Countdown: Top 5 and Bottom 5 Sequels

Yes, the humorless Kick-Ass 2 disappointed, as sequels so often do. Which are the biggest disappointments? And on a brighter note, which sequels lived up to – even exceeded – expectations? Read on!

Most Disappointing Sequels

5) Hangover Part 2

In 2009, Todd Phillips shared a clever conceit starring an amiable, talented threesome with real chemistry on film. Oh, how we laughed. In 2011 he found out that a clever conceit is only clever once. Revisiting every single joke was, indeed, Hangover 2’s only original joke. What we’ve learned is that one joke in 102 minutes does not a comedy make.

4) Exorcist II: The Heretic

Jesus. A drunken and flummoxed Richard Burton wanders through Africa on the advice of a demon locust; a hypnotized, angelically dressed Linda Blair looks on from her bedroom in the States. They followed perhaps the greatest horror film of all time with this lunacy? Who’s responsible for this atrocity? Is it Regan’s dangerously incompetent therapist? Director John Boorman? Satan?

3) Jaws 2

Hey, you know who’s not Steven Spielberg? Jeannot Szwarc. Wait, who’s Jeannot Szwarc, you ask? Exactly! He’s the guy who used to direct Beretta episodes who inexplicably helmed the story of a little island community that looks positively delicious to sharks. Szwarc’s disinterests? Character development, storytelling, understatement, bathers.

2) Caddyshack 2

For the love of God. Eight years after one pesky gopher and a slew of vulgarians beat Judge Smails at his own game (golf), a new set of classless sportsmen descend upon Bushwood. What happens if you swap out Ted Knight for Robert Stack, Rodney Dangerfield for Jackie Mason, and Bill Murray for Dan Aykroyd? Nothing funny, I’ll guarantee you that.

1) Ghostbusters II

Stop it! Just stop it right now! Need you crush all our childhood happiness with your greed and listless comedies?! Why is this the most offensive of the sequels? Because the same director, writers and cast returned to cash in on the joy their first film left in our hearts by telling us that we can fight off the bad ectoplasm if we have more joy in our hearts. Ironic, since that’s what they killed with their movie.


Best Sequels

5) Spider-Man 2

Better villain, less predictable storyline, equal parts exciting and tender, Spider-Man 2 exceeded expectations. Few (if any) superhero films can boast such joyous thrills tied to such well-crafted storytelling because few (if any) superhero films care as much about the “human” as the “super”.

4) The Bride of Frankenstein

In 1931, the great James Whale rocked the cinematic universe with a familiar story, one outstanding performance, and the greatest make up job to date. But with Frankenstein’s 1935 sequel, he was able to show some real talent. This subversive, darkly humorous gem betters the original by a mile.

3) The Empire Strikes Back

When the time came for George Lucas to second his mind blowing ’77 blockbuster Star Wars, he made one terrific decision. He hired somebody else to write and direct. New characters, exceptional battles, and epic surprises help this unpredictable storyline not just live up to the original, but exceed it.

2) Aliens

Oh, hell yes. How was James Cameron to top Ridley Scott’s breathlessly terrifying original? By taking it in an entirely different direction, from terror in space to intergalactic ass-kicking. Bigger-better-faster-more doesn’t always work, but put Sigourney Weaver in a giant metal suit, and things turn out OK.

1) Godfather Part II

Francis Ford Coppola outdid himself. The origin story, the familial conflict, Fredo.  Oh, Fredo. You break our hearts. Godfather Part II doesn’t just follow one mob family, it finds its heartbeat and exposes what it is that differentiates them from us. Flawless.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.