Sequels represent the best and worst of Hollywood. The good ones revitalize tired franchises and add new chapters to stories we already love and the bad ones serve no other purpose than to milk a few more cents out of an already dead cow. Good or bad, they’re an inevitability. Hollywood has always been and will always be a business, with sequels being their bread and butter. This list examines both the bread and the butter, or in other words, the follow-ups that put the emphasis on both the former and the latter of the word.
This list is a collaboration between Sailor Monsoon and Kane, with Sailor tackling the good and Kane taking on the ugly. Both of which had to abide by two rules:
1) Only one film per franchise, unless the franchise reboots with a new cast (James Bond, Star Trek, X-Men, Etc.)
2) It has to be an official sequel, so previous adaptations don’t count (this excludes the Silence of the Lambs) nor do “unofficial” sequels (this excludes the Three Colors trilogy, the Cornetto trilogy and the Vengeance trilogy)
This is the 100 Greatest and Worst Sequels of All Time.
50. Robocop 3 (1993) | WORST
A lifeless, tame and boring movie that tried replacing Peter Weller as Robocop. Didn’t work that well now did it? The original Robocop is beloved by most. Sure there are plenty of part 2 defenders out there. But you will find very few, if any, standing up for this lame retread. Oh, and you are going to make it PG-13?! One of the defining elements of the first two films was changed because the studios thought since Robocop had a strong kid following it would help ticket sales. It did not. It was an absolute bomb at the box office and for the viewers.
49. Before Sunset (2004) | BEST
Before Sunset is a rarity among sequels, in that it’s a continuation of a love story. A love story about two people that crossed paths nine years ago and fell madly in love but since both were young twentysomethings, they both decided to choose life over love. Nine years later, Jesse and Celine (played by Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy respectively) cross paths again and now that they’re older and perhaps wiser, will they finally give their story the “happily ever after” it deserves or will life and it’s myriad of obstacles once again get in their way? A perfect companion piece, Before Sunset compliments the first film a way few films have done before or since in that it tells the same story but a decade later. Linklater knew this film wouldn’t work unless actual time had passed and he was right.
These aren’t the same characters we met in first film. They’ve lived an entire lifetime since the last time we saw them and they came out the other side changed but the only thing that remained was the love they had for each other. The Sunrise Trilogy is more than just a story of two people in love, it’s a thorough examination of love itself. Why we can’t choose who we love, why time is unfortunately more important than compatibility and how amazing it feels to be loved and in love. The thirty year saga of Jesse and Celine is the ultimate love story, with Before Sunset being it’s most romantic chapter.
Read Romona Comet’s review here.
48. Jaws: The Revenge (1987) | WORST
“This time it’s personal.” Bwuahahahaha. So, the plot of this fourth entry is that momma chief from the first two movies, believes that a great white shark is hunting down her and her family for revenge. And get this, the shark follows her from New York to the freaking Bahamas. *insert migraine gif* How this was taken seriously by anyone is beyond me. I could see this as a parody, a comedy or at least a sci-fi film where someone put a chip in the shark’s head and is guiding it to seek this revenge. What we got was just rushed incompetence. How this is tied to one of the greatest movies of all time is mind boggling. If you haven’t watch this consider yourself one of the lucky ones.
47. Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990) | BEST
The 80s, for some reason, had a real hard on for messing up kids. Movie studios actually took bets to see who could make the most kids cry (that’s a true story – that’s why Optimus Prime dies at the end of Transformers: the Movie), with Disney destroying their competition handily. Between the release of The Watcher in the Woods in ’80 and Return to Oz in ’85, Disney fucked with more dreams than one hundred Freddy Kruegers combined. Not to be undone, Spielberg and Joe Dante came up with a little monster movie that would eventually turn into one of the most popular films of the decade but at the time, was pure nightmare fuel aimed at kiddies.
Gremlins was a horror film designed for children, that was neither too scary or too violent, just unsettling enough to freak out anyone under ten. It’s the perfect example of “kinder trauma”. Warner Bros. took one look at the box office numbers and demanded a sequel, and Dante, not wanting to repeat himself, signed on under the agreement that he get full reign to go as crazy as he wanted. And go full crazy he did. Replacing the semi-dark tone of the original with a Looney Tunes-esque tornado of chaos, the New Batch is an insane live action cartoon that introduces a variety of new gremlins, includes a ton of hilarious cameos and breaks the fourth wall better than Deadpool ever did. More sequels need the Star Magic Jackson Jr. touch.
46. Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995) | WORST
There are several in the Halloween franchise that could possibly make this list. I know many don’t care for Season of the Witch, but I feel it gets unnecessary heat because it doesn’t have Michael Myers. As a standalone film, I think some would change their outlook on the film. Part 5 would be a contender after part 4 seemingly got the franchise back on track. I know there will be plenty to hoot and holler about the Rob Zombie’s H2, but y’all aren’t doing this list. It came down to Bustaween (Halloween Resurrection) and H6. I feel like you shouldn’t have expected much from the series by the time they are adding in Busta Rhymes. So, I went with a dull, boring and incomprehensible entry that tried giving reason to Michael Myers and his invincibility by way of a cult. The whole point of Michael Myers was there was no reasoning behind him and his actions. Filled with nothing but tired old horror clichés and wooden acting, this entry is easily my least favorite of the franchise while also being panned by many.
45. The Bourne Supremacy (2004) | BEST
The sequel to the Bourne Identity did more than just replace its original director, it shifted gears and went from a taut espionage thriller, to a dark revenge drama but with the added bonus of more action and higher stakes. Paul Greengrass, a director then known for his documentary work, creates a ticking clock of suspense that gives every second weight. You feel the walls closing in on every character that isn’t Bourne. Because unlike most thrillers, the suspense doesn’t come from the audiences fearing for the safety of the main character but in how fucked they’re all going to be once he finds them. He’s no longer an amnesiac trying to untangle his past while avoiding death at every corner, he’s a pissed off shark that remembers everything and is hungry for revenge. Before John Wick killed an entire state’s worth of people over a puppy, Jason Bourne beat assassins to death with magazines and took on the entire CIA — and won.
44. Look Who’s Talking Now (1993) | WORST
I enjoyed the original. It was nothing great by any means but the voice of Bruce Willis coming from a baby just cracked me up. It had its moments and it was nice to see John Travolta in something that was at least watchable for the first time in eight years. I can somewhat forgive there being a sequel with how much money the original made, and it made some sense to have another baby in the mix, but adding talking dogs to the third entry was a bit much. Formulaic and overly predictable with absolutely no chemistry between Travolta and Kristie Alley at this point. Even they knew they were in a pile of garbage. It was also too dumb for people over 12 years old, but too crude for those under 12. Doesn’t leave much of a market and that showed at the box office effectively ending this dreadful franchise.
43. Logan (2017) | BEST
With hundreds of comic book movies in existence, superheroes have encountered just about every kind of advisory and world ending calamity you can think of. Whether it be a giant laser that shoots up into the sky (there’s a lot of those), a super powered megalomaniac that wants to conquer and enslave the planet or a corrupt businessman that wants to sink half of California in order to create a new West Coast, super villains come in a shapes and sizes but none have been as terrifyingly real as the one found in Logan. Because, for the first time in the genre, a superhero has to contend with life’s mightiest foe: the inevitability of getting old.
Set in the far future where most mutants have been eliminated, Logan is a bleak sci-fi dystopia that focuses more on the human element than providing non-stop thrills. It’s a film where all the heroes have died and all that remains are the ones that lived. Heavily inspired by Shane and Unforgiven, the film tackles themes of getting old and dying, outliving ones usefulness and coming to terms with the fact that perhaps every choice you made was the wrong one and that everything you did in life was pointless. But It’s also a film about how hope weighs more than the burden of regret and how sometimes all we need is one last job to give our lives meaning. Logan is the only comic book film to be nominated for best adapted screenplay for a reason – it’s brilliant.
42. Terminator Genisys (2015) | WORST
Oh, how the mighty has fallen. One of the greatest “one-two punches” in movie history with the original being highly regarded and T2 not only matching it, but in some minds being the better of the two. Both are great any way you slice it. Then things began to slip. Rise of the Machines wasn’t in the same league as the first two, and with Salvation being the first film in franchise without a legitimate Arnie T-800, it failed to jump start the franchise again like we hoped.
So, what’s the best thing to do with the franchise moving forward? Let’s retread what worked before by recasting beloved characters and figure out a way for the T-800 to age so we can have old man Arnie back in a leather jacket! The nostalgia will kick everyone in the balls and make them loves us again, right? Right?! This a mess and a missed opportunity. It is never fun or exciting. You can’t replace Linda Hamilton no matter how hard you try, and if you think about the film’s logistics for more then a minute, it will just give you a headache.
41. Bride of Frankenstein (1935) | BEST
Proof that sequels are not a recent phenomenon, Bride of Frankenstein may not be the first sequel – that honor belongs to D.W. Griffith’s The Fall of a Nation, released 20 years previous – but it is the first one to equal the quality of its predecessor. Expanding on minor subplots from Shelley’s novel, as well as introducing its own original creations, Whale deftly weaves a story thats faithful to the original text while simultaneously feeling distinctly unique. From its numerous iconic moments (the Monster meeting the hermit; the birth of the bride), to the excellent new characters (Dr. Pretorius is far more entertaining and memorable than Frankenstein ever was) and the much improved sets and costume designs, Bride of Frankenstein is the best of the Universal monster movies. Which essentially means it’s the best horror film released before Psycho.
How do you feel about the selection so far? Comment down below and let us know how right/wrong we are.