Movie sequels we like much better than the originals (and you should, too!)


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Movie sequels are often a step down from the originals. See 1983’s “Staying Alive,” a wholly unnecessary follow-up to “Saturday Night Fever.” The 1977 original influenced popular culture and produced a timeless soundtrack, but the sequel was directed by Sylvester Stallone and features lots of slow-motion shots of greased-up torsos. It’s ridiculously bad.

Still, some filmmakers defy the odds and make a sequel that edges out the original. In fact, sometimes, a sequel completely outclasses its predecessor. Here are ten examples of sequels that we like better than the movies that inspired them.

1. ‘Blade II’ (2002)

The original “Blade” starred Wesley Snipes as the titular vampire hunter, and it was goofy, forgettable fun. Its 2002 sequel, meanwhile, was much more imaginative than its predecessor due to the fact that it was directed by “The Shape of Water’s” Guillermo del Toro. Fans of his other movies, such as “Pan’s Labyrinth,” will immediately recognize his aesthetic.

2.‘The Dark Knight’ (2008)

For many people, 2008’s “The Dark Knight” is the greatest superhero movie of all time. It’s the sequel to 2005’s “Batman Begins,” but in reality it isn’t even a superhero movie. It has more in common with a crime thriller such as 1995’s “Heat,” the distinction being that in “The Dark Knight,” the symbiotic relationship between good guy and bad guy is played out by two men in funny costumes.

3.‘Dawn of the Dead’ (1978)

1968’s “Night of the Living Dead” singlehandedly kicked off the zombie apocalypse genre. A decade later, it got a sequel, “Dawn of the Dead,” and while it too had a low budget, they were able to shoot in color this time. It depicts a group of people hiding out from ghouls in a shopping mall, and it derives its very dark humor from its thinly veiled commentary on mindless consumerism.

4.‘Final Destination 2’ (2003)

The “Final Destination” franchise goes as follows – a group of teenagers are supposed to go die somewhere, someone has a premonition about it that prevents their deaths, but they just end up dying a little later thanks to some ludicrous Rube Goldberg situation. It’s utterly predictable, but the second entry in the franchise is the most creative and the least boring.

5. ‘The Godfather Part II’ (1974)

“The Godfather Part II” is regularly cited as a sequel that beats the original, amazing considering that the first movie is one of the greatest of all time. What sets this one apart is the unusual choice to make it both sequel and prequel, with half the movie taking place after the original and the other taking place decades before. The two timelines are interwoven in a way that few other movies have succeeded in duplicating, and the effect is chilling.

6.‘The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers’ (2002)

Peter Jackson’s sprawling retelling of the “Lord of the Rings” saga was split across three films to replicate the structure of the original books. 2001’s “Fellowship of the Ring” was a thrilling adventure that defied its three-hour running time, but the second movie, “The Two Towers,” got audiences invested for the long haul. Aside from introducing the Gollum character, it included the epic battle of Helm’s Deep, which can only be described as “complete mayhem.”

7.‘A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge’ (1985)

“A Nightmare on Elm Street” was a great horror movie with a simple premise. If you go to sleep, a dude in a sweater will kill you, which caused temporary insomnia in many filmgoers. While the sequel could have been a rehash of the original, the filmmakers gave it what Screen Rant called a “blatantly obvious” gay subtext, and somehow a lot of filmgoers were oblivious to it. Of all the movies in the franchise, it takes the most risks, and it’s the most interesting.

8. ‘Prey’ (2022)

“Prey” is the fifth installment in the “Predator” franchise, which started with the ridiculous but entertaining 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger original. The sequels that followed ranged from mediocre to unwatchable, but suddenly there was 2022’s “Prey,” a prequel that takes place on Comanche land in the 1700s. The story is unpredictable, the acting is top-notch, and the action sequences are thrilling. It’s almost too good for the franchise it belongs to.

9. ‘Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi’ (2017)

Okay, okay, let us explain. There are three “Star Wars” trilogies –original, prequel, and sequel. “The Empire Strikes Back” is on every list ever written of superior sequels, so we’re focusing on the sequel trilogy. 2015’s “The Force Awakens” was pretty unoriginal, but the follow-up, 2017’s “The Last Jedi,” was the complete opposite. Many fans hated it, but as time passes, “The Last Jedi” remains the most memorable and original entry in the sequel trilogy.

10.‘Toy Story 3’ (2010)

The “Toy Story” franchise began with the 1995 original and was followed in 1999 by a sequel that was more moving than its predecessor. 2010’s “Toy Story 3” blew them both out of the water and continued the grand Pixar tradition of delighting children and upsetting parents. If you watch it, keep the entire box of Kleenex to yourself, unless you’re not emotionally affected by themes of abandonment.

Editorial Note: This list was created based on the opinions of the author and editorial team. The choices presented are subjective and can vary depending on personal preferences and perspectives.