Annlyel explores the best Hollywood sequels of all time! How many make your list?
It’s hard to make a good movie but it’s REALLY hard to make a good sequel to an already incredible movie. How many times have you watched a film and loved it only to watch its sequel and wind up incredibly disappointed?
Speed 2, Mission: Impossible: 2, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Rush Hour 3, Bad Boys 2, all of those horrendous Disney classics sequels, the list could go on and on but I’ll leave it here. You get the message. There are a lot of sequels that can really bust your bubble.
Today, I wanted to list five movie sequels that have done the near-impossible; being incredible.
The Dark Knight
Christopher Nolan’s first crack at the iconic Dark Knight in Batman Begins was an enjoyable debut that left people riveted and thoroughly pleased with this new take on this character. Then, three years later, The Dark Knight arrived.
With the psychotic machinations of The Joker sending the film on a downward spiral that provides plot twist after plot twist no other comic book movie has come close to the impeccable storytelling of this outstanding film. It’s my second favorite film of all time because it is so incredibly crafted and with a phenomenal cast to play all of the characters (specifically Heath Ledger and Christian Bale) to inject a sense of perfection into the movie, The Dark Knight is clearly one of the greatest movie sequels of all time.
In 1979, people were introduced to a terrifying xenomorph that would freak out the masses as it killed everyone aboard the Nostromo except for the incredibly resilient Ripley, played by icon Sigourney Weaver. The first film of its kind; nothing has been able to surpass the horror that this science-fiction film so easily displayed.
Seven years later, James Cameron (The Terminator) took the story provided by ALIEN and dialed the suspense up to an 11 with a plotline focused on a militaristic, action-packed rehash of the story that had come before. People died gruesome deaths, terror was palpable, and Sigourney Weaver was the epic heroine that she was in ALIEN, only this time with even greater weaponry and bravery.
If you liked ALIEN you’ll love ALIENS.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Captain America’s debut in the MCU was through a mediocre outing. Captain America: The First Avenger has managed to grow on me over the years but it’s still clearly one of the least good MCU movies.
Three years later, its sequel, The Winter Soldier, entered theaters and blew the socks off of nearly everyone who watched it. At the time of The Winter Soldier I wasn’t a Captain America fan–far from it–but it wasn’t ten minutes into the movie when I knew this was a different version of the character that I had grown to despise. The Winter Soldier is viewed by many as one of the greatest superhero movies of all time and the best Marvel movie so far, even past fan favorites such as Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Endgame and Infinity War, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Black Panther.
Acting as an espionage thriller, The Winter Soldier leaves its viewers on a rollercoaster ride of plot twists that, by the film’s conclusion, leave one completely dazzled and ready to watch the film a second time. As the Russo Brothers’ debut into the MCU, it was clear that they knew how to tell a riveting story that wasn’t just a hodgepodge of fancy action scenes but managed to be emotionally complex as well.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
The Terminator is one of the greatest science-fiction films ever made. No doubt about it. And as the years pass by the concept of this movie becomes more and more genius as artificial intelligence truly dominates our every day.
So, yes, The Terminator is already an amazing movie, but James Cameron returned seven years later with a sequel that was even greater. Arnold Schwarzenegger returns as a hero rather a villain, Robert Patrick plays the scariest version of the Terminator that we’ve seen in the franchise and Linda Hamilton does an incredible job portraying the persistently tough yet understandably traumatized Sarah Connor once more.
This movie will have you on the edge of your seat in often terrifying suspense and yet still manages to make you laugh along the way.
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
When A New Hope was made no one expected it to become a global phenomenon. The story of a young farm boy who becomes a galactic hero, however, grasped the hearts of millions and made kids (and adults) believe that anything was possible as they were transported to a galaxy far, far away. George Lucas wasn’t finished yet though.
With A New Hope‘s booming success, George Lucas went ahead with his sequel and what was already an incredible movie became an instantly legendary franchise. The Empire Strikes Back took everything everyone loved about A New Hope and dialed up the story astronomically, ending the film with a massive plot twist that no one could’ve seen coming.
Learning that Darth Vader was Luke’s father is still, in my opinion, the greatest plot twist in cinema history. Nothing has managed to surpass it no matter how hard moviemakers have tried. The Empire Strikes Back was such a perfect sequel that it is still studied for its impeccable storytelling. Look at Infinity War, The Last Jedi, and even Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald for that matter. Every single one of these films has been compared to The Empire Strikes Back for their darker storytelling and while none of them are near the prowess of The Empire Strikes Back (well, Infinity War is pretty close) it’s still a blatant reminder how incredible this Star Wars sequel really is, even 39 years after its release.
“The Force is strong with this one.”
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Annlyel James is a prolific Staff Writer for Future of the Force. She is passionate about Star Wars and Marvel but loves a wide variety of movie genres. Follow her on Twitter @annlyeljames where she channels the Force frequently!