s best modern trilogies. While another film set in the “Rise” world is in the works, it won’t be a “direct sequel” according to Wes Ball, who’s attached to direct.

#9: “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2” (2015)

While we’re still not sure it needed to be split into two movies, the climax of “The Hunger Games” was still an exciting finale. The rebellion is in full force here, fighting against the vile President Snow. Many young adult books and their adaptations chronicle uprisings against awful governments, but “Mockingjay” makes the common plot its own. With the rebellion led by the power-hungry Alma Coin, Katniss is trapped between two evils. And as the face of the rebellion, she has a tough decision to make. Leading up to the finale, we get incredible action sequences and heartbreaking deaths, including Katniss’ sister Prim. But the bleak tale ends happily, with Katniss victorious and living a simple life with Peeta and their children.

#8: “Ocean’s Thirteen” (2007)

While the series did continue with the spin-off “Ocean’s 8,” Danny and his crew had their story wrapped up by the end of the trilogy. When one of their own is ripped off by shady casino tycoon Willy Bank, Danny assembles the team to get vengeance. It’s a great way to show the comradery built between the members over the series. And it has all the witty dialogue and sharp performances that made the first so successful. It wouldn’t be satisfying if they didn’t completely ruin the life of the villain, which they do and then some. Seeing Danny rub failure in Bank’s face, double-crossing secondary villain Terry Benedict, and making away with millions is the suave ending we wanted for the character.

#7: “Toy Story 4” (2019)

We would’ve thought that “Toy Story 3” was the end, but it turned out Pixar had one final chapter to tell. After being donated to Bonnie, Woody and his friends deal with an entirely new dynamic. By detailing Woody’s need to feel wanted, Forky’s desire to throw himself away, and Gabby Gabby’s aching for a home, “Toy Story 4” does a great job at exploring the theme of self-worth for kids. It’s also a fun-filled toy adventure with the return of Bo Peep and new characters like Key and Peele’s Ducky and Bunny and Keanu Reeves’ Duke Caboom. When Woody finally gives up having a home to help carnival prizes find homes, it feels like the emotionally resonant conclusion he was always moving towards.

#6: “Back to the Future Part III” (1990)

By the end of Robert Zemeckis’ sci-fi trilogy, Marty McFly has been through the wringer. He’s been pulled across time, lost his best friend twice, and nearly died on a number of occasions. So when he finally makes it back to 1985 in “Part III,” we breathe a sigh of relief with him. But it isn’t just Marty coming home that makes it a satisfying ending. He reunites with Jennifer and doesn’t get into the life-changing car accident his future self did. But seeing Doc ride in on a time-traveling train is honestly iconic. With his new family in tow, Doc gets to have a proper goodbye with Marty. And he leaves the couple with touching advice before flying off on another grand journey.

#5: “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” (1966)

Sergio Leone’s “The Man with No Name” trilogy began magnificently and never let up. Although each movie is only connected by Clint Eastwood’s protagonist, they chronicle his tense confrontations with bandits, smugglers, and other ne'er-do-wells. The final film may be the best of the three. It follows the man with no name during the Civil War in an uneasy alliance with bandit Tuco. But when stolen Confederate gold and a mercenary get added to the mix, it becomes an every-man-for-himself thriller. The trilogy has been credited with launching the spaghetti Western subgenre. And it ends in one of the most iconic scenes in film history: a Mexican standoff that sees Eastwood’s hero victorious.

#4: “Logan” (2017)

We’re bending the rules a bit here. But since “Logan” chronologically takes place after all “X-Men” movies and is the end of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, we’re counting it. And what an end it is. In the near future with mutants dying out, a withered Logan looks after Professor X, whose devastating seizures resulted in the deaths of several X-Men. Their relationship travels new and heart-wrenching ground. And the bond that grows between Logan and Laura is exceptionally moving. All of this deep character development plus blood-drenched action sequences finally give Logan the opportunity to cut loose. Thrilling violence and emotional growth combine for a climax that sees Logan sacrifice himself for his new daughter. And it is a beautiful, tragic goodbye to the character.

#3: “Before Midnight” (2013)

Watching Jesse and Céline’s relationship mature through different phases has been pure, cinematic delight. Through meeting in “Before Sunrise” to reuniting in “Before Sunset,” the chemistry between Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy produced one of the most honest portrayals of love on screen. With “Before Midnight,” the couple faced unfamiliar territory. It strove to be just as honest, which meant all of the bad that can come from a relationship. Just like their chemistry in the first two films, the anger and resentment between Jesse and Céline was palpable. Love still won over in the end. With an affectionate reference to the first film and an understanding that their love is imperfect, Jesse and Céline end with the exact charm they began with in 1995.

#2: “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2” (2011)

For a decade, the “Harry Potter” series built towards an emotional, unavoidable conflict between good and evil. With “Deathly Hallows – Part 2,” the build-up paid off. Beginning with a suspenseful, magical bank heist and ending with a no holds barred battle, the finale moved at a riveting pace. Incredible character moments of glory, harrowing deaths, shocking revelations; the Battle of Hogwarts had it all. Seeing Harry agree to sacrifice himself for the betterment of everyone made our hearts ache. Though the heroes were victorious, the weight of what they had lost hung heavy in the aftermath. But life continued on. An epilogue showed the trio sending their own kids off to Hogwarts, hopeful of less dangerous adventures.

#1: “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2003)

When it comes to satisfying endings and fulfilled character arcs, there’s simply no topping “Return of the King.” The entire trilogy is an underdog story surrounded by fantastical warfare and the third entry brings every element to its peak. There’s a huge focus on how power can corrupt, from the tragedy of Gollum’s obsession to Frodo’s breaking point so close to success. But with unbreakable bonds carrying them through terrifying encounters, the Fellowship brings an end to Sauron. From there, we get rewarding ends for the franchise’s greatest heroes: Aragorn becomes king, Sam gets a family, and Frodo sets out on another adventure with his beloved Uncle. Peace resonates from the film to us, bringing a magnificent end to one of cinema’s greatest trilogies.