Movie sequels get a raw deal. They are made because audiences paid good money the first time around and the studios realize how profitable an incidental franchise can be. While some of these sequels are released a short 2 years after the previous movie, it doesn’t mean that they suffer in terms of quality. A great deal of movie magic can happen in the year it takes to write, cast, produce and shoot the movie. Each summer, dozens of sequels come out and audiences pay yet again. Typically, the box office for the second or third movie is better than the first. But for some reason, movie buffs tend to rip sequels apart.
This list is dedicated to all those movie sequels that weren’t well-received during their original box office run, but deserve far more praise. It’s time to stop the hate and embrace the gifts these movies freely give.
5 – Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Not since the first Transformers movie have audiences been exposed to such a great spectacle of machine-on-machine combat. It doesn’t matter that you can’t tell the Autobots from the Decepticons. Story deservedly takes a back seat when car-carnage douses your eye-holes with Michael Bay explosive candy. Sequels are meant to be bigger than the original and Transformers 2 delivers in spades. In this work of catastrophic art, there is a giant anatomically-correct Decepticon climbing the pyramids in Egypt. Carmen Sandiego, eat your heart out.
This movie expands on the legend created in the first movie. Apparently the original Prime Transformers meant to conquer Earth in ancient days until they realized that life existed on our planet. So they buried the Matrix of Leadership, which is meant to destroy worlds, under their robotic corpses. Near the end of the movie, Shia Lebouf dies and sees a vision of the Transformers gods telling him that he has more to do. Epic and strangely spiritual. Also, this movie showed us a great adaptation of everyone’s favorite moment of the ’80s cartoon movie – Optimus dying. It’s frankly rewarding to see Michael Bay do justice to everything I held dear as a child. I’m excited for the Bay-produced TMNT reboot.
4 – Spider-Man 3
After the disappointing Spider-Man 2 in 2004, movie fans were hoping to get rid of the bad taste of comic book movies. Thankfully, that redemption came with the third Spider-Man movie. I don’t see what everyone’s problem was with using three villains. Each of them was given the proper time to fully develop. On the same note, I think the Amazing SpiderMan 2 can’t go wrong by introducing the Sinister Six. Six villains in one movie? That’s six times the awesome. Sure, Sam Raimi was forced to include Venom in the final part of his trilogy, but thankfully the character was done justice. Topher Grace is often confused for Tobey Maguire, so the casting makes sense.
Spider-Man 3 brought the trilogy full-circle when they finally answered the nagging question of “Who was really behind Uncle Ben’s death?” Also, while emo Peter Parker has his detractors, I thought it was a perfect representation of Peter being under the influence of alien goo (or whatever it was. It doesn’t matter).
3 – The Ring 2
So many horror movies follow the exact same pattern as the first movie, with a higher body count. I love it when a horror flick is able to depart from tired formulas and expand the mythology. That’s what makes the Ring 2 so underrated. Rachel and her creepy son, Aidan, have made copies of the Samara video and moved away. As it turns out, Samara is using the video and its subsequent victims to find Rachel. Apparently, Samara has mommy issues and takes over the body of Aidan. What happens when a demon girl possesses a young boy? Well, it will watch a lot of TV and refuses to take baths. Sounds like most children if you ask me. It’s realistic horror like the situation described that disturbs my soul.
People who dislike this movie tend to forget that it gave us one of the greatest horror moments of all time. As Rachel and possessed Aidan are driving past the woods, a pack of deer get stand in the roadway. This matter only gets more unusual as the deer start ATTACKING THE CAR!!! I will never be able to drive through the Northwest and not be terrified of kamikaze deer. Thanks a lot Ring 2 for scaring me more than the first movie did.
2 – Rocky V
Rocky is one of the longest-running series in film history. Many people claim that the first movie is a classic, while others praise the montage-heavy Rocky IV. These same people would argue that Rocky V nearly put the nail in the Rocky coffin. I disagree. This 1990 movie managed to take everything that was tired about the franchise and turn it on its head. It was no longer an underdog story that ends in just another triumphant match in the ring. This movie brought back the reality. Rocky comes home from conquering Russia and ending the Cold War and finds that he is bankrupt. (Most likely because he bought a robot butler in Rocky IV). He brings the series back to its roots when he moves Adrian and his son back to his old stomping grounds in Philadelphia. He also suffers a hardship when he learns that he now has brain damage and can no longer professionally box.
Rocky V takes great risks by making Rocky the boxing trainer (to Tommy Gunn) this time around, but it pays off. It’s a classic master-apprentice tale that can only end in tragedy. The movie ends with a spectacular street fight between Gunn and Balboa. Forget Russia, glory is found on the streets.
1 – Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
Okay, before you get angry. Hear me out. Look at what this movie accomplished and tell me it isn’t instrumental to the whole saga. We get a chance to see Anakin grow in his Jedi training. Obi Wan trusts him so much, that he leaves him the entire movie. He’s no longer a 10 year old bright-eyed kid, he’s now a multi-layered hero who can’t deny his heart. Shame on everyone who didn’t find the romance between Anakin and Padme believable. The burgeoning romantic times they shared on prairies of Naboo rival classic love stories seen in Capra films. These are the parents of Luke and Leia after all. Their love needed to be one of the greatest love stories and it shows on screen.
This movie also answered the question that no one asked in the original trilogy, “Who are these soldiers wearing the Storm Trooper uniforms?” In the appropriately-named Attack of the Clones, we find out that millions of clone troopers are duplicates of Boba Fett’s dad. If your mind wasn’t blown by that cameo, then you have no soul.
This movie also told us that it was the bug-like creatures of Geonosis that created the blueprint of the first Death Star. I can’t explain why this is awesome, it just is. This movie also paralleled Empire Strikes Back when Anakin’s hand was cut off. Lucas is nothing (if not original). Lastly, who didn’t love when Yoda went full Jedi and battled Count Dooku? A-mazing. Attack of the Clones is a crucial chess piece in the Star Wars saga.
If you’ve made it all the way to the end of this article, I hope you have a great 1st day of April.