"The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly"
I tried to watch this last year and couldn't sit through the whole thing because I got too bored. This time I watched it in two sittings, actually got through it, and kinda liked it by the end. It's still too long and it still has some dull patches, but I think I understand why it's the most popular of the trilogy. It just feels
more serious and epic than the others as the bigger budget allows for grander landscapes and a well-rendered civil war backdrop. Also, Tuco is a more amusing and endearing character than Indio, who was just ruthless.
I still think "For a Few Dollars More"
is better, but this has a few advantages. The war stuff gives it some dramatic weight, and the final sequence, which the whole movie builds to, is beautifully shot and tremendously satisfying. I was just a little annoyed that the Eli Wallach character seemed to get so much more screen time than the Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef characters (Van Cleef especially was out of the picture for WAY too long). Wallach's clownish Tuco character was entertaining and interesting at times, but he also got really annoying and there were times when I got really sick of him and wished Eastwood's character wasn't bedridden while Van Cleef's was off doing something else, stranding us with this goofball.
I much preferred in "A Few Dollars More"
where there were three main characters who were all intimidating and had almost equal screen time. I don't think "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly"
is a bad movie or significantly worse than the one that came before it. I just think the second one in the trilogy had a better story and better developed characters, and wasn't as bloated.
Also, it was weird seeing Van Cleef play a much meaner character to justify him being called 'The Bad'. He was no saint in "For A Few Dollars More"
, but he at least seemed to have some morality in it. I know "Angel Eyes" wasn't the exact same guy he played in "For A Few Dollars More"
, but I still found it disappointing to see him beat a woman early on, kill people when it was really unnecessary, and
at the end. It should have been a triumphant moment, but it made me sad.
I think the way I feel about this trilogy is similar to how some people feel about the original Star Wars trilogy. They all have merits, but the second is definitely the best. I like the third one better than the first one, though. The first one didn't have a single memorable character other than its protagonist.