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Why Twilight Was Better Reviewed Than (Most Of) Its Sequels

Why Twilight Was Better Reviewed Than (Most Of) Its Sequels

Twilight’s reviews were not as bad as those of its sequel New Moon thanks to the canny addition of some killer villains to the original plot.

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Why Twilight Was Better Reviewed Than (Most Of) Its Sequels

The original Twilight received better reviews than many of its sequels, but what made the 2008 movie one of the saga’s least-hated outings? Released in 2008, Twilight was a movie that was never destined to be a critical darling. Based on the paranormal romance saga of the same name by author Stephanie Meyer, Twilight was an unashamedly self-serious teen movie that presented its melodramatic love story without much in the way of ironic distancing.

However, as earnest and occasionally cringe-worthy as Twilight was, the movie had a much easier time with critics than its first sequel, 2009’s New Moon. Sans original Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke, New Moon fared far worse with reviewers than its predecessor did the year before. The sequel was called clumsy, slow, uneven, and drab, prompting some fans to wonder how the original Twilight managed to avoid this fate.

Of course, Twilight was not exactly universally loved by critics either, but many of the movie’s reviews said that it had plenty of redeeming features and was far from the worst teen romance/fantasy mashup out there. However, it was not the central love story between ageless vampire Edward and his small-town beau Bella that helped salvage Twilight’s standing among reviewers. Instead, it was the addition of a serial killer subplot (however tacked on it may have been) that kept the action of the original movie brisk and involving, where later sequels struggled to maintain momentum for fans who weren’t invested in Bella and Edward’s love story. Much of what made New Moon the weakest Twilight movie was this myopic focus on the central pairing, where the first movie in the saga was wise enough to throw in some diverting bloodshed to ensure audiences weren’t bored by the romantic plot line’s familiarity.

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Twilight Added A Murder Mystery Element

Why Twilight Was Better Reviewed Than (Most Of) Its Sequels

Admittedly, it may not have been a conventional murder mystery, as fans knew that the killers were James, Victoria, and Laurent, and the mystery was when they would cross paths with the movie’s heroes rather than who was doing the killings. However, Twilight did still add in a murder mystery story to liven up proceedings and keep viewers invested, and it was one of the movie’s best decisions in narrative terms. Throughout the movie’s action, there are brief scenes of the villainous coven killing townspeople and police finding their remains, and this dark addition bolsters the movie’s credibility as a supernatural thriller. The Twilight villain James does exist in the original book, but he is thinly sketched and barely established as a presence until the finale when the need for a villain and a dramatic climax leads to him resurfacing. In contrast, in the movie version of Twilight, the coven killing the townspeople of Forks have enough of a B-story (absent in the source novel, and one of few significant additions in the largely faithful movie) to interest anyone who finds that Bella and Edward’s familiar tale of star-crossed lovers drags.

New Moon Dropped This (& Lost Critical Favor)

Why Twilight Was Better Reviewed Than (Most Of) Its Sequels

Coming to theatres barely a year after the first film in the series proved a financial hit, New Moon received worse reviews than Twilight upon release, and the lack of a compelling subplot like the original’s murderous coven was a major contributor. New Moon’s story is familiar (lifted from Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet according to Twilight’s own author) and, as such, the sequel needed a secondary story even more than the original movie. However, given that the main plot was an overly busy story with plenty of threads, New Moon did not have had time to add in a small-town serial killer like the original Twilight. While each of these individual threads may have been predictable, the sequel still needed to establish the character of Jacob Black, who the Volturi were, Bella and Edward’s separation, and the Quileute tribe, meaning there was no longer room for the first movie’s mystery.

That said, New Moon could have dwelled on the Volturi’s villainy a little more and established them as a credible threat, giving viewers bored by Bella and Edward something to invest in. The Volturi are, after all, intend to be the primary villains of New Moon, yet some of the Twilight saga’s best villains like Alec and Jane are wasted in the sequel. The laser focus on Edward and Bella’s story over the villains of the saga and its larger mythos means that the Volturi never come across as particularly threatening. In contrast, James, Laurent, and Victoria’s small coven was theoretically much less powerful but seems far more intimidating than the Volturi since the original Twilight establishes that they have killed for sustenance and sport and will continue to do so, whereas Edward has to seek out the Volturi before they become a threat to him in New Moon.

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Eclipse Brought Back A Killer B-Story

Why Twilight Was Better Reviewed Than (Most Of) Its Sequels

Fortunately for fans of the franchise the next Twilight sequel, 2010’s underrated Eclipse, brought back a killer secondary story — quite literally. Having recently made the gorier, R-rated 30 Days of Night, Eclipse director David Slade added a series of surprisingly dark killings into the early stretches of the second sequel so viewers knew that Bella and Edward’s romance was not the only important story in the movie. As a result, this critically well-liked sequel fared better than both New Moon and the later Breaking Dawn, with Victoria being a more compelling and bloodthirsty villain than the limp Volturi.

Although Eclipse makes it clear that the unstable Victoria is nowhere near as powerful as the Volturi, her rage makes her a more threatening figure than the aloof vampire royalty. Meanwhile, her slow progress in building an army of vampires to destroy Forks is chilling because Slade’s movie hints at the level of slaughter that goes into forming vengeful villainess Victoria’s squad of bloodsuckers but always cuts back to the main story before things get too gory. As a result, viewers are constantly reminded that there is a clear and present threat on its way to kill Bella and Edward (something missing in New Moon), while also being given a reason to invest in Twilight’s love story as the sequel gives viewers reason to believe its two central players may not make it to the end credits.

Link Source : https://screenrant.com/twilight-murder-myster-subplot-new-moon-missing-importance-explained/

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