Best Movie Sequels Of All Time
Here are out picks for the best movie sequels!
10. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
When searching for ideas for the follow-up to the mega-hit Raiders of the Lost Ark, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg wanted to do something very different for the sequel. They ended up going with a dark story which follows Lucas' own Star Wars trilogy which has the middle installment, The Empire Strikes Back, as the darkest entry of the three. This time we find the famed archaeologist in India taking on a mystical cult which enslaves children. From the opening song and dance number which becomes a thrilling chase to the final battle on the bridge, every moment is just as exciting as it's predecessor and much more gross. Most don't know that this is a prequel as it takes place before the events of Raiders which gives Harrison Ford a reason to act a bit differently as the treasure hunter who's after fortune and glory more than scientific discovery. Jonathan Ke Quan and Kate Capshaw make an excellent side kick and love interest who are very different from Sallah and Marion giving this film added freshness. There are a few call backs to the first movie, but they focus on fleshing out this world more, delivering even bigger thrills, more chills, and unique action sequences, making it one of the best sequels of all all time.
9. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Following the lackluster first film in the long-running Star Trek film series wasn't difficult as it's a pretty boring adventure overall. However, director Nicholas Meyer shocked fans of the sci-fi franchise with the second part of this series which brought back a foe from the past to terrorize the crew of the Enterprise. As Khan, Ricardo Montalban delivers a charismatic and horrifying performance giving each line of dialogue meaning and intensity. They action scenes are more thrilling than ever and the ship battle are so exciting you'd think you're watching Star Wars. However, the action heavy sequel still maintains the series signature philosophical themes which here include vengeance and sacrifice.
8. Spider-Man 2
After five films total starring the Web-Head, the second film in Sam Raimi's trilogy is still the best. Without being weighed down by having to tell the character's origin story, the creative team was able to let loose and bring audiences a story about a superhero who's ready to hang up the spandex and live a normal life. Of course, he can't stay out of costume for long as the city it threatened by a new villain, Doctor Octopus, who's actually Peter Parker's mentor Otto Octavius. Giving Spidey a personal connection to the bad guy is a great way of creative additional tension and drama and as they battle atop the subway in the film's most memorable and breathtaking action sequence, you really don't want either of them to win or lose. The climactic ending is both heartbreaking and joyous.
7. Mad Max: The Road Warrior
While George Miller's first film introduced the titular character's tragic backstory, the sequel was able to move forward and show us what life is like in the desolate wasteland of the future. Mel Gibson shines as Mad Max, a drifter and loner trying to survive, who comes across a group of people in dire need of help fighting off bloodthirsty gangs. In exchange for gasoline, Max reluctantly agrees and a battle for gas, survival and his soul begins. This one features memorable supporting characters like Feral Kid, Gyro Captain, Mez, and Lord Humungus, and some of the best and most impressive practical stunt work ever put on screen. The action is loud, heavy, and intense from the big battles to the crazy car chases. It's a throwback to westerns of the 60s, especially Clint Eastwood's Man with No Name who's also a man of few word much like Max, except this one trades the American West for Australia's future desert landscape, and instead of horses, they ride gnarly automobiles.
6. X2: X-Men United
Bryan Singer's second X-Men movie not only delivers a deeper story, more characters, and better action scenes, it also says more about society and humanity than any of the other films in the franchise. Hugh Jackman truly came into his own as Logan in this movie which focused in on his horrifying past and brought Colonel William Stryker to the forefront as the main villain who wants to see mutants eradicated. We get to see deeper relationships between characters like Rogue and Iceman, Cyclops and Jean Grey, and Magneto and Professor X. It's a well-paced film which includes several unforgettable action beats like Nightcrawler's attack on the White House and the fight between Wolverine and Deathstrike. The special effects are greatly improved here, but it's all in service of the story and characters.
