John has the difficult task of picking his top ten follow-ups ever. What’s your favourite sequel?
What would you pick? Please let me know below.
10. Evil Dead II (1987)
You could argue that Evil Dead II is more of a remake than a sequel, with the plot being almost identical to the original 1983 horror classic. But with a slightly larger budget and advances in special effects, Sam Raimi was able to create a film which blends both horror and comedy with deliberate precision, making audiences laugh-out-loud and grab the nearest sick bag as the ludicrous entertainment unfolds.
9. The Dark Knight (2008)
A lot of people would probably have my head if I didn’t include The Dark Knight, but I would be foolish to say that it doesn’t deserve credit and a place on the list. Heath Ledger’s show-stealing performance as The Joker is one of the film’s many strengths, including a realistic plot and Christopher Nolan’s striking visual style.
8. Psycho II (1983)
Following in the footsteps of Alfred Hitchcock’s original classic was always going to be a difficult and daunting task, but the filmmakers of Psycho II managed create a faithful and compelling story for the ultimate mamma’s boy, Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins). With a well-crafted screenplay by Tom Holland and intelligent direction by Richard Franklin, Psycho II is arguably one of the most underrated sequels ever made.
7. Mad Max 2 AKA The Road Warrior (1981)
The sequel to 1979’s Mad Max, like many other great follow-ups, really upped the ante in regards to story and characterisation. The Road Warrior proved there was more to Max Rockatansky’s tortured soul than the vengeful cop depicted by Mel Gibson in the previous film. This is a movie that lends itself to the older style of storytelling that is evident in most Westerns, with a lone gunman being forced to protect the innocent from the tyranny of evil in a ravished and violent land.
6. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
After the disappointment of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, which many Trekkies labelled as “The Slow-Motion Picture,” it was time for the crew of the USS Enterprise to be bombarded with some much-needed action and adventure. Re-introducing the character of Khan from an episode of the original series was a stroke of genius. Ricardo Montalban’s Khan gave Kirk and his crew one the most spectacular and memorable confrontations in Star Trek history.
5. Superman II (1980)
The sequel to arguably one of the greatest superhero movies ever made is a superb continuation of the Man of Steel’s story. With the Last Son of Krypton pitted against three supervillains from his home planet, Superman II is pure entertainment from start to finish. What makes this sequel work so well is that it is a companion piece to Superman: The Movie rather than an attempt to make a quick buck by riding the coattails of its predecessor. Both films are essentially one long story that has purposely been split in two.
4. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
Many could argue, including myself, that a sequel to James Cameron’s 1984 sleeper hit wasn’t necessary, but then again, Arnold Schwarzenegger did say, “I’ll be back.” Terminator 2: Judgment Day is easily one of the most re-watchable films ever made, mainly due to its lavish action sequences and still-incredible state-of-the-art visual effects. The film was a showcase for the evolution of CGI, which up until this point had only appeared briefly in a handful of films, such as Young Sherlock Holmes and Cameron’s own The Abyss. A sci-fi/action masterpiece.
3. Aliens (1986)
Like T2, Aliens is ranked very high on most fan lists of favourite sequels. Introducing the action genre to the Alien franchise and turning the central character of Ripley into a tough, Xenomorph ass-kicker was certainly a big departure from Ridley Scott’s tension-filled haunted house in space. With likable characters, snappy dialogue, explosive action and awesome practical and visual effects, Aliens proved that a sequel could be unique in its own right.
2. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Star Wars became a cinematic phenomenon in 1977, breaking all box office records and picking up six Academy Awards along the way. So, topping the sci-fi classic and all its filmmaking achievements was no easy feat. But The Empire Strikes Back managed to do just that in terms of storytelling and visual effects. With a darker and moodier tone and interesting character development, this much-loved sequel ticked all the right boxes with audiences. And for years, audiences were left wondering if Darth Vader’s shocking confession to Luke Skywalker was true or not.
1. The Godfather Part II (1974)
Few can argue that Francis Ford Coppola’s second instalment of The Godfather saga is not only a perfectly-crafted sequel, but it also manages to achieve what so many sequels fail to do, and that is surpass the original. With an Oscar-winning performance from Robert De Niro, the continuing trials and tribulations of the Corleone family are played out in such a dramatic and engaging fashion that audiences will have great difficulty forgetting this cinematic masterpiece in a hurry.