Here Are 25 Great Movie Sequels That Outdid Their Originals

We all know the popular saying that goes “sequels are never as good as the original”. Many times the directors and the production companies get greedy and try to exploit a franchise to the limit. But sometimes, the opposite is what happens, and the sequel outdoes the original film. This list encompasses our favorite sequels of all time! Our favorites are #21#9 and of course, #1!

Photo: Courtesy of Slash Film

#25. Paddington 2

The Paddington franchise centers on a young bear that was raised by his adoptive uncles in the forests of Peru, and when they meet with a British couple, the bear is shocked and fascinated by their way of living. As such, he decides to go to the UK to live a new life full of adventures.

Photo: Courtesy of Dallas News

Both films revolve around the adventures of the young bear, but the second installment is much more focused on doing the right thing and for the right reasons. Paddington wants to buy a gift in a bookstore and discovers the book was stolen, and therefore sets his sights on getting it back. A beautiful film to see with your family!

#24. X-Men 2: X-Men United

The second installment in the OG X-Men franchise, starring Hugh Jackman and Halle Berry among others, director Bryan Singer continues, yet improves, the work that was done by his predecessor in the first film. Not only do more Mutants appear, increasing the number of characters, but also their stories come into play.

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This installment introduces Colonel Stryker and his military group as the main antagonists of the film, who want to construct their own version of Cerebro to kill every mutant on Earth and “clean it”. In order to face Stryker, our heroes have to join forces with Magneto’s Brotherhood of Steel to save the mutant race.

#23. Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior

The second film in the original Mad Max trilogy, directed by director George Miller (do not mistake with the one who makes comics!) continues to describe a post-apocalyptic society set in a complete wasteland, and where everyone possesses an incredible driving and killing machine. Our main protagonist continues his way through the Wasteland facing enemy tribes.

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Mel Gibson plays “Mad” Max Rockatansky, who this time is in charge of protecting a group of villagers who are being attacked by the nomad groups to steal their petrol. This installment brought to the big screen much more action, better visuals, and a far more compelling story! If you love car chases, you have to watch this film!

#22. Hellboy 2: The Golden Army

Released in 2008, the follow up to Guillermo del Toro’s 2004 film Hellboy floated to the top of the box office, against what everyone had previously imagined. The film received critical acclaim and was even awarded an Academy Award for Best Makeup!

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The film’s plot is based on one of the most deeply rooted fears of Hellboy. As a child, his father had told him about some magical creatures that were confined to the forests after having destroyed almost all humanity. The Golden Army, as they were known, comes back to destroy all humanity, but they did not expect to face Hellboy! A good action-packed film for all the family!

#21. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

In the MCU, Captain America is one of the most important members of The Avengers, and his films are considered to be the best Marvel classics. In his second installment, Steve Rogers enjoys the company of Falcon and Black Widow as he discovers that his long-lost friend, Bucky, is alive and is trying to kill him.

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The presence of Hydra, the secret evil organization, is still very important in this film, and the Captain is faced with another old enemy, Dr. Armin Zola. With the help of Black Widow and Falcon, he has to bring back the memories of his old friend Bucky, who was brainwashed to become the ultimate killing machine, known as The Winter Soldier.

#20. Dawn Of The Dead

Considered to be one of the most important zombie films out there, Dawn of the Dead is also considered one of the darkest humor films. This film, sequel to The Night of the Living Dead, follows a group of people that do not have anything in common and must survive a zombie epidemy.

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Set in a shopping mall, two members of a SWAT team, a traffic reporter and his girlfriend have to survive the night until dawn arrives. What is most important about this film and its setting is the social critique it encompasses: one cannot distinguish between zombies and mindless consumers!

#19. Shrek 2

The second installment of this fantasy fairytale film by DreamWorks is the best thing since sliced bread. It’s impossible not to love this grumpy yet adorable ogre, not to mention his loyal sidekick, Donkey. Shrek 2 continues the tradition of constant jokes, goofs, and musicals everywhere!

Photo: Courtesy of HBO

In this second film, Shrek will have to finally conquer the heart of his love, Fiona. But to do so, he will have to show her what true love means to him, as the Fairy Godmother wants Fiona to marry his son Prince Charming! The final scenes of this film will be remembered till the end of time!

#18. Addams Family Values

One of the most famous families on television, regarding both TV series and films, is The Addams Family. Gomez, Morticia, Wednesday and Pugsley, among others, are the members of one of the funniest and most terrifying families in history!

Photo: Courtesy of The Atlantic

In their second film, the kids of the family, Wednesday and Pugsley, are sent to a summer camp so they stop trying to kill his recently born baby brother. At the same time, Gomez and Morticia hire a nanny that is a serial killer that marries rich families! The film will center around the kids’ survival in summer camp and the survival of the family members!

