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Published on July 30th, 2009 | by Darren & Lottie

18

Two Sheets To The Wind: Top 5 Sequels*

*Sequels to include prequels, sequels, volumes, installments and parts.*

Intro

It’s almost guaranteed these days that if the Movie merchants in Hollywood happen upon a  decent movie with even the slightest prospect of a franchise, that a sequel will be gracing the screens faster than you can say sell your soul to the devil for a handful of poppycock.

For instance, how many more Saw movies can they bang out before the accept that they killed of the star in number 3? And who on middle earth thought Highlander needed a sequel? And Deuce Bigalow:European Gigolo? Why?

However, now and then they get it right and follow up with an offering worthy of it’s forerunner and once or twice a sequel has been known to outshine the original.

Lottie’s Top Five Sequels*

5. Superman II (1980)

“And now… finally. Take my hand and swear eternal loyalty to Zod.”

#5 had started out as Toy Story 2 but as I considered the reasons, I realised that Superman II is probably the better sequel. It’s darker that the original and has more layers to the the story line.  It also has some bad-ass villains, which always helps.

Coincidentally, belated happy birthday to Terrence Stamp who was 70 last week.

Can someone confirm for me if Toy Story 2 is Pixar’s only sequel?

4. The Dark Knight(2008)

“You know, you remind me of my father.”

The Dark KnightThis was a toss up between Batman Returns (1992) and The Dark Knight. I would have had them both but decided against having two movies from the same franchise in the list. Batman Returns has a great concentration of bad-guys. Cat Woman( I know, Michelle Pfeiffer in a PVC suit), The Penguin (amazing performance by Danny DeVito) and the often forgotten Max Shreck played by Christopher Walken.

However, after some consideration Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight has to take the prize. It just blew my mind. I was looking forward to it.  I expected great things but with all sequels one must keep a leash on their expectations to avoid bitter disappointment, Transformers 2 case in point.  But Nolan did what most people didn’t think could be done. He outdid himself and the previous Batman Begins.It had it all, super action, a quality script, great characters and some quite brilliant performances. it even went so far as to ditch Mrs. Cruise. Let’s just forget about “the voice”.

3. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

“Come with me if you want to live!”

Seven years after the original James Cameron found himself with a much anticipated sequel and a whole load of new toys and effects to play with.  The effects used for the T-1000 still impress to this day. Pumped to the max with action, it also has one of the best chase scenes of all time between the motorbike & the truck. A scene which the Matrix Reloaded attempted to emulate.

I also had a giant crush on Edward Furlong at the time but that is of very little consequence these days.

2.  Dawn of The Dead (1978)

“When there’s no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth.”

Hey! It is a sequel or part of a great franchise at the very least. Dawn of the Dead followed a decade after Romero’s 1968 kitsch classic ‘Night of the Living Dead’ and had an entirely different, unnerving feel to it. It set the standard for Zombie movies which has, in my opinion only been challenged by such films as 28 Days Later and Dawn of The Dead (the remake).

1. Die Hard With A Vengeance (1995)

Hot town, summer in the city.”

Arguably better than the first, second and fourth installment and not purely because it has the ever brilliant Samuel L Jackon as John McClane’s side-kick. The comedic chemistry between Willis and Jackson combined with Jeremy Irons, a witty script, brain-teasers, a decent the heist plot and sharp special effects makes this not only top of my list of sequels but also one of my favourite movies of all time.

Before you all come screaming back demanding to know why The Godfather II and The Wrath of Khan didn’t make my list, I haven’t seen them. Simple as.  And as for The Empire Strikes Back, quite frankly I thought Return of the Jedi was a much better movie.

Honourable Mentions:

The Bourne Supremacy, Kill Bill II, Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban, Rocky II (this is a judgment free zone), Aliens, X-Men 2, The Adams Family Values, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 – Dream Warriors, and Gremlins 2.

