Sequels more often than not are pale imitations of an original movie. They studios sees dollar signs and tries to repeat the financial success of the predecessor. Giving little care to quality or originality.
However, every now and again a sequel comes along that not only gets the cash tills ringing but also raises the bar in a franchise. A sequel should expand on the original or turn it on it’s head. Listed below are 10 such movies (in no particular order).
Blade opened the door for Marvel superhero and proved that comic books could once again put bums on cinema seats. The first movie was good fun but didn’t live long in the memory.Enter Guillermo del Toro and you can see the effect a top class director has on a movie.
This time around the half Human – half vampire Blade (Wesley Snipes) has to join forces with a group of vampires named The Bloodpack who have been trained to kill him. As they pursue a common enemy played by Luke Goss (yes the guy out of Bros).
Del Toro gave both the characters and the action scenes a depth that would surely have been lacking had this genre movie been in the hands of a less capable director.
Evil Dead 2
Take a former wonder-kind director who after achieving huge success with his debt picture follows it up with a complete flop. What’s the next logical step? why making a sequel to his first hit of course!
The difference this time is that instead of making a horror movie sequel to a horror hit, this young pup turns the genre on it’s head and makes it a comedy instead.
Evil dead 2 made Bruce Campbell’s Ash into a horror movie icon and turned it’s star into a cult hero in his own right. This time around Raimi had a plan. He was no longer finding his feat has a director and had complete faith in his vision.
What we get this time around is a splat stick master piece with set piece after set piece that doesn’t give the audience a second to get comfortable.
If you haven’t seen it, you are missing a real treat.
The Bourne Ultimatum
The Bourne movies just got better and better with each movie in the series, until last years horrible Bourne Legacy. This leaves the third part and last to start Matt Damon as the high point in what is probably the most consistent movie trilogy put to screen.
Director Paul Greengrass has a unique ability to put you in the action so that you feel you are taking every punch and kick with the characters. While this technique is not to everyone’s taste it’s effectiveness can not be denied.
The highlight of all the Bourne movies has to be the scene were Bourne leads Paddy Considine’s terrified journalist through a crowded Waterloo station.
X2: X-Men United
Bryan Singer’s second X-Men movie manages to juggle it’s multiple characters, while still giving Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine a central role. Jackman is undoubtedly the star but it’s the supporting cast of Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen and Brian Cox who give the plot the extra weight needed to raise this above standard comic book fare.
Which is better ‘Alien’ or ‘Aliens’? this is a common debate and an unfair question.
Aliens while a direct sequel to Ridley Scott’s Alien feels like an entirely different movie. Scott’s movie was a Sci-Fi horror while James Cameron’s sequel is pure action/war movie.
Sigourney Weaver leads from the front this time as Ellen Ripley goes all action hero leading a group of commandos into battle against the seemingly perfect organic killing machines. we get to know every character just in time for them to meet their grisly demise. And we witness Ripley evolve from terrified victim into screen icon.
Motherhood has always played a part in the Alien universe from the computer in the first movie to Ripley going toe to toe with the xenomorph Queen. Weaver gives a magnificent performance as Ripley a woman who has out lived her own daughter and will do anything to protect her new surrogate one.
Toy story 3
Not only the best in the Toy story series but also the best in Pixars very impressive catalogue.
A story about growing up, friendship and letting go of the past. This is not only a perfect sequel but a perfect movie in it’s own right. It’s very easy when watching to not only forget that these characters are animated but also are supposed to be toys. You get so attached to Woody, Buzz and company that like Andy you just don’t want to see them go.
A modern masterpiece.
Terminator 2: Judgement day
Terminator 2 set a new standard for not only action pictures but also special effects. It was the dawn of the CGI era and while the effects haven’t quite stood the test of the time the liquid T-1000 villain is still one of the most terrifying in movie history.
James Cameron was on an uphill trajectory to T2 and has been on a downhill one ever since. Terminator 2 does exactly what a sequel is supposed to. It expanded on the mind bending time travelling premise established in the first movie while at the same time turning the conventions established in the first on it’s head. The damsel in distress had morphed into a kick ass action hero, the villain was now our hero and the new villain was small and slight of frame compared to the monstrous and intimidating cyborg from the first movie.
If you ever want to make a good movie again Mr Cameron please do, it’s more than welcome!
Mission: Impossible III
The Mission Impossible series had produce two decent action thriller movies but until JJ Abrams took over the movies lacked anything resembling Characters.
Abrams took the Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) character and this time made his mission personal. This gave the movie a whole new energy. The action scenes now had a real sense of danger, as there is more at stake than just the success of the mission.
Having Philip Seymour Hoffman as a scenery chewing villain helps too.
The Empire Strikes Back
It’s quite telling that the best Star Wars movie wasn’t direct by George Lucas, but that’s a different article. Empire Strikes Back follows further the adventures of Luke Skywalker, as he and the rebel alliance fight to bring down the Empire.
This time around, with the rules of the universe and the main characters already established. We get a full on action adventure picture with iconic characters introduced (Yoda) and one of the most famous plot twists I movie history.
The Godfather Part II
I know it’s a cliché, but the Godfather Part 2 is a truly great movie. It’s got Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino and Francis Ford Coppola all at the top of their game.
The plot follows Michael Corleone’s (Pacino) decent from family man to ruthless mob boss and contrasts it with his Father Vito’s (DeNiro) rise to power in Italy.
Deeper, darker and with a brilliant use of humour, this is probably the greatest comic book movie ever made. After the giantic success of Spider-Man, director Sam Raimi felt free from studio pressures and threw himself headlong into making the ultimate Peter Parker movie.
Everything you used to read in thought bubbles over Peter Parkers head in the comic book is now expressed on screen in the form of Tobey Maguire’s eyes and face. Maguire gives a sublime and subtle performance in a movie genre which is all about bigger being better.
Peter Parker has always been the most complex of the comic book heroes and this movie just nailed that complexity. what other hero is so burdened by the weight he carries that he would suffer performance anxiety issues?
The humour is tone perfect and never feels intrusive, the supporting cast is top notch and the action scenes have yet to be top with the train sequence still setting hearts racing every time its viewed. Even the opening title sequence is a thing of perfection.