Escape Room 2: Tournament of Champions ends with a fairly clever twist, but unfortunately said twist presents a major franchise problem going forward.
Escape Room 2: Tournament of Champions ends with a fairly clever twist, but unfortunately said twist presents a major franchise problem going forward. The first Escape Room became a sleeper hit in 2019, overcoming mediocre reviews by critics to become a hit with audiences, earning $155 million on a $9 million budget. After several COVID-19-related delays, Escape Room 2 finally hit theaters, and while the sequel might not have been the financial powerhouse the first movie was, its makers clearly intend to bring the world an Escape Room 3 based on the Escape Room 2 ending.
If an Escape Room 3 movie doesn’t happen, that will truly be a shame, as the final twist of Escape Room 2 essentially changes the entire film into a sequel setup. That’s not to say that Tournament of Champions isn’t an entertaining movie in its own right, but the franchise’s story will clearly be far from complete if a third film doesn’t get greenlit due to lackluster box office. Hopefully, the pandemic factor will be taken into account by Sony when considering a follow-up.
After another movie full of Zoey (Taylor Russell) and Ben (Logan Miller) staying alive despite trap after trap constructed by the Minos company, the Escape Room 2 ending twist reveals that everything in the sequel up to that point had been done to convince Zoey that Minos had been caught, and get her and Ben into the plane escape room that was constructed at the end of the original. The twist, while feeling a bit cheap, is pretty well pulled off. The problem is, it makes Minos entirely too powerful, to the point where anyone ever beating them seems ludicrous.
Why Escape Room 2’s Ending Twist Is A Franchise Problem
To facilitate the Escape Room 2 ending twist, Minos proves itself capable of doing everything but manipulating reality itself, and with its vast resources, it can even nearly do that. By the end of the highly anticipated horror film, it’s clear that even the psychiatrist Zoey and Ben visited about their prior experiences was in Minos’ pocket. Picking up from there, from the moment they enter New York City and visit the Minos building, they’re manipulated and pushed into position for the next game by Minos. Even the events within the game, which ostensibly should be harder for Minos to predict, end up with Zoey escaping through an alternate route they clearly intended her to find, and Ben getting sucked into the quicksand, enabling Minos to use him as a bargaining chip with Zoey.
According to the surprise returning character in Escape Room 2, Amanda (Deborah Ann Woll), who it turns out survived the first film due to yet more Minos manipulation tactics, this entire game was put together to convince Zoey to become a game designer for the company herself, assuming anything Zoey was told during the game can be trusted. If that’s true though, that means Minos casually orchestrated that a bunch of former “winners” would end up on the same subway train at the same time, and without anyone else on it, just to play a game for the purposes of deceiving Zoey and Ben and getting the duo into the coming plane trap. That is a level of control over outcomes that would leave most movie villains in awe. At this point, Zoey and Ben’s battle doesn’t feel winnable, in fact, it feels hopeless, not only for Escape Room 2 but for Escape Room 3 as well.
Escape Room 2 Has An Extended Cut That Changes The Ending
Escape Room 2‘s Minos is probably far too powerful in the regular ending, but the movie also has an extended cut that adjusts this issue. Instead of placing the focus on the plane twist, the alternate version of Escape Room 2 heavily features Claire (Orphan‘s Isabelle Fuhrman), the true mastermind behind the games who killed her parents after they tried to take credit for her creations. Not only does the Escape Room 2 alternate ending reduce the near-supernatural omnipotence of Minos effectively by making the movie more about Claire, but it also very directly sets up the antagonist for Escape Room 3. If the franchise wants a shot at continuing past Escape Room 2, this compelling new antagonist is a great way to do so.
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