Movie Sequels That Were Way Better Than The Original

Movie Sequels That Were Way Better Than The Original
    Everyone knows sequels are never as good as the originals — except that every once in
    awhile, they actually are.
    In fact, some sequels turn out to be even better than the films that preceded them.
    These sequels all surpassed the franchise installments they followed — and some are
    now considered classics in their own right.
    Spider-Man 2
    Sam Raimi's Spider-Man was great, but it was hampered by two things.
    First, it spent a lot of time telling Spider-Man's origin story before it got around to the main
    action.
    Second, they made some questionable choices regarding the villain.
    Willem Dafoe was an excellent choice for Norman Osborn, but his Green Goblin outfit looked
    pretty goofy, especially that Power Rangers-style goblin face.
    Spider-Man 2 solved the villain problem by hiring the spectacular Alfred Molina to play
    Doctor Octopus, a villain who doesn't wear a mask and also has a lot more pathos than
    the Green Goblin ever did.
    With the origin story already told and such a fantastic villain to work with, it's no
    surprise that this is the best movie in Raimi's trilogy.
    The Empire Strikes Back
    Star Wars: A New Hope is an incredibly fun movie, and it's no wonder it was a world-changing
    smash hit.
    But the follow-up, The Empire Strikes Back, manages to retain that sense of fun while
    introducing real drama, romance, and tragedy.
    A New Hope ends with a big victory, but Empire is a reminder that wars are long, and even
    after a major win you may find yourself on the run from a stronger opponent, wondering
    if winning the battle could still cost you the war.
    In addition to raising the narrative complexity, Empire also introduces important and interesting
    new characters like Lando Calrissian, Yoda, the Emperor and Boba Fett, who doesn't really
    do much other than look cool, but managed to earn a fan following anyway.
    And yes, it has a downer ending, but that sets up the even bigger triumph of Return
    of the Jedi.
    Captain America: The Winter Soldier
    Captain America: The First Avenger was one long origin story, taking Steve Rogers from
    a skinny Brooklyn kid to a World War II super-soldier, then transplanting him directly to the 21st
    century.
    Its sequel, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, took that time-displaced Cap and put him at
    the center of a very modern story.
    Like many of the character's best comics, Winter Soldier is all about how Steve Rogers
    comes from a simpler time and struggles adjusting to the complexities of the future.
    On top of all that, Winter Soldier makes great use of the Black Widow, introduces the Falcon,
    and even features a fight with Batroc the Leaper, a long time Marvel villain.
    Who, y'know, leaps and stuff.
    The Dark Knight
    Batman Begins has a lot going for it.
    Christian Bale poured a lot of energy into his dual roles as Batman and Bruce Wayne.
    The two villains brought some dark fun some dark fun to the movie, both representing a
    nihilistic worldview that destroys the world through a misguided desire to purify it.
    Then The Dark Knight came along and changed the whole game, thanks mostly to Heath Ledger's
    Joker.
    He gives what might be the best Joker performance of all time, and even though he's incredibly
    violent and destructive, he's certainly never grim.
    Despite the ugly makeup, Ledger is magnetic in every moment he's onscreen.
    Such a worthy villain makes this hands-down the best Christopher Nolan Batman movie, and
    one of the best Batman movies of all time.
    The Godfather Part II
    There are very few examples of a movie and its sequel both appearing on legitimate lists
    of the greatest films of all time, but the first two Godfather installments frequently
    do.
    The Godfather was more than just a gangster film, bringing a level of craft and depth
    that the genre had never even approached before.
    The Godfather Part II takes that complexity further, telling a story of family across
    two time periods simultaneously.
    The Godfather Part II is the continuing story of Michael Corleone, the previously sheltered
    son who has become as great a mafia leader as his father once was.
    But it's also the story of his father in the past, played here by Robert De Niro, a Sicilian
    immigrant in New York City who learns how things work in his new home, and how much
    there is to be gained from a life of crime.
    These halves mesh seamlessly into one whole, a rare achievement in cinema.
    The Road Warrior
    Mad Max is an interesting, low-budget film about a cop in a near-future dystopia who
    seeks revenge after his family is murdered.
    The Road Warrior takes that same character and builds a whole new world around him.
    What was once a collapsing society is now a full-on post-apocalyptic world.
    And while the first movie was about Max's life, The Road Warrior establishes him as
    a wanderer who reluctantly gets involved in the lives of others.
    Add in the now-iconic production design and costumes, and it's clear that The Road Warrior
    is the film that gave George Miller's world staying power as a classic sci-fi franchise.
    Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
    In 2011, the Planet of the Apes franchise was rebooted with Rise of the Planet of the
    Apes, a sci-fi drama that focuses on the very first intelligent ape, Caesar — played through
    motion-capture by Andy Serkis — and his relationship with the human who raised him,
    played by James Franco.
    It sets the stage for the downfall of humanity and the rise of the apes, but it doesn't quite
    get there.
    By Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, set ten years later, things have progressed, to say
    the least.
    This is the story of humans who have lost control of the Earth, and their growing conflict
    with the increasingly intelligent apes.
    While Rise may have been the key to the way this saga began, Dawn is where it really gets
    exciting.
    Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan
    Bringing Star Trek to the big screen was a great idea, but even the most diehard Trekkers
    will admit that Star Trek: The Motion Picture was kind of a mess.
    The costumes and production design weren't much to look at, the plot was lifted from
    an episode of the TV show, and at a runtime of more than two hours, the whole thing seemed
    to move at a glacial pace rather than warp speed.
    Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was where they figured out how to make a Star Trek movie
    work, returning Ricardo Montalban to his role as the villainous Khan and introducing important
    new characters.
    Director Nicholas Meyer also brought the whole thing in at under two hours with plenty of
    action and sci-fi awesomeness along the way.
    Ask any Star Trek fan what their favorite movie in the franchise is and they'll usually
    only have one answer:
    "KHAN!"
    Addams Family Values
    1991's The Addams Family was a surprisingly successful adaptation of the classic TV show,
    and 1993's Addams Family Values took that success to even greater heights.
    First of all, the sequel takes Wednesday and Pugsley to summer camp, where their encounters
    with more conventionally normal children provide some of the most memorable gags in either
    movie.
    Also, most of the first movie is occupied with a conceit that Uncle Fester is being
    impersonated by a con artist, until he turns out to have been the real Uncle Fester all
    along at the end.
    In the sequel, we know he's Fester from the beginning, so Christopher Lloyd can fully
    occupy the role in a way he didn't get to the first time around, and his relationship
    with Joan Cusack's black widow, Debbie, is a particular highlight.
    Plus, it brought us this immensely quotable exchange:
    "You...are...Mister Debbie!"
    "I am an Addams!"
    "Fester!"
    X-Men 2
    Bryan Singer's first X-Men movie came out in a time when superhero movies weren't a
    sure thing yet, and in retrospect it's hard not to notice that it hedges its bets, posing
    as more of a Matrix-esque sci-fi film.
    X-Men 2 is infused with far more confidence.
    It makes the X-Men feel more like superheroes, even if they still wear black leather.
    It expands the roles of Iceman and Pyro, introduces Nightcrawler, and brings the first movie's
    major villains, Magneto and Mystique, into an uneasy alliance with the X-Men against
    a much bigger threat.
    All of this goes a long way toward building the kind of complex world and layered character
    dynamics that made the comics such a big hit for so long.
    It also just makes a lot more sense than the first film, foregoing the "deadly device at
    the top of the Statue of Liberty" silliness for a more believable threat of mutant extermination
    at the hands of bigotry.
    Back to the Future 2
    Back to the Future is a fun movie about a teen from the '80s visiting his teenaged parents
    in the '50s.
    But Back to the Future Part 2 actually tells a complex sci-fi story about the nature of
    time travel that the first movie didn't even attempt.
    "Roads?
    Where we're going, we don't need roads."
    In the second movie, Marty goes to the future, then returns to the present — only to find
    that it's been altered because of their actions.
    That means he has to go back to the past again to set things right.
    That third segment features scenes from the original film from different angles, as Marty
    does his best to make sure the plot of the first movie happens as it was meant to.
    It's a wild ride.
    "Talk about deja vu."
    Terminator 2: Judgment Day
    The seven years between 1984's The Terminator and 1991's Terminator 2: Judgment Day marked
    a huge evolution in special effects, and an increased budget made utilizing those state-of-the-art
    bells and whistles possible.
    In The Terminator, the antagonist is a robot in human form who's come from the future to
    kill Sarah Connor before she gives birth to a son.
    In Judgment Day, that robot has been reprogrammed to protect Sarah and her son from a more dangerous
    model of Terminator.
    But the T-1000 isn't just a robot in human form, it's a shapeshifting killer made of
    liquid metal that can take the form of anyone.
    The development of CGI "morphing" technology made the T-1000 possible, and it was mind-blowing
    at the time — and even holds up as pretty impressive today.
    Add in an amazing, engaging plot, and this sequel outmatches its predecessor.
    Blade II
    The biggest reason Blade II is much better than the first Blade is simple: Guillermo
    del Toro.
    The Mexican director was still mostly unknown in the U.S. when he was hired to direct the
    second film based on the Marvel Comics vampire hunter.
    The story of the sequel is pretty similar to that of the first movie, but del Toro brings
    a level of style that really makes Blade II something special.
    The complex fight scenes, Blade's reluctant vampire allies, and the super-vampires known
    as Reapers, are by far the best in any of the three Blade movies.
    Evil Dead 2
    Evil Dead is a ridiculous film by accident.
    Thanks to a low budget and the off-kilter sensibilities of director Sam Raimi and star
    Bruce Campbell, it turns out to be something much weirder than your average horror movie.
    In Evil Dead 2, Raimi embraced that weirdness and made full use of Bruce Campbell's comedic
    abilities to make a delightfully bizarre horror comedy that starts in the same cabin in rural
    1980s America and ends in medieval Europe.
    Everything that came after — Army of Darkness, Ash vs. Evil Dead, the darker Evil Dead remake
    — all happened because of the slick, tongue-in-cheek self-awareness of Evil Dead 2 far more than
    the low-budget original Evil Dead.
    After all, Ash isn't really Ash until he replaces his severed hand with a chainsaw, and this
    is the film where that happens.
    "Groovy."
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