It’s not often that Hollywood is able to top itself, but sometimes lightning does strike twice, and in some of these movie’s cases, even three times. Other times the bar has just been set too high by the original. I think this had a lot to do with why the Star Wars Prequels and the Matrix sequels were so poorly received. In any case, here’s a list of the best instances where sequels went big, but didn’t go home.
7. Mad Max: beyond Thunderdome
Most a lot of people, this is the worst of the trilogy, but not for me. I think both of the first two Mad Max movies were basically garbage, especially the first one. I guess the car chases were ok, but they definitely don’t stand up to this day. Thunderdome embraced everything that should have made Mad Max great to begin with, adventure, a post-apocalyptic wasteland, over the top action, returning character, and I even like the part Tina Turner played.
6. Terminator 2: Judgement Day
I’m not a big fan of T1, but this sequel is incredible. The production quality is a million times better than the cheap first installment and some of the special effects actually still hold up till this day. That’s saying something, especially when you consider that it was the first really CG heavy movie of that kind, and that Spiderman 2 already looks terrible and that was less than a decade ago.
5. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Possibly the most epic western ever committed to film. This old school Sergio Leone slow build western is the stuff that every one since is weighed by. It’s also surprisingly action oriented as compared to Leone and the time’s normal western movie. Ennio Morricone’s score is legendary and so is the final scene in the graveyard. Why didn’t Leone make more movies???
4. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
I take a lot of flack for liking Temple the most out of the bunch, but for me it’s hands down the most fun. This movie has me from the first scene where Indy is fighting his way out of a gangster’s dinner party in Hong Kong, all while trying to find the antidote to the poison he just drank. His sidekick in this movie is Short Round; a young Asian kid that basically makes the movie for me. I wish he had been around for further installments, and eventually to take over instead of Shia. Don’t get me wrong, I love Shia, but Short Round is the man in my book.
3. The Two Towers
I go back and forth between this and Return of the King. I love the last scene in ROTK so much, but the Battle of Helms Deep is easily the most epic battle ever committed to cinema. The moment when Gandalf the White crests the hill bringing the Riders of Rohan into the fight…I literally just go chills thinking about it.
2. Return of the Jedi
Most consider Empire the best of the Star Wars saga, but I’m a Jedi man, myself. I love seeing Luke come back as a confident hard case with such a clear picture of what he has to do. He waltzes into Jabba’s palace, tells him what’s up, and then basically takes the place apart. I even love the Endor and all the Ewoks. There’s just something about final chapter in trilogies that always gets me. Maybe it’s the culmination of the previous two movies. I love the payoff, and for me, there’s almost none bigger than Jedi.
1. The Dark Knight
After the string of utterly terrible Batman movies, Batman Begins was a breath of fresh air. I remember thinking, “Wow. That was amazing. How can Chris Nolan top that?” And then he did. He not only topped it, he made it look like garbage. The Dark Knight is so ridiculously good on every single level that it doesn’t even make sense. The way you see Batman fight is so much more fluid, Harvey Dent’s whole debacle plays right into Bruce’s story with Rachel, and let’s not forget Heath Ledger. This movie wowed me and it still knocks my socks off whenever I watch it almost three years later. If Chris Nolan can top The Dark Knight with the The Dark Knight Rises, I’ll be so happy I’ll probably cry and embarrass myself in front of all my friends. My fingers are crossed for that to happen.
Of all sequels, over all the years, here are my submissions for the best of all time. Considering that the first movie is always, usually, the best, What would be at the top of your list?
Top Photo Credit: B℮n