More often than not, newly released sequels often pale in comparison to their predecessors. Whether it’s an action sequel coming right off the heels of the first movie’s success or a comedy that’s coming decades after the original trying to cash in on nostalgia, they often come off irritating more than anything.
However, every now and then, there’s a diamond in the rough and a sequel comes long that flips what we know of the series on its head and introduces new and exciting elements. These movies are exceptional examples of movies that improve on the original.
10 Mission: Impossible III (2006)
Brian DePalma’s adaptation of the popular TV series was an exciting action movie, to begin with, but the follow up destroyed any momentum for the movie franchise that the original built. However, J.J. Abrams did what he now has a reputation for, as he made the franchise popular again with Mission: Impossible III.
The movie is the first to feature Simon Pegg, and it has the best villain of the series, played brilliantly by Philip Seymour Hoffman. It’s arguably the best movie in the Mission Impossible series, and Ethan settling for married life is one of the best storylines in the franchise.
9 Evil Dead 2 (1987)
Evil Dead 2 follows the same basic premise as its predecessor, though the tone of the film is completely different. The sequel is so much more fun, as Ash replaces his chopped hand with a chainsaw, with his hand turning on him and trying to attack him. Then, there’s one of the greatest plot twists of all-time, as, without giving anything away, the movie turns into a warped sci-fi movie in its final few minutes. The movie has a lot of hidden details that fans missed, too.
8 Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991)
With the newly released Bill And Ted Face The Music, the third entry into the series that has spawned a ton of hilarious memes, and it’s a great time to look back at the original movies.
Bogus Journey, the series’ second movie, introduced some of the franchise’s best supporting characters, including the Grim Reaper himself, who is hilariously played by William Sadler as the character is forced into playing Twister against his will. The movie features a perfect ending for Bill & Ted, bringing into question whether or not we need, as the title indicates, face the music.
7 Split (2017)
Marking the director’s comeback with it being one of the best thriller movies of the past decade, Split was seemingly a standalone movie, or at least it was marketed that way when it was first released. However, the mid-credits scene revealed that it was actually a secret sequel to one of Shyamalan’s other movies. The fact that Split was revealed to be a sequel to Unbreakable was itself a twist, and one of the best twists in an M. Night Shyamalan movie at that.
6 Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade (1989)
Though Indiana Jones was one of the major roles that Sean Connery turned down, the late, great actor eventually agreed to star in the franchise, but in a different role. Connery playing Indy’s father is one of the many reasons The Last Crusade is better than Raiders of the Lost Ark, not to mention the return of Sallah, an interaction with Adolf Hitler, and the amazing introduction featuring River Phoenix as Young Indy.
5 Scream 2 (1997)
Scream 2 struck the perfect balance of the franchise’s horror and satire elements, as Scream 3 went way too deep into its meta satire themes, and the first movie was only putting its foot in the water. The second movie had some of the Scream series’ scariest moments, specifically the scene in the soundproof booth with Courtney Cox, and it builds on the backstories of characters who survived in the first movie.
4 The Raid 2 (2014)
The first movie in The Raid series was very isolating, as the whole film was based solely in one location, depicting a bunch of police officers trying to take over a building that is run by a drug lord.
However, The Raid 2 takes it up 10 notches, as the movie is the exact opposite with its expansive narrative and dozens of locations that makes for some of the most creative and epic martial arts movie fights. From prison riots to dingy restaurant kitchen brawls to knife fights in galmerous event venues, The Raid 2 is in a league of its own.
3 The Dark Knight (2008)
Batman Begins was a magnificent reimagining of the world’s greatest detective, as it grounded the superhero in reality as much as possible, and it single-handedly changed the way superhero movies were made. However, The Dark Knight was firing on all cylinders, as it built on the foundation of its predecessor, but, most of all, it has the single greatest villain in not just superhero movies, but in movie history.
2 The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
When it comes to plot twists, there’s no better surprise than the one that comes in the final third of The Empire Strikes Back. The movie introduced Yoda, it had the three main characters interacting more, and it introduced some iconic planets and weapons. The whole movie basically expanded the universe tenfold, and it somehow makes A New Hope—one of the best sci-fi epics of all time—look like a student film, all while having a huge emotional backbone.
1 The Godfather Part II (1974)
Though it’s strongly up for debate, The Godfather Part II is the better movie of the three. Even though the original features Marlon Brando as Vito Corleone and James Caan as the hostile and hot-headed Sonny, the sequel is a gangster movie of epic proportions set in two different time periods, being both a sequel and a prequel, and that incredible final scene push it just over the edge.
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