Intro Part 2: Revenge of the Intro

Sequels are an integral part of Hollywood. Without them studios, in many cases, wouldn’t have the money to survive. What would New Line have been without Freddy Krueger? And while sequels are perfectly acceptable in the horror genre, or even for the big Summer Blockbusters, sometimes it’s painfully pointless. Can anyone explain the thinking behind the upcoming S. Darko (sequel to the brilliant Donnie Darko) or the daft 20-years-after-the-original Blues Brother 2000? Even the upcoming Wall Street sequel has me scratching my head (though both Oliver Stone and Michael Douglas are on board) – the subtitle is Money Never Sleeps. WTF?

Sometimes they do get it right though. I’ll admit that Lottie’s list is a good one. Die Hard with a Vengeance, Terminator 2 and, of course the Dark Knight are followups that build upon and even rival the greatness of the originals. But there’s so many more movies that could be on my list of Top Movie Sequels.

Darren’s Top Five Movie Sequels*

There’s an argument to be made that The Silence Of The Lambs is a sequel to Manhunter. This would definitely reach the top five list. But I’m eliminating it from the running – Lambs was the first time we saw the true Hannibal Lecter. It’s no sequel. Similarly, I’m discounting the new Star Trek movie. It’s a reboot/remake, not a sequel.

5. Once Upon a Time in Mexico

“Are you a Mexi-CAN or a Mexi-CAN’T?”

Fifth place is a tough one, as usual. I know what I want at number 5, but there’s so many that were just pipped at the post. The franchise highs of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Mission Impossible 3 and Dark Knight. Even Addams Family Values deserves a mention, if only for one of the finest child performances on screen – the dry and hilarious Wednesday Addams (Christina Ricci).

El Mariachi (Antonio Banderas), the hero of Rodriguez’s El Mariachi and Desperado, is back, and this time he’s out for revenge. He wants to assassinate General Marquez, the man who killed his beloved wife Carolina (Salma Hayek) and their daughter. When a shady CIA agent (Johnny Depp) comes to El Mariachi with a proposal that’s too good to refuse, he agrees to eliminate Marquez. This is just one part of an attempt by a drug lord (Willem Dafoe) to destabilize and topple the regime of the current president (Pedro Armendariz). I think that’s it. To be honest, Robert Rodriguez’s Once Upon a Time in Mexico is a mess, but what a glorious mess it is. It’s more a series of wonderfully cool moments strung together with a flimsy plot and it’s so good that all its shortcomings are easily forgiven. With a spectacular supporting cast including Johnny Depp in one of his best roles, Mickey Rourke in a career rejuvinating weird turn, an underused Willem Dafoe, Eva Mendes, a surprisingly effective Enrique Iglesias, and the always reliable Cheech Marin, Mexico is a sequel that takes the bare bones of its predecessors and weaves a gorgeous tapestry of cool chaos.

4. Terminator 2: Judgement Day

“Your foster parents are dead.”

Sarah ConnorsI was hoping to have a list completely different to Lottie’s, but to leave this film out of my top sequels would be a criminal offense. Terminator 2: Judgement Day. The subtitle alone is epic in scale. Many sequels just take the original movie and rehash it in a different location (Die Hard 2, for example, should just be ignored when remembering the legacy of John McClane), but Terminator 2 takes the premise of the original and creates a stronger story, with brilliant character develpment (Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connors is the second greatest female character on the big screen, after Ellen Ripley of course). Even Arnie’s solid, unstoppable machine develops a lighter, softer side, charged with protecting the future leader of the resistance, John Connor. It’s Schwarzenegger in his best role, an emotionless cyborg acting out the part of a foster father – he’s impressive, hilarious, almost touching. And then director James Cameron introduced us to a steely cold bad guy, in the form of Robert Patrick. You truly believe he cannot, will not be stopped.

3. Back to the Future II

“Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.”

