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16 Ridiculous Moments Where A Great Franchise Officially Jumped The Shark

August 26, 2021 4.4k votes 696 voters 67.4k views16 items

List RulesVote up the eye-rolling moments when a film series went too far and stopped being the right kind of fun.

Even the most over-the-top franchise starts out small. Whether it's a series about the last son of Krypton or a group of street racers who steal DVD players, if a franchise goes on long enough, it'll eventually go off the rails. Just because a film jumps the shark doesn't mean it's bad. Sometimes a franchise needs to jump the shark to truly make an impact with viewers.

Some of these films are a part of franchises that should have ended earlier, and some of these movies ended the film series completely. Most of these moments are fun - even if they did play a major part in a film series either going downhill or taking the franchise in a completely different direction from where it started.

Determining which of these bonkers movie moments took their franchise beyond the point of no return is up to you. Just remember that once you jump the shark, there's no un-jumping.

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  • After Peter Parker bonds with the symbiote in Spider-Man 3, he goes from being a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man to an understudy for My Chemical Romance. It's bad, y'all. When Peter (who's dressed like a member of an Alkaline Trio cover band) brings Gwen Stacy to a jazz club where Mary Jane works, he shows how the symbiote is negatively affecting him by performing some light jazz piano before cutting a rug with his date.

    Peter's moves are broken up by some vaulting and spider prowling that no one enjoyed at the time and that only exists now as an Icarus-like reminder that filmmakers should always rein it in a little. Most moments that jump the shark in genre films allow the movies that follow to go nuts and do whatever they want (see: Furious 7). That's not what happened here. This shark-jump straight up killed the franchise for five years.

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  • Arguments can be made for many moments from the Fast & Furious franchise that jump the shark, but this skyscraper jump from Furious 7 is where the films pass from the realm of action-thriller to straight up science-fiction - and it's amazing. In the scene in question, Dom and Brian are driving a SUPER expensive car through the Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi while Deckard Shaw shoots at them with some kind gun that only exists in action movies. That's par for the course in one of these movies, but what happens next turns the Torretto crew from gearheads who solve crimes into superheroes.

    Unable to slow down as they race through the mostly glass skyscraper, Dom decides to floor it and take the car out a window. The car smashes through the glass just before one of Shaw's bullets hits the back of the car, giving it just the oomph it needs to make the jump to the next tower. Then, Dom does it again. He puts his foot to the floor and sends the car out another window into the next tower, where a viewing of the Terracotta Warriors is taking place. After its second tower jump, Dom's car spins out of control and destroys these priceless relics as he and Brian escape the vehicle unscathed.

    The Fast & Furious series couldn't stay grounded forever. It really had no choice but to become super insane - and thus way more fun. Every single one of these movies is a romp, but once they start going full Mission: Impossible, the series really gets cooking.

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  • The fact that Escape From L.A. even exists is kind of an existential shark-jump. This movie doesn't need to exist, but it's pretty fun as long as you don't focus too much on the fact that the story and plot are basically the same as Escape from New York, or that in the 15 years between the two, Snake Plissken has become a 1990s surf-or-die superhero.

    Plissken's X-treme abilities are on full display when he and an aging hippie surfer (played by Peter Fonda, of all people) ride a massive CGI wave in order to catch up with a car that's tearing down what's left of a freeway. While watching this scene, you may ask yourself questions like "How?" "Why?" or "What?" All of that is part of the fun. Hopefully John Carpenter and Kurt Russell will revisit the Snake Plissken chronicles soon so they can send the one-eyed tough guy to space.

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  • Whether he was melting Nazi faces or fighting entire cannibal cults with nothing but a whip and gumption, the stories of Indiana Jones always felt like they were ripped from the pages of adventure serials of the 1930s. Even when he discovered the Holy Grail, it was a moment earned through hard work and research. All of that went out the window in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

    In the opening scene of the fourth film in the franchise, Doctor Jones barely escapes from a squadron of KGB goons on the hunt for an extraterrestrial by hiding in a model town constructed in Nevada moments before an atomic bomb is detonated in the area. Indy survives by hiding in a lead-lined refrigerator - a move that signals to the audience that we're firmly out of the zone of plausibility.

    So what if Indy's previous adventures put him in contact with the vicious power of God and an undead member of the Knights Templar? Those moments made sense in the narrative. Jones's fridge escape is something that belongs in a theme park ride, and it shows just how ridiculous the rest of the film is going to be. If Indy can survive an atomic bomb inside a fridge, then why shouldn't his son that we've never heard of until now swing from vines like a monkey? The fridge was the point of no return.

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