There is always that fear when you go to watch a sequel that it will be terrible, a risk that could ruin the original for you entirely. Then there are the rare sequels that surpass all expectations, becoming your new favorites in the series. Let’s have a look at ten of the top movies that outdid there predecessors…
I am going to get this out of the way, because, this is one everybody seems to agree on except myself. Expanding from the suspenseful science fiction origins, Aliens asks the question, what if we set the xenomorph’s against a highly trained, futuristic, military outfit? The results are fantastic, proving the Aliens more than a creepy horror monster, but a formidable enemy to all of humanity. Ripley carries a much larger character arc than her terrified origins, to the point where she faces down the Alien Queen head on in the epic power loader exo-suit.
Gremlins 2: The New Batch-
This sequel is almost incomparable to the original Gremlins. Taking on a less serious tone and amping up what is possible for these curious creatures. The entire movie is carried by the Gremlins themselves, with the human characters being fodder for their tormenting. Highlighted by strange mutations that included vampires, spider-gremlins, a messed up dentist, and other such creepy images that popped in the creators mind. Lovable Gizmo even steps up his game with his Rambo-esque scenes, so tempted was I to slip him into my list of top archers because of this enjoyable film.
Terminator 2: Judgement Day-
Set eleven years after the original, the introduction of the vicious T-1000 is what put this franchise on the map. Creative eye-popping visual effects, and a strong story line separated this sequel from the original. Schwarzenegger’s terrible acting was built for the role of the T-800. His battles with the all powerful enemy and the bond built with young John Connor made this one of the most entertaining movies of its time.
Evil Dead 2-
Built as a parody/remake of its original, Evil Dead 2 took a new approach. The results proved to be a winner as this sequel has become one of the most loved cult classic films of the late eighties. The attempts made to make the original horror almost demanded a parody, especially when main character, played by fan favorite Bruce Campbell, was caught under a tiny bookshelf multiple times as his friends were taken out one at a time.
Captain America: Winter Soldier
The 2014 Marvel Studios production was just one of many surprise hits from the still young film company. Bringing Cap into modern day and pitting him up against his most close to home villain was the logical next step in this series. What was surprising wasn’t the exciting scene driving action, but that there was a well composed story behind it all. Elements of this film were essential in the telling of the overall Marvel Studios ongoing franchise, as oppose to the original film which had sketchy connections at best.
The Silence of the Lambs-
Be honest, at least half of you never even realized this masterpiece was actually a sequel. The follow up to 1986’s Manhunter, the second film is based of Thomas Harris’s novel of the same name. Highlighted with the brilliant acting power of Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins unforgettable role as the monstrous Dr. Hannibal Lecter. The Silence of the Lambs is one of the greatest executions of book to film out there.
Star Trek: Wrath of Khan-
Fitting as we celebrate Star Treks fiftieth anniversary this week, that we should discuss the very best film from the universe. Following up the Star Trek: Motion Picture disaster, Wrath of Khan worried less about the effects and eye appeal and returned to Star Trek origins of quality story telling. The results are timeless and a film even mortal enemy Star Wars fans have to admit is quality.
Dawn of the Dead (1978)-
A theme so far, for many of these sequels, is bigger is better. Though that may not always be true, in the case of George Romero’s 1978 Dawn of the Dead, it worked. More zombies, bigger sets, and deeper characters, helped this film become one of the quintessential zombie movies. A light hearted approach and thought provoking underline themes, this sequel spawned a franchise and a modern remaking, from director Zack Snyder in 2004.
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
Opening with one of cinemas most recognizable battles and ending with one of the biggest shock endings, it was Empire Strikes Back that showed the world Star Wars was here to stay. New characters such as Yoda, Boba Fett, and Lando Calrissian, quickly became fan favorites and expanded these films even further. Empire still stands strong as one of the greatest in a Star Wars franchise that crosses every media and boasts 7 major films, and still counting.
The Dark Knight-
Batman has one of the largest film franchises of any single character, rivalling that of James Bond. Whenever Batman’s most notorious villain, Joker, enters the picture fans tend to panic that it will not hold up. Well, the late Heath Ledger set a new bar, bringing the creepy clown to life. Added to a powerful story line and amazing cinematography, The Dark Knight has become one of, if not, the greatest comic book movies and/or sequels ever made.
Thanks booknerds, sequels week has been great.