Picking up literally as the first movie ends, this effects-laden sequel sends Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox), Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd), and a souped-up DeLorean on a new time travelling adventure. In the present (1985), Doc Brown returns from the future with the news that in 2015 Marty’s teenaged son is about to make a criminally bad decision. Determined to keep it from happening, Marty joins Doc on a trek to the future. Thanks to a mindboggling time-paradox-wielding script, we are treated to a hilariously kitch vision of the future, a revisit to the wonderfully realised 1955 from the first film and a dystopian re-jigged 1985. Though the effects in this film are impresssive, it’s the film’s pace that gives it a fresh punch, allowing it to stand out from the original movie. It’s funny, exciting and is a true sequel, in that it continues the first film, rather than retell it. The best way to watch Back to the Future is to watch all three back-to-back, with only a bathroom break to disturb the viewing.

2. The Godfather Part II

“I know it was you Fredo. You broke my heart. You broke my heart!”

The film is both a sequel and a prequel to The Godfather, chronicling the story of the Corleone family following the events of the first film while also depicting the rise to power of the young Vito Corleone. Robert De Niro gives a perfect, subtle performance as the young Vito, while Pacino plays the greatest role of his life as we see Michael Corleone attempt to expand the family business. In him we get to see the tough decisions that have to be made and their consequences. Pacino, often without saying a word, perfectly displayed the amount of thought and struggle that goes into and comes out of every action you make – it is a character study unsurpassed on film.

1. Aliens

“My mommy always said there were no monsters – no real ones – but there are.”

James Cameron knows how to do sequels. Before he pumped fresh blood oil into Terminator, he was set loose on the follow up to Ridley Scott’s sci-fi horror Alien. Scott’s Alien was a haunted house in space. It was dark, eery, tense and there was no escape. Cameron’s sequel is not a horror,  but a sci-fi actioner. The slow, tension building pace of the first movie is replaced by a quick, non-stop action packed frenzy in AliensSigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley is at her best in this film. She’s ready for anything – a female Rambo,  she is the greatest female charcater to appear on film. Cameron is an extremely talented action director because he not only knows great action, but he can back it up with solid storytelling and interesting characters. The supporting cast includes Michael Biehn, Bill Paxton and, as a disturbing beurocratic bad guy, Paul Reiser. And of course, there’s the Aliens. As the film progresses, they get closer and closer and more numerous, building to one of the greatest action movie endings.

Dishonourable Mention

And where’s the love for Short Circuit 2?

“Los Locos kick your ass
Los Locos kick your face
Los Locos kick your balls into outer space”

Yes, I am joking.

So, what are your favourite movie sequels? Are we wide of the mark or do you agree with our lists? Come on, get commenting.

The End

or is it?

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About the Author

The couple that blogs together, stays together. Check out here and here for other posts by Darren. Click here and here for posts by Lottie.



18 Responses to Two Sheets To The Wind: Top 5 Sequels*

  1. Gotta love T2 and The Dark Knight…can’t think of two more perfect sequels.

  2. rubot says:

    Kudos for Back To The Future 2, its a proper continuation of the first and whizzes along.

  3. Niall says:

    Spidey 2 needs some love. Die Hard 2 was better than 4. At least it was tense.

    LOTR 2 & 3 were awesome.

    The Godfather Part 2 is the single greatest sequel of all time and close to being the single greatest movie.

    I’d go:
    1. The Godfather Part II
    2. Aliens
    3. Terminator 2
    4. X-Men 2
    5. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

  4. hugo fitzpatrick says:

    There are too many great sequels to include, if anything a top 5 is too small.

    However i have to at least give honourable mentions to the following:

    Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan; “Revenge is a dish best served cold”

    Star Trek 6: The Undiscovered country; “There is an old Vulcan proverb which says only Nixon can go to china”

    Star wars “episode V”: The Empire Strikes Back;

    The only good star wars movie and it WASNT directed by Lucas, hence making it superior.

    Ace Venture 2: When Nature Call’s: Jim Careey’s ONLY sequel, and well worth it for a chuckle.

    Scream 3; The low and high points of the previous movies come together in what is a well thought out self parody that has all the same jumps you expect from such a weak but iconic horror franchise.

    Ghostbusters 2: New York spirit, wit, more gastly ghouls and the statue of liberty, well worth it.

