It might be difficult to write a decent sequel. The director must outperform the previous picture or, in rare situations, resurrect a dormant franchise. Screenwriters frequently retread previous narrative lines, and studios believe that “more is better” when it comes to finance and effects.
Despite this, some of the best films ever created are sequels: Movies such as The Dark Knight, The Godfather Part II, Toy Story 3, The Empire Strikes Back, and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly are routinely ranked among the finest of all time. Let’s have a look at these 5 sequels that made up for the failures of their predecessors.
1. Dawn of the Planet of Apes
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is the most emotionally compelling, and possibly the most philosophical, of the Apes films, including the 1968 original. Director Matt Reeves creates a magnificent and genuine ape community complete with an educational system and distinctive buildings. Andy Serkis’ compelling portrayal of Caesar, a compassionate monkey who battles with both inter-ape and ape-human politics, is also highlighted by Reeves.
2. Dark Knight
The Dark Knight is more than just the finest Batman movie. It’s the finest superhero film ever created, due in large part to Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker. A villain can make or break a superhero film, yet Ledger’s Oscar-winning performance as the anarchic clown easily outperforms the drab Scarecrow and the enigmatic Bane, not to mention Loki, Thanos, and Lex Luthor. And, while Dark Knight is gritty—a label that has ruined many a DC superhero film since—director Christopher Nolan expertly lays the stage for the Joker’s menace. Gotham is really filthy and chaotic, making it an ideal backdrop for a laughing madman.
3. Godfather Part II
Perhaps the most well-known sequel of all. Francis Ford Coppola’s Oscar-winning masterwork was The Godfather (1972). With The Godfather Part II, he managed to outdo himself and win even more Oscars. In fact, the film was the first sequel to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Please thank Robert De Niro. Both films had brilliant performances by Al Pacino, but the inclusion of another renowned actor in flashbacks helped elevate the gangster thriller. Those flashbacks contextualize the Corleone family and dive deeply into the psyche of power-hungry men and the land of opportunity that produced them.
4. The Bourne Ultimatum
Whatever you want to say about the Bourne series shaky cameras. How could they possibly remain still in the midst of so much activity? Every Bourne film is meant to make your heart race. Paul Greengrass directs a magnificent two-hour chase sequence in his second Bourne film (he also directed The Bourne Supremacy).
5. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Sorcerer’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets, the first two Harry Potter films directed by Christopher Columbus, were good adaptations of J.K. Rowling‘s first two children’s books about the popular wizard. However, in both the novel and the film series, Prisoner of Azkaban marks a seismic shift in tone and ambition. Alfonso Cuaron took up the series from Christopher Columbus in order to provide a darker story for adults.
6. Fast Five
Before Fast Five, the Fast and Furious films were merely a collection of loosely related stories about drag racers. Fast Five established the series as a full-fledged franchise, grossing more than $1.5 billion at the box office. Director Justin Lin cleverly brings all of the characters from the previous films together for the fifth sequel to establish the larger “family” that Vin Diesel’s Dom obsesses in the following films.