In Hollywood, sequels are frequently inferior to the original, often being products of the producers’ desire to increase the profit generated from their original investment. Sequels often seem rushed and lack the same creative vision of the first film. However, on some occasions, a sequel will be better than the original film. Below, I have selected five films that I believe are better than their predecessors.
Terminator 2: Judgement Day (James Cameron, 1991)
This sequel is set sometime after the events of The Terminator, and a young John Connor (Edward Furlong) is unaware that he will one day become the leader of the Resistance, against the future robot uprising. The film turns the titular Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) of the previous film into the good guy, who is sent back in time to protect John Connor from the threat of another cyborg. The film is far superior to the original, as it is has a much better story, better action and special effects, and overall a much more enjoyable film.
22 Jump Street (Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, 2014)
22 Jump Street quite hilariously uses the first film as a template for its storyline, as it was so successful. The film is fully aware of the ridiculousness of more or less copying the previous film. 22 Jump Street is funnier, bolder and crazier than 21 Jump Street, and Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill are a delight to watch.
The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan, 2008)
Quite easily the best film in Nolan’s Batman trilogy. From the story to the characters, most especially Heath Ledger’s incredible portrayal of The Joker, The Dark Knight is a much better film than Batman Begins. Nolan raises the stakes in the sequel and once again includes multiple villains as well as The Joker, such as Harvey “Two-Face” Dent, and an appearance from Cillian Murphy’s Scarecrow. Such an enthralling film that is arguably one of the finest superhero films to date.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Francis Lawrence, 2013)
Set directly after the events of the first film in The Hunger Games trilogy, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire sees the main character, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) return to the arena in which she is once again forced to fight for survival against several other tributes.
The film is a bigger and more polished version of its predecessor, expanding on the dystopian world, originally created by Suzanne Collins in the novels. Also, Jennifer Lawrence provides a great performance as Katniss and there are some strong performances from the supporting cast, which all contributes to a very good sequel.
Spider-Man 2 (Sam Raimi, 2004)
Although Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy probably won’t go down in the history books, the films were hugely popular in the early-mid 2000s. They are also more successful than the poorly-received reboot starring Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man. Spider-Man 2 was a great improvement on the first film, as the sequel was no longer hindered by the need to explore the character’s origins.
The film has better action scenes and Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus, is a much more interesting and entertaining villain. Seen as one of the superior films in its genre, Spider-Man 2 is another rare occurrence in which the sequel is better than the original.