    Home Alone 2: _______?; The same hi-jinks but taken to new york. Slapstick galore and the acting ability of a classic young star showcased once again.

    Clear and Present Danger: Forget Patriot games or any of the other ones, this one made sense! THis one was believable and it wasn’t for the sake of an action movie. And the car chase/execution, an often forgotten and classic sequence.

    Three Men and A little Lady: Not a big drama movie, not a classic action movie or taut Thriller, but a classic family movie and great comedy. One of select bunch of 80’s franchise’s that still has yet to get a 20 year later pointless sequel, but it almost deserves it.

    Lord of the rings: The Two Towers; Helms Deep, FULL STOP! Forget the 3rd one though, what a disapointment.

    Naked Gun 33 1/3 The Final Insult; Okay so ALL of the gags from Police Squad were used up in the previous movie’s but somehow this 3rd instalment still carries a hilarious bag of tricks.

    Airplane 2: The Sequel: It may not be the same team but it is the same characters and actors. With a hilarious self parody from William Shatner. The “ssshhh” sequence alone being a classic highlight.

    From Russia With Love: It may be a bond but as a movie it is stageringly brilliant. This owe’s a lot to its cold war tensions and length. It could do without the gypsy knife fight but the bad guy being caught out because he ordered Red whine with fish? Classic!

    Honey i blew up the baby: Just for the name alone it deserves at least a nod, but i doubt it will last much longer than my generation, a very 90’s movie.

    Back to the Future 3: I love this movie more than the others. Maybe because of the Canon nod’s to the rest but also the whole Clint Eastwood and Jules Verne nod’s and rip offs.

    The Good the Bad and The Ugly: Best western EVER.

    Henry the 5th: Kennath Branagh’s at that. It’s a classic. The St Crispin Day’s speech is brilliant. Now i know it was a once off adaptation but it is a sequel to the 2 part Henry IV so for that alone it’s pretty good.

    Sequels that were a mistake:

    Grease 2
    Aliens 3
    Land before time 2-13
    The entire Critters franchise
    Home Alone 3-4
    Honey we Shrunk Ourselves
    Childs Play 3 onwards….
    Star Wars Return of the Jedi
    Star wars Episode 1 the Phantom Menance
    Star Trek V The Final Frontier: Although “what does god need with a starship” is a legendary line.

  5. Maxi Cane says:

    Both great lists and honorable mentions.

    Bad Boys 2 deserves a mention too me thinks.

    Wayne’s World 2 could have gone without being made.

    But the second Austin Powers movie was brilliant.

  6. Séamus says:

    Good blog topic. Hmm.
    Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers was dramatic, had a great triumphant ending.
    Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban
    was my favorite of the films so far, told so much of the total story background.
    Terminator 2 for the mood [L.Hamilton]
    Dark Knight for Ledger’s performance.
    Kill Bill II for the performances sans violence.

  7. Darragh says:

    Planet of the Apes surely deserves a mention? Ditto on the Star Wars (especially Jedi) and Star Trek movies. Predator 2 another one. Spider-Man 2 was decent. The two Indy moves (haven’t seen Skull yet), Mad Max II, Road Warrior was incredible for its time, The Bourne Supremacy was just great fun, Dawn of the Dead is one of those movies that pops into my head every time I hear the word sequel, Kill Bill 2 was an interesting one, I queued for X-Men 2, loved Beverly Hills Cop 2 and even National Lampoons National Vacation, which someone had compared to Little Miss Sunshine recently – quite true! And then you have Karate Kid, Gremlins and so on…

    Bad sequels? Ghostbusters 2. *shudder*.

  8. Anthony McG says:

    😆 at the Short Circuit 2 reference.