#17. Toy Story 2

One of the most emotional films ever made by Disney-Pixar, Toy Story focuses on the life of a kid called Andy and his toys, who come to life every time he is not around. Woody, Buzz, and their friends live constant great adventures in the big wide world!

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The second film, released in 1999, offers an improvement in CGI animation as four years have passed from its predecessor. In this film, Woody is abducted and the rest of the gang is in charge of rescuing him. Luckily for them, they meet new friends! The critics praised this film as one of the best in animation history!

#16. 10 Cloverfield Lane

In 2008, the camera-in-hand horror film Cloverfield was released, and 8 years later, we all were surprised to hear that this film would have a sequel. Nonetheless, we were all thrilled to hear this exciting news. The original film fed us with the fear of the inhabitants of New York City, who must escape from a giant monster.

Photo: Courtesy of The Guardian

Against all odds, the second film changed the way of shooting the film from camera-in-hand to a traditional film in third person. The three protagonists live in a basement in fear of the outside world,  not knowing what may lie out there. This film was a great improvement compared to the first one and built more of the Cloverfield universe.

#15. A Shot In The Dark

In 1964, Peter Sellers played the role of Jacques Clouseau, the famous detective from The Pink Panther. But only one year later, he was back in the game, starring in another film that is supposed to be its sequel. A comedy film in all standards, A Shot in the Dark focuses on quick and visual jokes.

Photo: Courtesy of Quad Cinema

Jacques Clouseau must investigate the murder of a young man, the chauffeur of the family, who was shot. The gun was later found in the hand of the woman he was having an affair with, but she did not have any memories of the murder. So it is up to Jacques Clouseau and his exaggerated French accent to solve the murder!

#14. Annabelle Creation

Anabelle Creation is the second film in the Annabelle franchise and the fifth film in The Conjuring universe overall. The film follows a group of young orphan kids and the Sister that takes care of them, who move to the house of a retired toymaker and her sick bedridden wife. This film depicts how the doll comes to be possessed and how it haunts these poor young girls.

Photo: Courtesy of Slash Film

The film is extremely terrifying, as are all films about evil and diabolical dolls, and the fact that it preys on the fear of young girls makes it even more frightening. The visual and sound effects are a great improvement when compared to the previous films in the franchise, and it serves as a great origin story for Annabelle. Don’t you worry, Ed and Lorraine have their moment too!

#13. Magic Mike XXL

The film Magic Mike released in 2012 tells the story of an 18-year-old boy that wants to start his life as a stripper when he finds mentorship in Michael “Magic Mike”, portrayed by no other than Channing Tatum. Not only is the film a great comedy overall, but it also has one of the best choreographies in the film industry.

Photo: Courtesy of Espinof

What many people do not know is that the film took its inspiration from the life of Channing, who used to be an 18-year old stripper. The second film in the series takes the boy strippers’ relationship to a new level, three years after the events of the first film. Although it may sound impossible, the music and dance moves are better in the sequel!

#12. Superman 2: The Richard Donner Cut

Released in 2006 as a sequel to the 1978 film Superman (which was the first film to be shot about the fictional extraterrestrial superhero from DC comics), The Richard Donner Cut was quite an archaeological job.

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When the original Superman 2 was being filmed, Richard Donner left the movie without completing it and was replaced by director Richard Lester. Of course, the director had to reshoot several scenes. As Donner never finished the film, his scenes and that of Lester were mixed for the ultimate Superman film!

#11. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

There is a broad discussion regarding this film. Some consider it to be the third entry in the film series, whereas others consider that this is the second installment. We adhere to the second opinion and believe this is the second entry of the comedy franchise, this time focused completely on Christmas Eve!

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The whole Griswold family decides to have a big Christmas party and this is where the fun starts, as everything that could go bad, goes bad. A failed Christmas tree, a very bad Christmas dinner, a bonus paycheck that is not a bonus, and several other situations make this film one of the best Christmas classics ever. A classic to watch with the whole family!

#10. Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes

The second entry in the remake films of The Planet of The Apes stars James Franco and follows his life after he saves a chimpanzee from the Zoo in which he worked. What he did not know was that the chimpanzee, by the name of Caesar, was a truly intelligent being.

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Following the events of the first entry, the second film focuses on the complete war between humans and the chimpanzees led by Caesar. The post-apocalyptic feel of the film is so brilliantly achieved that it will make you feel as if you were there. The power plays are very important in this film.

