I was a bit surprised by some of the selections, one of which because I've never seen it, while some of the others I don't define as sequels. So obviously, I needed to create a human version of the top ten sequels of all time.
- The sequel must be markedly better than the original. In other words films like The Godfather II and The Empire Strikes Back don't count. The originals are just as good as the sequels.
- I did leave the option open for the sequels within trilogies outside the original. For example, the Star Wars prequels or The Hobbit trilogy.
- I ranked them with an eye towards how much better the sequel is than the original as well as how much I enjoy the film overall.
- This is my person preference. Absolutely understand if you disagree. I sincerely want to hear what you have to say about top sequels of all time.
So away we go! Here are my top ten film sequels of all time, rankings 10 - 6.
10. Spider-Man 2 (2004)
(AI's Pick - The Bourne Ultimatum)
So first, let's address the AI's pick. The Bourne Ultimatum does not fit into my rules as I enjoy every movie in this franchise for one reason or another. I truly think the original trilogy of films is pretty much on par with each other. Not to mention they have stood the test of time so far. Therefore, I don't think The Bourne Ultimatum is better, or worse for that matter, than the Bourne Identity and the Bourn Supremacy
I thought the original Spider-Man was okay. But I wanted more. I did not like the Green Goblin's costume, and I thought the story and climax proved to be a bit weak. For the sequel though, I think Sam Raimi upped the ante and told a great story with Doctor Otto Octavius. I do agree far too many people found out Spider-Man's true identity, but one of my all time favorite scenes in a movie is when your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man stops the elevated train from careening off the tracks. Spidey saves all the commuters, but they turnaround and save the webslinger. Granted, Doc Ock still captured the webhead, but I still got goosebumps when the people formed a barrier between Spider-Man and the good doctor. I also appreciated the climax and resolution. Doc Ock showed his humanity once again as Spider-Man evolves into an even better version of the hero he needs to be. As a sidenote, I thought the depictions in this film, hero and villain alike, played perfectly into Spider-Man: No Way Home. As for being number ten on my list, I did enjoy the groundbreaking style of the first Spider-Man and have also seen that this original trilogy has not stood up to the test of time as well as it should have. This is more than likely in part to the fact we've had four separate versions of Spider-Man films with major theatrical releases, plus we've seen the superhero genre evolve greatly since the early 2000s.
9. Another 48 Hrs. (1990)
(AI's Pick - Mad Max: Fury Road)
Once again George Miller's fourth film in the Mad Max franchise does not abide by my rules. I love Fury Road, but The Road Warrior is a masterpiece in filmmaking. Why isn't that sequel on the list? Mainly because the original Mad Max was such a groundbreaking film unto itself. To be honest, I thoroughly enjoy Beyond the Thunderdome too. So in my opinion, although great, Fury Road is not miles better than any of the other films in the franchise.
As for my pick, I can't honestly say why I hold Another 48 Hrs. so near and dear. It definitely builds from the story of the original, but unlike the original, it ups the ante in regards to entertainment that the first didn't achieve. Much of the humor is built upon the relationship between Reggie Hammond (Eddie Murphy) and Jack Cates (Nick Nolte) which they developed in the first film. But instead of awkward establishing character scenes, we are able to get to the meat of the funny. They clearly still don't like each other, but they still need each other. The first installment definitely added to the buddy cop/fish out of water genre, but the second took it to a new level with a timely twist. I think the second story puts more on the line for the duo and thus increases the entertainment value for me. I get the sense this franchise has slipped through the cracks of time, so if you have not seen them, check them out.
8. G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2014)
(AI's Pick - Before Sunset)
I don't have much to say about this one. I enjoy most of Richard Linklater's films, but for some reason, this trilogy always flew under my radar. Perhaps someday I'll take the time to watch it (honestly probably not).
