Superhero Franchises With Lackluster Originals That Picked Up The Pace With Better Sequels


The movie industry now belongs to the superhero genre. many superhero franchises have planted their roots strongly into Hollywood and now rake millions. Many of the popular superhero franchises today did not start out that strong. These movies had very lackluster original entries. It was only after their sequels came that these superhero franchises started showing promise.

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The list in no way demeans the contributions of these original superhero films to the world of cinema. And we won’t vilify you for liking the original more than the sequel. But from an overall perspective, the sequels actually loo, sound and feel better than the original movies in these franchises.


Captain America: The Winter Soldier Blew The First Avenger Out Of The Water

Superhero Franchises With Lackluster Originals - Captain America 2
The Winter Soldier

Not in a million years we would have thought that the Captain America franchise would make it to this list. As far as superhero franchises of Hollywood are concerned, the lackadaisical First Avenger did not leave much hopes for us to expect something better in a sequel. Not to belittle the MCU but The First Avenger is one of its weakest links, right after Thor and Civil War.

Then came the magic of Anthony and Joe Russo, who transformed a near-dead MCU sub-franchise into one of the greatest superhero franchises the industry had ever seen. The Winter Soldier had everything – damn good suspense, thrilling action, and an epic climax that puts majority of Marvel movies to shame.


X2: X-Men United Helped The Franchise After The Lackluster Original X-Men Film

Superhero Franchises With Lackluster Originals - X2
X2: X-Men United

When Fox gave us the original X-Men movie, they probably forgot that a movie requires more than just characters and special effects. It requires an actual viable plot that makes the fans sit on the edges of their seats. X-Men did not even do any better at the special effects department because of the limited technology at the time.

The characters were not original either, with all of them sourced from Marvel Comics. X2 tried to digress, do something different. It took an original plot, added new characters, and then showed us the mutant plight in all its glory. X2 will forever remain an underrated classic amongst all superhero franchises.


Superman II (The Richard Donner Cut) Surpasses The Original Movie By Several Light-Years

Superhero Franchises With Lackluster Originals - Superman II
Richard Donner Cut – Superman II

The 1978 Superman movie started a superhero revolution in Hollywood. We will never ever deny that. But sometimes we have to ask ourselves the hard questions. And for classic superhero franchises like Superman, that question is – was it really THAT good. Some may say yes. Some would be 50-50 on the answer. And some would most definitely say no and choose a better movie (according to them).

The Richard Donner Cut of Superman II came in 2006 as part of a restoration effort by the studio. And fans stand by this statement even today after 16 years of the cut being released. The Superman II Richard Donner Cut remains the finest Superman movie ever made.


The Dark Knight Makes Batman Begins Look Like Amateur Hour

Superhero Franchises With Lackluster Originals - Dark Knight
Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight

Suffice it to say, Nolan helped reinvent the Batman cinematic franchise. without him, Warner Brothers may have never been able to escape the curse of Batman & Robin. But his greatest Batman movie will never be Batman Begins. It will always be The Dark Knight. Batman begins, undoubtedly, started its own kind of revolution like 1978’s Superman. But the grounded realism that Nolan’s Batman trilogy became known for was achieved in The Dark Knight.

By giving us the scariest supervillain ever of superhero franchises and a hero that was flawed to the core, Nolan’s The Dark Knight essayed itself as one of the greatest sequels in the history of superhero franchises.


Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Not Hellboy I, Is Del Toro At His Finest

Superhero Franchises With Lackluster Originals - Hellboy
Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Guillermo Del Toro is a guy who is into weird stuff. And he shows that to us in his movies. His obsession with clockwork and steampunk is what drives most of his movie’s visuals. That’s why he chose Hellboy as his source for a live action movie adaptation. The original Hellboy had pretty dark and gritty elements, not Del Toro’s strong suits. It was in Golden Army that the filmmaker found his niche. He made the movie as colorful and dazzling as possible. He clearly took inspiration from his other masterpiece, Pan’s Labyrinth, when he made Hellboy II: The Golden Army. The original was a shoddy production but the sequel was a visual treat and a masterpiece amongst superhero franchises.


Written by Bibhu Prasad Panda

With a Bachelor's in Engineering and a Master's in Marketing and Operations, Bibhu found a love for writing, working for many different websites. He joined FandomWire in July 2020 and worked his way to his current position of Content Strategist. Bibhu has been involved in operating and managing FandomWire's team of writers, diversifying into varied, exotic fields of pop culture.