5. The Dark Knight
Bringing Batman into the 21st century was the excellent origin movie Batman Begins, but with the next movie in Chris Nolan's trilogy he not only rebooted a popular character, but gave us the modern hero we needed. He's as determined as The Joker is crazy and will do whatever it takes to protect his city. Does he take it too far? Yes. However, that's what makes Christian Bale's Batman so great, he's flawed, unhinged, and relatable. The technology and gear he uses in this movie is awesome too and every action sequence packs a serious punch and feels so real, probably because they shot 90% of this movie practically on set. The Bat-Pod is a cool new version of the Bat-Cycle, and the costume is greatly improved as well. No more can be said of Heath Ledger's wonderful performance than has already been said, but Aaron Eckhart deserves more credit for bringing Two-Face to life as a three dimensional character. This remains one of the best superhero films of all time and just a solid sequel overall.
James Cameron is a master movie maker as evidenced by the fact that he has two films on this list. His sequel to Ridley Scott's brilliant sci-fi horror flick Alien is exhibit A when making a good sequel. It's got a similar look and feel to the original, however, it adds so much to change up the formula and make it a wholly unique experience. This one's a sci-fi war movie which brings a lot of action and more characters to the table. It's got great performances from the cast including Michael Biehn as reluctant leader Hicks, Bill Paxton as scared-to-death Hudson, Paul Rieser as selfish weasel Burke, Lance Henriksen as synthetic person Bishop, Carrie Henn as young survivor Newt, and Sigourney Weaver as the ultimate female lead. As Ellen Ripley, Weaver is incredible to watch in this film as she remains motherly and affectionate while also kicking tons of butt. This is the only good Alien sequel and should be seen right after you watch the first film.
3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Introducing the World War II super-soldier Captain America to the modern audience was a difficult challenge, but Joe Johnston, known for his adventure films like The Rocketeer and Jumanji, did so with poise. The more difficult challenge, however, came after the character was brought to the present in The Avengers and had to go on a solo mission as a spy in the modern surveillance state. Joe and Anthony Russo managed to keep Cap true to his values while reluctantly serving as an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. as he learns the peacekeeping organization been infiltrated by his former enemy, the Nazi-sect known as Hydra. In this Three Days of the Condor-type story, Cap and his friendships are tested as he goes on a personal vendetta to bring down Hydra while also discovering their top assassin may be someone important from his past. This movie brings the character to the modern world and challenges him at every turn both philosophical and physically. The action is exhilarating and the movie never lets off the gas from the stealthy boat raid to the last emotional fist fight. This represent Marvel Studio's best and it's an example of how superheroes can be reinterpreted for the modern era while staying true to their comic book origins.
2. Terminator 2: Judgement Day
Since he did it with someone else's franchise, why not his own? Delivering one of the best sequels ever made is again film auteur James Cameron with this follow-up to the movie that put him, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, on the map. The Terminator was released in 1981 and was much like 1979's Alien in that it was a sci-fi horror film about an unstoppable force chasing down two ordinary people who must fight for survival at every turn. In the sequel, Cameron does what he did with Aliens in 1986 by making this second film an action-driven, character-based sci-fi drama. Linda Hamilton gives an outstanding performance here and, like Ellen Ripley before her, is completely different from the woman we met in the first film as she has trained to become a weapon to defend her son, whom she believes will become the leader of the human resistance against the machines, at all costs. Arnold gives a much deeper and more layered performance here as he tries to understand emotion. The action in this film is astonishing from beginning to end and the effects are groundbreaking. It's a classic in it's own right and should be seen by everyone who likes movies.
1. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
The best sequel of all time is The Empire Strikes Back. Making a sequel to a worldwide phenomenon like Star Wars is not an easy task as expectations were no doubt high, but producer George Lucas, writers Lawrence Kasdan and Leigh Brackett, and director Irvin Kershner were up to the task. They delivered quite a different Star Wars film, but one that very much felt like it was in the same universe as the original. By opening the film with the big battle on Hoth they immediately set themselves apart, and ending the movie with a lightsaber duel which is both personal and emotional, further helped it stand out. The character are separated with Luke and R2 training with Yoda on Dagobah and Han, Leia, Chewy, and 3PO evading the Empire and it's bounty hunters on Cloud City with Lando Calrissian. The new characters are fun and memorable while the original cast get to development their characters further. Action sequences are stellar and the special effects are improved greatly here as well. It's got some of the best dialogue of any Star Wars movie ever, is very well-paced, and has includes the biggest, best and most shocking twist of any film in history. This is not just the best Star Wars sequel, but the ever period.