We are all familiar with the Law of Diminishing returns, right? (If not, check the link.) We also know that Hollywood would rather settle for diminishing returns of a tried and tired formula than take a chance on something new. It doesn’t matter if a film had a definitive conclusion with zero loose ends; if it made money, the studio will greenlight a sequel.
There have been so many bad sequels, with more being made every week, that we tend to forget that there have actually been good sequels. In fact, some of them are even better than their predecessor.
For the purposes of this list, we are only concerned with the first sequel, i.e.: no part 3’s, part IV’s, or beyond. In simplest terms, “Return of the Jedi” is not eligible.
Before you post your negative comments, let me explain my rationale. I based my list not on how well these movies stand alone on their own. I judged them on the difference in quality between itself, and its antecedent.
Here are some Honorable Mentions that almost made one or both of our lists:
“The Two Towers” (2002); “The Bourne Supremacy” (2004); “From Russia with Love” (1963); “Silence of the Lambs” (1991); “Desperado” (1995); “For a few dollars more” (1965); “Bride of Frankenstein” (1935); “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” (2013).
The Top Ten Movie Sequels that are Better Than the Original
- 10. Rambo: First Blood, Part 2 (1986)
- 9. Evil Dead II (1987)
- 8. X-Men 2 (2003)
- 7. Blade II (2002)
- 6. Christmas Vacation (1989)
- 5. Spider Man 2 (2004)
- 4. The Dark Knight (2008)
- 3. Aliens (1986)
- 2. Terminator 2 (1991)
- 1. The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
- 10. Mad Max 2, The Road Warrior (1981)
- 9. The Dark Knight (2008)
- 8. Superman 2 (1980)
- 7. Friday the 13th, Part 2 (1981)
- 6. The Godfather Part 2 (1974)
- 5. Terminator 2 (1991)
- 4. Toy Story 2 (1999)
- 3. Aliens (1986)
- 2. The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
- 1. Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
Before anyone accuses me of being a Trekker, I must state that I have still not have been able to sit through an entire viewing of Star Trek: The Motion Picture without falling asleep. The difference between SW Episodes IV & V is insignificant when compared to the chasm that separates ST1 & ST2.
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