I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that everyone reading this already knows the plot of “Jaws.” As yours truly recently wrote about the film, “48 years and who knows how many inferior knockoffs later, Steven Spielberg’s OG summer blockbuster remains the golden standard that other summer tentpoles aspire to. But as thrilling as it is to watch Bruce the shark terrorize the beachgoers of Amity Island, it’s the human drama in between the bloodshed that keeps me coming back to Spielberg’s classic.”

The “Jaws” sequels would increasingly shift their focus away from “Jaws” protagonist Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) and onto the other members of his family, hitting upon the same concerns about bureaucracies and their habit of prioritizing their bottom line over the sanctity of human life as Spielberg’s original film, to diminishing effect. That and a combination of increasingly bad writing and cheap filmmaking is the reason why most people would tell you the series only got worse the further along it went. At the same time, the sequels do have their redeeming qualities, like how “Jaws 2” examines Brody’s trauma from the events of the first film and how the people around him neglect to take his fears seriously. “Jaws: The Revenge” gave his wife Ellen (Lorraine Gary) a similarly compelling arc … you know, in between a storyline that, at some point during its development, involved magical witch doctors and possessed sharks.

Perhaps the “Jaws” franchise is best left exactly where it is: To be casually binged on Netflix by those who just can’t get enough of hapless people accidentally becoming lunch for the hungry Great White Sharks of the ocean.

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By mrtrv

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