So I hear the Transformers sequel is pretty good….if “good” is defined as “sucks only slightly less than ‘Gigli’.”
I have a pretty dim view of sequels in general, mostly because the majority of sequels merely tries to cash in on the success of the first movie, rather than offering something new and original. The worst sequels, coincidentally, are those made after surprise indie hits like the excellent, creepy and claustrophobic “The Descent”—the follow-up gives us the very same storyline, disregards the ending of its predecessor, and negates everything that was laudable about the original.
There are exceptions to the rule, of course. A handful of sequels managed to expand on the narrative of the original and surpass the first movie in both impact and quality. The first and best example that pops into my head is Aliens, which took the horror template of its predecessor, and liberally blended it with military adventure, serving up a whole new meal instead of just reheating the leftovers from Alien. Other than that, however, there aren’t too many sequels out there that are as good as the originals, much less surpass them.
(To yank the “sucky sequel” stats back in line, the third and fourth movies in the Alien franchise were once again forgettable, unnecessary, and underwhelming, especially Alien 3, which starts by killing off two of the three main characters whose fight for survival was the core dramatic thread of Aliens. Way to alienate your fans right from the start.)
What other movie sequels are markedly superior to their predecessors?