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 always has 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.
80. Weekend at Bernie’s II (1993) | WORST
How in all that is holy and good do you make a sequel to Weekend at Bernie’s? The original dark comedy worked well enough on it’s thin premise, probably better then it had any right too, but a sequel just doesn’t make sense. Same gags reused combined with Andrew McCarthy’s acting are as dead as Bernie himself. This was just another case of that late 80’s early 90’s obnoxious and sexist comedy filth. Unlike the classy obnoxious and sexist comedy filth that I prefer.
79. Addams Family Values (1993) | BEST
It’s a miracle The Addams Family movie works as well as it does. It’s a remake of a TV show that was based on a comic strip from a first time director. Every single one of those things is a huge red flag but somehow, against all odds, the film turned out to be great. It embraced the macabre wackiness of the sitcom to great effect, the sequel on the other hand, decided to chart a different path. Taking half of the Addams out of their secluded world and forcing them to socialize with other people, while introducing a new element (the brilliant Joan Cusack) to break up the other half is a stroke of genius. It creates a wonderful juxtaposition between the “weird” Addams’ and the “normal” rest of society that acts as biting satire in its inversion of social norms. It’s smarter, funnier and more entertaining than the original. How many comedy sequels can say that?
78. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – 2 (2012) | WORST
This one hurts my heart to have on this list. Anyone who knows me, knows I love the Twilight Saga. However, I will never argue that any of them are any good. They are my guiltiest of guilty pleasures and I ain’t afraid to admit that. To be as objectionable as I could be, I could not in good conscience not add in at least one of the sequels from this franchise, and this is probably my least favorite of the bunch. Although, I really love the last 20 minutes or so of this film, the melodrama, wooden acting and bad dialogue is at its worst here. Worst being the awkward and uncomfortable sex scenes between Edward and Bella. With Bella having bruises and pain afterward. Let that be a lesson to all you young girls out there, it’s ok when its love and he is a vampire. I usually just skip through those scenes. To make matters worse they mean nothing except to get to the main plot point of Bella becoming pregnant *Spoiler Alert*.
The first half of the film moves at a snail’s pace, whereas, the second half moves at break neck speed, but that’s where the meat of the story is. This one simply couldn’t find it’s footing and all the issues that people love to rag on the franchise about is on display in full force in this edition. I still love you Twilight.
77. Creed (2015) | BEST
Not unlike how most TV shows immediately start to dip in quality by season 5, most film franchises start to run out of steam by the fifth entry. Star Trek is the most infamous example but the “curse” has effected everything from Harry Potter to James Bond to a Nightmare on Elm Street to Friday the 13th and lastly Rocky. For four films, the Rocky series was a beloved champion race horse that not only won all the races but our hearts as well. Until it’s fifth race where it stumbles out the gate, breaks its hoof and needs to be put down. Rocky V is the bullet that killed a beloved race horse. It so thoroughly and completely killed that franchise, it’s wanted for murder in about six states.
But against all odds, it came back. Just like the underdog that he is, Rocky made a triumphant comeback with the poignant Rocky Balboa. It was a touching ode to a boxer who refuses to go gently into that goodnight and acts as a magnificent send off to a beloved character. Or it would be if it wasn’t for Ryan Coogler. Taking Rocky out of the ring and into the role originally inhabited by Burgess Meredith is a stroke of genius, as is shifting the focus to the son of his old rival who is fighting to get out of his father’s shadow. It adds a level of emotional complexity the series has lacked since the first one and has the best camera work in the entire series. It may not have a flashy villain or the best training montages but it has heart and as Rocky proved, that’s sometimes all you need. Creed is a knockout.
76. Teen Wolf Too (1987) | WORST
And this is where my disdain for unfunny Jason Bateman began. Yes, he has somewhat redeemed himself with Ozark, but it’s not because of his humor. Any who, it’s a tough task to follow in the ever-lovable Michael J. Fox’s shoes. The theme, as we are witnessing throughout this list, is that of “Let’s just do the same damn thing but change a few things.” So instead of high school, we are in college; instead of basketball, we are now boxing; instead of Chubby, we still get Chubby. This is just charmless and empty and forgettable and mind-numbing, and…..you get the point.