  9. Peter says:

    Well yet again another great topic. One sequel I just could never understand was Final Destination 2. Not the film which I have had the luck never to see, just the title……

    The only problem here is that all my choices have been pretty much captured (and better described!) that I could have hoped to do. Other than Star Trek. Ok ok so Darren discounts it as he says “It’s a reboot/remake, not a sequel.” I beg to differ. Its a:
    Sequel – Old Spock comes from after the previous movies and shows so is a continuation of that
    Prequel – Its set before the orginal series first 5 year voyage
    Reboot – As rabid a trekkie that I am even I admit the movies had simply lost their way
    Alternate Reality – Spock going back has created a new timeline
    So its in a new category all by itself!

    So perhaps I can add some information on what I think would be the LONGEST gap between sequels:
    Bambi (1942) and Bambi 2 (2006) – A gap of 64 years. Bambi 2’s plot (yes plot) focusses on the Great Prince of the Forest attempting to teach Bambi to be a man (a deer man that is of course) – and considering he is trying to teach a guy called ‘Bambi’ to be a man – fair play to him! And in a clever twist of writing by me and tying this whole (pointless) post together, the great Prince is actaully voiced by Jean Luc himself, Patrick Stewart.

    Peter
    Oh and PS (can you DO a PS in a blog post?!!) I think the longest gap of a sequel in a book would be Dracula (1897) and Dracula: The UN-Dead (2009) – Ok so it hasnt been published yet but it is co-written by Dacre Stoker (yeah thats his name), great grand-nephew of bram himself. Proving time itself is no barrier to a pointless sequel.

  10. Kevin says:

    I don’t care what people say, I loved the Matrix sequels.

    Worth sticking to Sci Fi to mention the original Star Wars sequels, episode 5 & 6.

  11. Darragh says:

    Oh wow, I can’t believe I forgot the Matrix.

  12. hugo fitzpatrick says:

    You forgot the Matrix because the 3rd one was so awful we all wish it wasn’t released the same year blurring the acceptability of the second.

    And how did so many of us forget Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior.

    It probably is the greatest increase in action a sequel has ever provided. From a calm not so apocolyptic road movie to a post-apocolyptic hell hole and a fight for oil. A true classic. And who else though the kid was a girl untill the last few seconds?

  13. Niall says:

    I forgot to mention The Color of Money. Love that flick.

  14. Lottie says:

    @Hugo- Isn’t that the problem every week? 5 just isn’t enough. We can’t be making it too easy on ourselves though. I can’t believe I forgot GB2 & Back to The Future 2.

    @Peter You know, I actually liked Final Destination 2. It was fun.

  15. Peter says:

    @ Lottie – Can’t have been that final a destination 😉

  16. Darren Byrne says:

    @Venntertainment I can. Aliens!!! Agree with me, damnit.

    @rubot Yeah, I think I’m due a Back to the Future marathon soon.

    @Niall I did consider Spiderman 2 actually. I really enjoyed it – it was an excellent movie, but I think I had it raised in my estimations simply because of how awful the first one was. I really couldn’t stand the first Spiderman movie.

    @Hugo Fantastic list. Fair play. But go on – pick your top 5.

    @Maxi But top 5? Waynes World? Bad Boys?

    @Seamus I just didn’t get the world’s obsession with The Lord of the Rings. They were too long, lacked any great performances, had all the grip and tension of vaseline and they were too long. Also, they were too long.

    @Doyle Are you dissin’ Ghostbusters 2? Come on.

    @Anthony Why, that you.

    @Peter I probably could have included Star Trek alright. Your argument is a compelling one. I guess it would have made 5th place, pushing out Once Upon a Time in Mexico.

    @Kevin I’m with you. I enjoyed the Matrix movies (all of them). Granted, the first is the best, but the other two were brilliantly entertaining.

  17. Ronan says:

    LotR 2 and 3 aren’t sequels, they’re part of a trilogy that was planned from the outset. Similarly the Bourne movies are a trilogy, whereas the books are sequels. So they’re follow-ups rather than sequels.

    How about:

    D2 – The Mighty Ducks, now there was a film that outdid the original in every way.

    Wayne’s World II was also pretty great. Book them and they will come.

    Gremlins 2 The New Batch. That guy singing Sinatra was wonderful.

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