Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Top 10 Best Sequels!

What Makes A Great Sequel?

When it comes down to it, the best sequels are dependent upon a few factors - primarily, who you are asking! Each person out there has a different idea of what makes a movie great and, as a result, will think that one sequel is better than another. No list of movie sequels is ever complete as it always seems to leave out someone else's favorite. Here is some criteria many use to evaluate sequels:

* A sequel must be something that picks up where the previous one left off. It must have some level of continuity to the story. What new element did the film bring to the table? If a sequel doesn't advance the plot and/or bring some new visual effect into play, it’s not going to be received well by the fans.

* Did too much change? Many fans relate that they hate sequels where everything has changed and the characters feel like totally different people. Especially when a movie is popular, a sequel changing things up too much can destroy how someone feels about the first movie.

* Is the film good on its own? If a film isn't that great, fans will not only be disappointed but quickly see the intentions behind the film; i.e. Hollywood making the sequel just to rank in more $money$.

Below you will see a list of sequels that are either equal to or surpass the first movie. This is my list of the Top 10 Best Sequels around.

Aliens (1986)
The first Alien film leaned more towards being a Sci-Fi suspense film in many ways, the second burst into a different direction as a balls to the wall action film. The film is just loaded with memorable scenes and fantastic one liners (“Game over man”). It was the first action film I’d ever seen that I could literally say had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. The film will hold up forever.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
With more toys to play with, James Cameron heightened both the effects (if Robert Patrick's T-1000 doesn't blow your mind, then hand in your movie going credentials) and the stakes; plus, a ripped Linda Hamilton remains one of the best female action heroes ever. To this day, almost 20 years later, the special effects still blow my mind. I absolutely love this movie!

Spider-Man 2 (2004)
I nearly lost my mind the first time I saw this flick. Just about everything a Comic Book movie should be. Great visual effects, terrific action, loads of wild cheer moments, fun, funny and characters who stick surprisingly well with the spirit of their comic book counterparts. Tragically overlooked in this film whenever it’s discussed is the performance of Alfred Molina as Doc Ock who brought that extra dimension to the film that Spider-Man 1 (as good as it was) missed. Such a shame Spider-Man 3 went completely to the pooper.

X2 (2003)
The first X-Men movie single handily resurrected the superhero genre movie after Batman Nipple Lord vs. Austrian Ice Ham” nearly single handily killed it several years earlier. X-Men 2 took it up a notch. Right from the incredible opening scene with Nightcrawler breaking into the White House to the end where we catch our first glimpse of the Phoenix (that only fans of the comic book recognized and freaked out over when the fiery shape came on the screen), X-Men 2 redefined just how good Comic Book movies could be. Too bad that can’t be said for the X-Men 3.

Toy Story 2 (1999)
The funniest thing about Toy Story 2 was that it was originally supposed to be a straight to video sequel, and that at some point the execs looked at it again and said “holy crap… this is actually turning out really well. Let’s release it in theaters!”. It’s a good thing they did. Not only did the film make nearly $500 million worldwide. And along with its predecessor, it holds a perfect 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Director Christopher Nolan did what many people thought couldn’t be done… he topped his own Batman Begins with a film broader in scope, deeper in story, more exciting in action all topped off with a classic villain given new incredible life by the single greatest performance ever in the history of comic book movies. The Dark Knight, while not perfect, delivered everything a Batman fan could have hoped for to send them home happy. The movie struck an obvious chord with comic and non comic book fans alike.

Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
It starts with a bang, a spectacular battle on Planet Hoth, builds to a fever pitch (Luke's first confrontation with Vader) and ends with our heroes' galaxy in utter turmoil. Han is frozen in carbonate, Leia is in love with Han, and Vader is Luke's father! Bless the Empire for striking back.

Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
The first Star Trek film just blew chunks, so to many at the time, a follow up film was a bit of a surprise. However, the idea behind the film was nothing short of pure genius. Going back and directly making the movie a sequel to AN INDIVIDUAL EPISODE of the TV show was a move that saved the franchise. Ricardo Montalban instantly became one of the greatest villains in movie history reprising the role of Khan. He owned that roll playing it flawlessly.

Addams Family Values (1993)
Sequels to comedy blockbusters, for some reason, never really seem to work. Sure, a couple of American Pie sequels and Naked Gun follow-ups may have generated a couple of laughs, but generally while the box office may go up, the laugh proportion usually goes down. But not with this movie. Addams Family Values is a tighter, funnier film than its predecessor, mostly in part and thanks to Joan Cusack’s character. She's definitely one of the best parts of the film. She cracks me up! It also devotes more time on Christina Ricci’s outstanding portrayal of Wednesday Addams, where she and her younger brother are forced to go to summer camp. Great movie! Great sequel!

Al Pacino is brilliant as Michael Corleone, who takes over as the head of the family after his father dies in the original, but its Robert De Niro's flashbacks as a young Vito Corleone, that makes "Part II" an outstanding sequel. In fact, De Niro received an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, and many would argue his back story as the young, calculating Vito Corleone is even more compelling than Pacino's present-day Michael. Regardless, Coppola's ability to seamlessly tell two disconnected stories at once is one of the film's many strengths. Well, that and having two of this generation's greatest actors anchoring the cast.

There you have it. My top 10 list of the best sequels that are either equal to or better than the first. This is definitely a topic of discussion and just about everyone on the planet will have a different list. So...

What best sequels makes your list?


krista said...

Addams Family Values! What a great film! Every word you said was right. Loved this list! A good sequel can be hard to come by.

Dave said...

I really liked these movies as well.

Borne Supremacy
Superman II (way better than the first)
Rocky II (ditto)

Joan said...

Can't eally say if I liked the sequels to those films. I did enjoy Star Wars IV better than Star Wars V, tho. Perhaps it was because it was such a new concept in film making/story line/characters. Godfather 2 wasn't my favorite at all, either. I didn't even like the Dark Knight, altho when Health Ledger was in it, the movie was great.

Aunt Janet said...

I agree with most of your choices. I didn't like Star Wars II and I never saw Alien I or II. Interesting choices, tho.

marfaw said...

Great choices, and ones I would have made. Except, years later, I don't find T2 as good as the original.

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