For my pick, I had to go with G.I. Joe: Retaliation. I can't even remember why I chose to watch this movie. The first installment was so bad I would normally skip anything to do with the rest of the franchise. I didn't even catch this in the theater. I think I just happened to watch it on HBO or something of the like by chance. Imagine my surprise when they start the film off with a impressive and necessary reset, thus eliminating a lot of the problems from the first G.I. Joe. This shocking opening may have easily been a result of me ignoring the release, trailers, and hype of this sequel, but when it happened, I was pretty floored. The rest of the film just built a new foundation of the franchise from there to entertain me throughout. Yes, it's somewhat of a guilty pleasure, but to be honest, I also thoroughly enjoy the cast and the characters they play. I grew up with the cartoon, so it was nice to finally have a good movie with characters I grew up with and great actors to play them. I can't think of another film that so thoroughly shocked me considering how much I disliked the original. That's exactly why it's on this list.
7. Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)
(AI's Pick - The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers)
I enjoyed Peter Jackson's The Two Towers. But I also really enjoyed The Fellowship of the Ring. Therefore, I don't think the sequel ups the ante. Just so none of my readers are in suspense, I absolutely hate Return of the King. No, I never read the books, and I'm not a huge Tolkien nerd, but the final installment was boring and simply would not end. And that's nothing to say about the fact that the king's return was lame and not the victory that the title hints at. Also, Sam was and is the biggest hero in that trilogy.
Anywho, onto my favorite horror franchise! I do believe Friday the 13th (1980) has gotten better over time, mainly because if you're new to the the series, the ending in the original seems like a huge twist. BUT, the franchise really gained traction when they introduced Jason Vorhees as the killer. And that's exactly what the creative team did in the sequel. In the original we are led to believe Jason died as a child due to camp counselors negligence (need to make love). I have always enjoyed how this new camp details the urban legend that was created around Camp Crystal Lake and the idea of Jason in the beginning scenes, only to find out it's no myth. Jason is alive and well! I also appreciate his burlap sack mask. I do think this look would have gotten old and the fortuitous use of his hockey mask ever since made the franchise epic. That being said, I like the ode to The Town That Dreaded Sundown and the idea that this "child" that grew up alone in the woods finds something as innocuous as a bag to hide the vengeance that Jason seeks. Not to mention his hideous appearance. Which of course makes the final reveal of his face even more gruesome and satisfying. I don't necessarily think it's the best film in the franchise, although there are days I might argue that, but I do think it's a significant jump from the original.
6. Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi (2017)
(AI's Pick - Aliens)
I love James Cameron's Aliens. But I also love Ridley Scott's Alien. In truth, they are two different genres in my opinion and offer two different types of entertainment. Yes they overlap in elements, but the first is definitely more horror while the sequel is more action. I don't see a drop off in entertainment or vast improvement in either version. I like them both about the same.
And here is where I begrudgingly offer an apology to some of my closest Nerd friends, namely Chase (of course he'll have to read this to know about it). I did not like Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi upon my first viewing at a press screening. But as time has gone by and that trilogy wrapped up, I have much more of an appreciation for this sequel. I especially love the several instances where Rian Johnson foreshadowed with a ridiculous example, then paid it off beautifully. First act, "You don't need Luke Skywalker. You think what? I'm gonna walk out with a laser sword and face down the whole First Order?" Third act, that's exactly what Luke does!
Given time to digest the story and Johnson's re-definition of the Jedi, I have come to respect this movie more and more. I do like how it broke from tradition, yet held true to it when necessary. I also believe it includes the single best scene of any Star Wars movie. Admiral Holdo looks like she's running away from the First Order only to turn her ship into the line of fire of the Mega-class Star Dreadnought, The Supremacy and hits the light speed controls. Her sacrifice and resulting victory for the remnants of the rebellion are still powerful every time I watch it. Plus it's Princess Leia's (Carrie Fisher) last true performance as unused footage was utilized to make Rise of Skywalker.
What are you thoughts so far? Did I piss you off? Do you agree with my list so far? What did I forget and what would you have included? Let us know and don't forget to look for Part 2 where I reveal my top 5 remaining sequels!