#9. Lethal Weapon 2

One of the most famous action-comedy films out there put together two of the most talented actors of that era, Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, and was directed by someone we already mentioned: Richard Donner. Both Gibson and Glover play the part of two clumsy police officers in the LAPD.

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This time they have to protect a witness who had entered the witness protection program and who is played by Joe Pesci. At the same time, they have to deal with a merciless South African drug dealer gang that will not stop even in the face of our protagonists. Despite the difficulty of their task, they face it with a lot of humor!

#8. The Bride Of Frankenstein

Considered to be one of the instant horror classics, the Bride of Frankenstein builds on the following premise: what if Frankenstein’s monster had a bride? How could it react? Would it be capable of loving? And even if we have not seen the film, we all recognize the hairstyle of the bride!

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The film takes over just where the first one ended, and now Dr. Frankenstein is not alone. His evil mentor is with him and is trying to force him to create a bride for his monster… A desire that the monster fervently echoes. Most of the people at that time considered it to be a perfect movie and a perfect sequel!

#7. Evil Dead II

Another instant classic action, horror and gore film that got a sequel was the critically acclaimed Evil Dead, directed by Sam Raimi. The film follows Ashley Williams (played by Bruce Campbell) while he has to face a demonic invasion that threatens to possess him and destroy his life.

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Apart from being a horror classic, the film also has its great deal of comedy, as most of the happenings are extremely ridiculous. The film also features one of the funniest and most amazing endings that a horror movie could have.

#6. Star Trek 2: The Wrath Of Khan

Many of the people born between 1960 and 1980 have always been divided between two very important choices: Star Trek or Star Wars? We shall now focus on Star Trek, specifically in the second entry of this film series, The Wrath of Khan.

Photo: Courtesy of Den of Geek

This film was released in 1982, three years after its predecessor, which was, according to the critics, a pretty bad movie overall. But the creators of the film did not want to be remembered as the ones who destroyed a franchise, so they tried again. Fortunately, this time the film was well received and was considered a very good film by the fans of the TV series! Way to go!

#5. Spiderman 2

If you thought we were forgetting one of the most beloved Marvel superheroes, you were wrong. Not only will we talk about one of the most lovable superheroes, Spiderman, but we will also talk about another film directed by Sam Raimi.

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This time our arachnid-friendly Spiderman, portrayed by Tobey Maguire, will have to face one of his long-life enemies, Dr. Octopus. As with the previous film, it contains several easter eggs, references to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and a good pack of laughs and tears. This film is better if enjoyed by the whole family!

#4. The Godfather Part 2

When one thinks about films about the Mafia, the first classic that comes to mind is, of course, The Godfather. Directed by the great Francis Ford Coppola, and starring Marlon Brando and Al Pacino, it became an instant classic and is still considered one of the best films of all time.

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The second part of the film, released only two years later in 1974, follows the steps of Al Pacino as Michael Corleone and also offers the participation of Robert de Niro as a young Vito Corleone. While the first film only won three Academy Awards, The Godfather Part 2 won six!

#3. The Dark Knight

The second installment in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy is the first and only film to feature the most important villain in all of Batman’s career: the Joker. Not only is it the best film in the whole trilogy, but also late actor Heath Ledger gives an incredible portrayal of the villain.

Photo: Courtesy of Life and Style

The part of the killer clown gave Heath Ledger worldwide recognition and made him win several awards, among which we can count Academy Awards, BAFTA Awards, and even SGA awards. Until today, Ledger’s Joker is considered to be the best Jokerout there. Let’s wait until we hear from Joaquin Phoenix!

#2. Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back

The second entry in the Star Wars original universe and the fifth film in the saga after George Lucas decided to go with the prequels, The Empire Strikes Back is not only a story of friendship, love, and vengeance, but it’s also a story of self-discovery.

Photo: Courtesy of Hollywood Reporter

The film continues to show the life of Luke Skywalker as he becomes a Jedi and faces his enemy, Darth Vader… Who also happens to be his father! This second part shows us an extended universe, more locations, more characters, and the film in itself has a much darker theme!

#1. Terminator 2: Judgement Day

We all know Arnold Schwarzenegger and his very difficult last name, and most of us met him for the first time playing the part of the killing robot machine called Terminator. The first film, which was released in 1984, was an instant classic, and probably one of the most iconic action and science fiction films out there.

Photo: Courtesy of SyFy

The second entry, released only seven years later, is pretty much an improved version of the original. The villain subtly becomes the hero, while new characters are introduced, some of which play a very important part in this film and the ones that follow. What is more, the original soundtrack features is a masterpiece. All these factors combined made the cocktail for one perfect action movie!

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    Luke H.

    Certified Translator recently graduated at the Universidad de Buenos Aires.
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