Why is the first half so much better?

Movies these days, have such bad endings. I don’t mean fairytales that are no longer end with ‘happily ever after’, but I mean that the first half is always so much better than the second one. Often I walk away from the movie theatre with an angry face, because I seriously feel that injustice has come upon me and my fellow movie watchers. And not just us, the whole movie industry in general.

It is making the movie industry look bad. I would almost save my M&M’s for the second half of the movie, so I can pay full attention to the first half, cause that is the most interesting part. There are so many examples of movies that have an amazing first part and then go downhill: Mission Impossible 4, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, 50 Shades of Grey, Madagascar 4: Europe’s Most Wanted, The Bourne Legacy, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising and Suffragette.
When cinemas used to have a break in the middle of the movie, which some theatres still do, it was never really in the middle, but a little bit more towards the ending. It seems that exactly at that moment, the movie makers thought: the first half is done, the second will probably just go well automatically. But then, as viewer, you get one hour of a production that gets weaker and weaker by the minute.

In the break (or in your head, if there is no break in your cinema) you have probably told your friends how amazing the movie is until now, and how it spoke to you so much, but usually after that last bit, you will have to take back those words because the movie simply did not deliver all throughout.

If I was a director, I would probably also use the first half of the movie to take the time to introduce my characters in a funny way, or to already show the people some spectacular action scenes to wake people up, including some impressive 3D effects. But why does all of that disappear at the end phase of the movie? Is it no longer a trend to have the peak at the end of the movie?

Obviously there are still movies left that do it the other way around, but there are not too many lately. District 9 had a beautiful ending, even though I did not love the rest of it. And the movie Take is also a movie that has such an amazing ending, it might trick you into thinking the rest of the movie was as amazing (which it is not!) In the first half you are waiting for things to get better, but when they do at the end, you still leave the theatre with a smile on your face.

What is better: a movie that has an amazing start and gets worse, or a movie that does not really try very hard, only to have an amazing ending?

Unfortunately I cannot answer that, but I do know that the ending is extremely important to me. The best example I can think of right now is Friends with Kids (spoiler!); at the beginning, you have certain expectations of which you hope they will not happen. But guess what, the thing that you are afraid of, actually does happen! It is so bad, it made me hate the whole flick. Blergh.

Can’t I be entertained the whole movie through, and get a super interesting plot twist at the end to at least not have my expectations met? That is what I am looking for. Am I being a high maintenance movie viewer now? Absolutely, but if I commit to a movie, I want it to blow me away, full on! It is so stupid to me that movie makers put all this time and money in their flick, only to bungle the second half. They should be high maintenance movie viewers too, right?

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