It seems like anybody who’s somebody has been complaining about Hollywood’s obsessions with reboots, remakes, and the dreaded sequels. Nearly every time we see a movie, somebody is sure to groan “That’ll probably get a sequel; Hollywood loves bleeding things dry.” Sure, sometimes that annoying guy who always complains is right, some sequels are horrible. However, sometimes it turns out that those sequels Hollywood keeps churning out far surpass expectations and even turn out better than the originals.
With a little help from Reddit, I’ve put together a list of what I believe to be five sequels across genres that are better than the original (and it just so happens, some of these movies happen to be some of my favorite movies of all time as well)!
5. The Conjuring 2
I’m typically not a horror fan. I just don’t really like all of the gore and, well, the scares that are involved in watching a horror movie. However, despite being terrified for the majority of the movie, I loved The Conjuring 2. It seemed nigh impossible to improve upon the greatness that is The Conjuring, but after a rather forgettable spin-off entitled Annabelle, I was unsure of what to expect from the sequel.
It was well acted (special props to child actress Madison Wolfe who gave life to one of the most horrific children I’ve ever seen), spine-chilling visuals, and excellent direction under seasoned horror veteran James Wan. Overall, the movie is a wonderful piece of cinema, easily earning it’s fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes as well as, in my opinion, improving upon the original.
4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Anybody who knows me, knows I absolutely love superhero flicks. I’ve seen pretty much every superhero themed movie to date, but this has got to be one of my favorites. While the original Captain America: The First Avenger was a fun movie, it seemed cheesy and easily predictable in several spots. The Winter Soldier, however, gave us complex subject matter, an interesting political and social commentary, a relevant villain (in the omnipotent Hydra as well as the Winter Solider), and some of the best fight choreography in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I’m in no way bashing the original, but there are few superhero movies that are better than Winter Soldier
3. Shrek 2
Shrek is a beloved classic of the early 21st century, for those of us who were really growing up in the early 2000s, Shrek was one of those movies you had to love in order to be part of the “cool” crowd (and for good reason too). However, Shrek 2 is truly the better of the two. Smarter jokes, a more interesting plot, and the addition of some of the greatest animated characters ever (looking at you Puss in Boots), the sequel took what Shrek had to offer and upped it by a couple of notches.
Unfortunately for the Shrek series, things went downhill after Shrek 2. The third installment is anything but great, the fourth is horrible, and now we have confirmation a fifth installment is in the wings. However, I also have quite the soft spot for Shrek, as had the opportunity to play the “White Rabbit” and a “Duloc Dancer” in Shrek the Musical a couple of years ago.
2. The Empire Strikes Back
In what has to be one of the greatest sci-fi franchises of all time (unless you’re a diehard Trekkie), the second installment to the Star Wars original trilogy is phenomenal. Some of the most memorable parts of the series take place during this movie; most notable when Darth Vader tells Luke, “No, I am your Father” (Do I need to put a spoiler warning?)
When talking about sequels, it’ll be hard to find somebody that doesn’t agree Empire is, if ever so slightly, better than A New Hope. Empire essentially did everything A New Hope did, but better. Action was more intriguing, relationships got a whole lot more interesting, and that huge twist (by far the biggest twist in cinematic history) has left audiences raving for decades. It’s no wonder that Star Wars fans keep asking for more (even after the atrocity that was The Phantom Menace).
1. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
You know you’ve made a good sequel when it wins a record-shattering 11 Oscars. In what is unarguably the best fantasy trilogy out there, the third installment in the Lord of the Rings is hands down one of the greatest movies ever made. Period. Not only does it do a fantastic job as a sequel that improves upon the original, it does so with such grace and poise its almost unbelievable. It is the only fantasy movie to ever to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards and it’s currently ranked as the 8th best movie of all time on IMDb. Clearly, director Peter Jackson and the rest of the people responsible for this movie knew what they were doing.
In a market full of sequels, its good to know that sometimes its worth it to give the seemingly pointless sequel a chance. Who knows, perhaps that sequel will go on to win 11 Oscars (though that’s actually highly unlikely, but not impossible). What are your favorite sequels? What did I forget? Should Hollywood stop making sequels? Let us know in the comments below!
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