75. Blade II (2002) | BEST
Since there’s at least five superhero movies released each year, it’s easy to forget that there was a time comic book fans had nothing but scraps to dine on. The eight year period between the release of Batman Returns and X-Men is referred to by many non-existent people I just made up as the dark times. It was a wasteland of Cannon produced schlock and goofy pulp adventure yarns; low budget and no budget (the Roger Corman produced Fantastic Four) actioners and whatever the hell Howard the Duck was. It was a terrible time. But out of the darkness, there came a light. A bright, shining beacon guiding the weary and downtrodden away from the Steels and the Judge Dredds and the Spawns and toward salvation. And that beacon’s name was Blade.
For the first time in a long time, there was a comic book movie that, in addition to being faithful to its source material, was actually good. It was a revelation and some argue is as important to the revitalization of the comic book genre as X-Men and Spider-Man. But context is key, because compared to everything released in the 90’s, it’s a masterpiece but compared to its sequel, it’s just another movie. That’s how big the quality gap is between films. Guillermo Del Toro took everything that didn’t work about the first one out, took everything that did and improved upon it and then cranked the whole thing up to eleven. Its simultaneously the most badass comic book movie of all time and the coolest vampire flick ever made.
74. Return to the Blue Lagoon (1991) | WORST
Oh Leeloo, you deserve so much better. I am not a fan of Rotten Tomatoes nor am I touting it, but it is somewhat interesting to find a film sitting at 0% on the Tomatometer. I can understand wanting to make a sequel to a successful movie. I mean it makes sense. But why oh why are there sequels to universally shunned and hated movies? And how do they get a theater release? It was an uncomfortable watch and that isn’t the intent. Bad acting, bad script, bad directing and generally just bad every other aspect of the film making process. However, one upgrade over the original remake is Milla. Grrrr.
73. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987) | BEST
By the time the Elm Street series got to the 3rd entry, Freddy was well on his way to becoming a pop culture icon. He had halloween costumes, toys, various merchandise and even hotline. Seeing where the wind was blowing, the producers decided to shift gears and lean into it. They relocated Freddy out of the boiler room, moved him out of the shadows and gave him the spotlight. He went from a dream demon into a wise cracking movie star and while some horror fans still bemoan the sudden shift in character, audiences at the time ate it up. Dream Warriors was the film that made Freddy Kruger one of the most recognizable characters in film, not just horror. The film gave him a personality he was lacking in previous films and it used his dream powers to great effect. It ups the creativity of his kills and introduces the concept of the victims fighting back with dream magic. Since it’s their dreams Freddy is haunting, they figure out that they too can manipulate their surroundings or give themselves powers in order to survive. It’s an ingenious idea no other film in the franchise capitalizes on. Dream Warriors isn’t as scary as the first or is as well made as New Nightmare but it’s fun as hell and that theme song still slaps 32 years later.
72. Sex and the City 2 (2010) | WORST
This one makes my head hurt. After 6 seasons of these one-dimensional and annoying characters we get not one, but two movies to wrap up this cliched mess. This is in the same vein as every needless testosterone driven male-machismo action sequel. The girls are out of the city, but still stuck in the same old tired mess. It’s also incredibly difficult to look at or is that just me? The colors and the setting is just rough on the eyes. I don’t even think fans of the show can defend this aimless and unengaging film. Vapid is a word that quickly and strongly comes to mind when thinking about this film. Please let this be the end of this madness.
71. War for the Planet of the Apes (2017) | BEST
There are few franchises as unique and inexplicable as the Planet of the Apes. Broken into different categories, the series consists of: (deep breath) the original pentalogy that deals with wacky time travel shenanigans, two separate animated series that sort of kinda follow the movies, the critically reviled Tim Burton reboot and then lastly, the critically acclaimed second reboot trilogy. While no individual entry is downright bad (the Burton one doesn’t make any sense but it did have next level make up effects and an amazing performance from Tim Roth), the “Caesar trilogy” is hands down the best of the lot, with War being the best entry.
With humanity largely destroyed and apes the new gods of the earth, War is a fascinating spin on the post apocalyptic tale in that you’re actively rooting for the apes to win even though they’re the ones who’ve killed an entire planet’s worth of people. It’s like rooting for the flood to win in a Noah’s Ark movie. But that’s how sympathetic and emotionally complex Serkis’ Caesar is. He imbues a CGI chimp with as much gravitas as he would a Shakespearean character. He’s the glue that holds the films together and it cannot be understated how good Serkis is in the role. Rise laid the groundwork, Dawn started the construction and War made a castle.
How do you feel about the selection so far? Comment down below and let us know how right/wrong we are.