Madison Polkowitz / Gavel Media

The Suspected Success of Elle Woods's Cinematic Revival

Reese Witherspoon has confirmed the recent rumor about the possibility of a Legally Blonde 3. She tweeted “It’s true... #LegallyBlonde3" along with a video of herself floating by in a pool sporting the classic pink bikini. Recall that Elle Woods was accepted into Harvard Law School with a similar video submission. If I had done that, I think I would have gotten paid NOT to go there.

Anyways, I can’t deny it. As a rom-com and legal television junkie, I find Legally Blonde to be one of the best movies of our generation. I mean, c’mon. Remember when the murderer turned out to be the man's own daughter? I still get chills. That scene is the reason I could never get a perm (not that I particularly wanted to).

Many people have also praised the original movie for its strong message of female empowerment. One college student wrote her 15,000-word dissertation on the film, titling it "Dumb Blond Ambition: Legally Blonde, Post-feminism and the Reimagination of the 'Strong Female Character.'" Wow. And it wasn’t just Warner (I hate you, Warner), male colleagues, or Elle's fellow law students who judged the heroine throughout the movie. I’m sure we all initially did as well—and she went on to prove us wrong.

The more important question is whether or not the movie, as the quintessential sequel film, will prove our expectations wrong once again. In this case, specifically, will it prove us wrong about the implementation of sequels themselves? No doubt, sequels are a hot topic in the film industry. The majority of people think that most sequels are worse than the original, and they might be right. Box Office Quant looked at the Rotten Tomatoes critical scores of original movies and compared them to those of the sequels. And, as one might have predicted, the sequels didn’t fare too well.

So, why do people continue to make sequels when audiences are continually disappointed by them? Well, my first assumption is money. But, my second guess is hope—hope that this sequel may be an exception to the rule. And, in fact, there have been many exceptions to this unspoken standard. Read it and weep: The Bourne SupremacyThe Dark KnightThe Godfather Part IIScream 2 (one of my personal favorites), Return of the Jedi, Home Alone 2Toy Story 2. Notably, I would include every single Harry Potter film, but I’ve decided to exclude movies intended to have sequels from the start. I don’t think Harry Potter fans would have been satisfied with just one movie spanning the events of one book. They weren’t even satisfied with eight movies covering seven books.

Sadly, the sequels to Legally Blonde thus far have not been exceptions to the rule; rather, they have reinforced its legitimacy. Legally Blonde 2: Red, White, and Blonde (no comment on the title) received mostly negative reviews—37% on Rotten Tomatoes—despite Witherspoon’s highly praised performance. And then we have Legally Blondes. Heard of it? I didn’t think so. The film features the exploits of Elle Wood’s British twin cousins. I remember watching it on ABC Family when I was home sick from school with a stomach bug. I think it actually made me more nauseous than I was previously.

While the sequels to Legally Blonde may not have reached the critical acclaim of the original, I suspect this sequel will find success based solely on the pure curiosity of audiences and the general public. I know you want to know what Elle Woods is up to now, as do I. Luckily, Reese Witherspoon herself has assured us that we will find out, whether we want to or not.

Comments