The 12 Best Movie Sequels Ever Made

Published 5 years ago by , Updated March 3rd, 2014 at 6:28 am,

#10) X2: X-Men United

x men movies The 12 Best Movie Sequels Ever Made

Right off the bat, fans knew they were in for something special. The White House assassination attempt was a brilliant start to a sequel many believe was one of the first to introduce the notion that superhero films can be serious. No, it’s not quite as moody as The Dark Knight, but there’s no question the second X-Men film touches upon some deeper emotions from the colorful characters. For instance, the scene where Nightcrawler explains his difficult life gave these mutants a heart the filmmakers didn’t necessarily have to expand upon.

The first film introduced a world with mutants as a minority, but focused more on the individuals and the origin of the team. The sequel goes explores the way those same mutants interact with the world of prejudice they must overcome. It was a fascinating change of pace, taking the X-Men’s enemy (Magneto) and forcing them to join forces against a common threat. The entire film is a commentary on a number of issues and achieves its goal without pushing its agendas in your face.

There is a fascinating parallel to another member of this list, Terminator 2, as the female villain Lady Deathstrike is eerily similar to the T-1000. This connection is twofold. She mirrors the heroic Wolverine in ability and even dies in a pretty close way to the T-1000. But this just begins a trend shared by many of the sequels on our list: new characters helping to expand upon and enhance an already established story.

#9) Aliens

alien aliens The 12 Best Movie Sequels Ever Made

The James Cameron sequel to Alien is one of the most beloved sci-fi films out there. But is it better than the original? You can argue this from a number of angles. It is definitely different from the first; the second installment is an action-packed revenge flick with big sets and big scenes.

While the first is a suspenseful mystery, seemingly pitting the bad guy in a dangerous environment, the second is a testosterone-filled (even with the femme fatale) adrenaline rush, hellbent on giving the alien what it had coming.

In continuing the comparison of Alien to Aliens, it is important to recognize one is a futuristic film and the other is a hyper-realistic one. Alien follows the fear rushing through the human characters, who have an unwelcome visitor aboard. Aliens looks at how the destructive nature of mankind would respond to a dangerous and uncompromising villain.

But if anything puts Aliens on this list, it is the last line of the film: “Get away from her, you bitch.” One of the best action one-liners ever.

#8) Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan

Star Trek Wrath of Khan The 12 Best Movie Sequels Ever Made

Following the snooze-fest that was Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Trek fans went NUTS when the follow-up turned out to be Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan. Director Nicholas Meyer (who knew almost nothing about Star Trek when he signed on to direct the film) tossed out the pastel blue uniforms and brought in a look more in line with that of Classic Trek.

Meyer decided to approach the sequel as if it were a futuristic Naval submarine film, and it worked beautifully. It had great space battle action and insight into Captain Kirk via his grappling with middle age and the discovery that he had a son he never knew about. Combine that with Ricardo Montalban’s royally over-the-top performance and bulging pecs, and you have what many Trekkers consider to be the best Star Trek movie ever made.

#7) Superman II

Superman II The 12 Best Movie Sequels Ever Made

Choose your favorite version, the Richard Donner cut or the Richard Lester version, and either way you’ll get one of the best sequels in film. It all comes down to General Zod, really. One of the most enjoyable villains in superhero history even gets the Man of Steel to bow at his feet. The debate on this film ranges between the two cuts; Lester’s brings the humor, Donner’s brings the character and it is difficult to find a happy balance. Most fans seem to prefer the Donner cut (as I do).

It really doesn’t matter which cut you prefer, the true essence for why this may be the best Superman film to this day is the focus on the mythos and levels of power Superman must deal with. And as the old saying goes, “A movie is only as good as its villain.” This couldn’t be more true than in Superman 2.  Is  Terence Stamp’s performance as General Zod better than Heath Ledger as The Joker? Not at all. But the character of Zod still puts Superman II right at #7 and deservedly so.

#6) The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers

Lord of the Rings Two Towers Gollum The 12 Best Movie Sequels Ever Made

One of the most cherished trilogies of all time puts The Two Towers in prime position for this list. As a standalone feature, Two Towers is as epic as they come. Of course, it is near impossible to think of any one of the Lord of the Rings films without thinking of the other two. But sticking to the second installment, the key factor to Two Towers‘ greatness is the brilliant performance of Gollum.

Similar to the effect of General Zod in Superman 2, this one character elevates the second film beyond the first. The look inside the life of this deeply troubled and mesmerizing character is so engaging you forget he is computer generated.

The Battle of Helms Deep is truly one of the shining moments of Two Towers, the LOTR trilogy and even film in general. But the climactic battle of Two Towers is also accompanied by the epic Last March of the Ents, which should be in a top 10 list of greatest battle scenes.

In addition, you get the extension of Gandalf’s great fall from the end of The Fellowship of the Rings, showing you just how powerful the great wizard can be. Where some sequels fail in their attempt to get bigger and crazier, The Two Towers does just that in a way that still enhances the story and characters involved, setting the stage for arguably the best third chapter of all time.

Continue to the top 5 sequels of all time…

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  1. Dark Knight was a good movie, but nowhere near deserves the worship the weirdos on the internet give it

    • The Dark Knight??? The Dark Knight deserves its spot. Spiderman 2 is the one that’s being ridiculously overpraised.
      And when will people start realising that Star Wars was nothing but pantomime nonsense. Godfather Part II wasn’t half the movie the original was but I can live with that being #1.

  2. How in THE hell can you even rank Godfather II ahead of Empire and Dark Knight! Only reason must be to get this thing noticed or people talking about it. I realize it is the opinion of the site but dead wrong on Number 1. Should be Empire 1 and Dark Knight 2 and you can go from there. Since no one was with you or whomever you decided to help you with this list…..but It’s not something you should have published. Empire is and always will be the greatest sequel ever made…bottom line….end of story….exclamation point…whatever. You called Godfather 2 a sprawling epic….thats empire genius.

    Wake up!

    • One of the dumbest things I’ve ever read.

      • Yeah, fanboyism does that to people.

    • The Godfather Part 2 is the greatest film ever made

  3. Obviously, you’ve never seen THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN.

  4. Dear mike: You’re in the 501st, aren’t you…? ;)

    • Nah, the 501st is an elite unit, this guy clearly lacks any capacity of being elite.

  5. How the hell is rocky 2 not on this list! all of these fag movies! rocky 2 should be rated #2 and the godfather part 2 should keep its place at #1

  6. Where’s Adams Family Values? Easily ranks above any of the various superhero movies on this list, excepting (maybe) the Dark Knight.

  7. How the hell can you rank The Dark Knight over Terminator 2: Judgment Day? T2 is one of the biggest reasons why we have The Dark Knight or almost every comic book movie out there today. And it’s equally ridiculous that Aliens is so far down on your list. If James Cameron has any legacy it’s simply that he made two of the greatest sequels ever made, period.

    • I think the bigger travesty is pantomime nonsense like Star Wars getting ahead of both the Dark Knight and T-2. But Terminator, despite its visually beauty suffers from extremely poor dialogue exchanges ( much like almost every other Cameron movie ). It’s the definitive action movie but I actually preferred the original, by quite a distance. Switch Empire with Dark Knight and T-2 with T-2. That would probably be my list.

  8. Honestly Cap 2 can be included now. Such a great film, but an even better sequel!

  9. That os scare to me. Not real that is so cool

  10. Rocky II Anyone?? Should be 2nd only to the Godfather 2.

  11. Where is James Cameron’s Aliens?