Movie sequels are often nothing more than an attempt by Hollywood executives to make a great deal of money – again – by using the same basic idea. Usually, this lead to crappy productions and uninteresting plots; however, there is hope yet. Not all sequels bite. Furthermore, there are some that are so spectacular they outshine their predecessor. I’m guess you can think of a few, but here’s my list of 10 great sequels – and let’s get this out of the way: the matrix sequals bite, and I’m a fan. So, let’s not go there!
10. X2: X-Men United
The sequel to the original X-Men movie followed a pattern that’s become increasing popular, and is rarely done well. It built and expanded upon the original premise, but added new characters, plots, and storylines to make every aspect of this movie bigger and better. The addition of new mutant bad-guys really added an additional layer of danger to the franchise, resulting in a thrilling sequel that was better than the original. But X3.. not so much.
9. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Peter Jackson’s final instalment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy highlights everything that was good about the series and Tolkien’s original work. Aside from the awards won, the movie provides closure for a series of complex story lines wit hthe aid of amazing special effects and fantastic filmography. There are no shortcuts taken and the battle scenes are epic.
8. Spider-Man 2
By the time Sam Raimi‘s first Spider-Man film rolled around we were all aware of Spider-Man’s beginnings, and pretty much bored by the cartoon TV-series. The first film did an admirable job of explaining the origins of the charecter, but the second film focused on the inner turmoil of Spider-Man as he managed his day-to-day life while combatting a superior villain in Doctor Octopus. This makes for a better story and more entertaining tale than the original.
With a new director and still neing in production a week before being released to audiences, Aliens managed to pull through. James Cameron managed to take Ridley Scott’s original and add in enough action to accompany the terrifying horror scenes. Obviously, Sigorney Weaver is amazing and the rest of the cast fills out the movie nicely.
6. The Godfather II
The Godfather was brillian and some argue that The Godfather II was its equal, or even better. That’s a tough topic. Continuing the rise of Michael Corleone, The Godfather II also introduces us to Vito Corleone as a young man in Italy. The dual storylines of Vito’s arrival in America and rise as a mob leader is mirrored in Michael’s trials and tribulations and his time in Cuba. Any further comments are pointless.
5. Toy Story 2
Pixar isn’t known for their sequels, so the follow-up to the highly successful Toy Story was both a surprise and a success. Woody’s mid-life crisis creates an interesting story and introduces us to more new characters and locales in Pixar’s world. The recurring jokes work, the new characters are interesting and fun, and the humor is deep enough to entertain both adults and kids alike. Just watch it!
4. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
The first Star Trek movie was rather dull. I’m sorry, it was; sure, it was high on technology and exploration of themes popular in science fiction. But the truth is The Wrath of Khan was the better picture, and it’s not even close. Ricardo Montalban fills the role of Khan with vigor, the original cast remains in place – older and wiser. Fans probably hate me right now.
3. Terminator 2: Judgment Day
James Cameron piloted this long-awaited sequel to rousing success. One of my favorite movies ever, this one featured an amazing array of never-before-seen special effects. Combined with Arnold – my hero – and a great story built on the perceived madness of Sarah Connor, we get one of the best sequels ever made. Enough said!
2. The Empire Strikes Back
At the time of its release few one could have predicted the success of Star Wars. Older folks thoug it was lame and uninteresting, but the younger generation transformed this into a cult, right away. Three years later the sequel would emerge and expectations would be extremely high – to say the least. The darker storyline, the deepening of the characters, and the surprise twist of Vader being Luke’s father make it a fan favorite.
1. The Dark Knight
I’m not a Batman -movie fan. Previous movies have left me dissapointed, but this one.. is awesome! Christopher Nolan followed up Batman Begins with one of the best sequels ever made. Casting Heath Ledger as the Joker was a stroke of brilliance, but there are so many other reasons this movie is the best of Nolan’s trilogy. The supporting cast is underappreciated, there’s a bit of dark humor, the action scenes are well-done, the filmography is amazing, and the emergence of Two-Face as a secondary villain is handled well. But Joker’s monologue.. epic!