Three Act Structure 3.4: The Final Minutes

What Would Spidey Do?

The second act usually ends with the protagonist(s) on the verge of defeat, before something happens that brings hope of the possibility of victory. But it can’t be easy or certain. For much of the third act, the antagonists still have the upper hand. Even when it looks as if the heroes will win, there is often one final complication, the moment in which the fortunes are reversed once again, and it appears that the good guys will lose after all.

The main purpose of the constant question of who will emerge victorious is to keep the audience interested. The final complication plays into that, keeping the viewers at the edge of their seats, even if we’re all pretty sure that the Council will fail to nuke Manhattan in The Avengers. There, the nuke ends up helping the team defeat the alien armada. This type of thing happens often in movies. Because…

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