Why it's better?
Like Lethal Weapon (and most action franchises), the first can come off as somewhat cerebral - if only in comparison. And by cerebral, I mean there's a lotta pesky plot to deal with. That's not to say there's no plot to Die Hard With A Vengeance - but it's bare bones. And that's good! In fact, yes, that's 'why it's better.' It starts with a bang - literally.
The first two films are like episodes of Scooby Doo, in which McClane just can't help but meddle. Because, who else will? & the third is the Scooby Doo episode we never saw - what if all that scheme foiling came with a price? The third does what a sequel should do (& Die Harder didn't) - providing one blurry, yet straight line to the original, while taking a sharp right turn.
Funny - if they'd had a backtalking sidekick for the lackluster second movie, it would've only been more lackluster. Yet this tired concept totally rocks Vengeance (as Sam Jackson does most things).

Why it's worse?
The higher up we get on this list, there're going to be less 'worse' things to take notice of -- keeping in mind that any and every sequel has one very specific flaw: lack of originality. It has to - no matter how much it strays from its predecessor(s).
So, yes, the phrase "the film that started it all" holds bearing in any and every franchise.
I like Jeremy Irons. And I like Bruce even more. Though, I don't know about you, but when I hear the words Die Hard, I picture Alan Rickman. & well, he wasn't in Vengeance.

"All brothers don't know how to shoot guns, you racist motherfucker."


Tyler Foster said...

Die Hard With a Vengeance is on par with the original until the boat blows up. That terrible greenscreen effect marks the beginning of disappointing mediocrity. But I like all four Die Hards.

joeymauro said...

I've only become a really huge avid movie watcher about 6 years ago, and unfortunately, I still haven't gotten to many of the classic action series (which is odd because most non-movie buffs see these when they're kids) this includes both Die Hard and Lethal Weapon, among others...It hurts to admit that aloud, but it's true. All the recommendations for these films have forced me to rent them both tomorrow.

Chase Martinez said...

I have always liked the third Die Hard just a little bit more than the first. Don't get me wrong, the action scenes in the first Die Hard are unbeatable (I mean come on, he jumps off an exploding building tied to a fire hose), but what keeps it from being great is the portrayal of the law enforcement officers. They are just too stupid, even for me, and that gets annoying.

Tim said...

Alan Rickman is indeed in this film.

It's not much, but he's in there.

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