The Most Underrated Movie Sequels Ever
Sequels are a tricky proposition. Much of the time, they’re simply made to cash in on the success of the original—with nowhere near enough thought paid to whether a second installment is justified, storytelling-wise. But some sequels deserve way more love than they do get. Some are totally misunderstood! Here are a few of our favorites.
Back to the future III
While many feel that Back to the Future III was a massively disappointing follow up to two otherwise unimpeachable films, we don’t think the damage was anywhere near that bad. Actually, the movie has a heck of a lot going for it: it’s fun, it’s pacy, it’s super entertaining and, being a Western at a time when that hadn't been done in ages, it's different! And while there’s nothing as iconic here as the hoverboard tunnel scene or Marty playing Johnny B. Goode at his dad’s high school dance, there are still some great little moments, like Marty demonstrating his dead-eye skills at the miniature shooting range, or triumphantly clonking Buford Tannen with his bulletproof vest after the movie’s climactic duel. Anyway, this is all beside the point. You wouldn’t have been happy just leaving Doc in 1885, would you? Heck no, you wouldn’t! So it had to happen.
This is another movie that gets hated on way too much for apparently undoing the good work done before it. And while, admittedly, the ending does totally retcon the ending of Terminator 2: Judgment Day and contradict everything that that movie had to say about the future and fate and so on, it does so with such panache and confidence that it’s pretty hard not to just go with the flow. The action is solid, the villain—a female terminator played by Kristanna Loken—is a fresh touch, and the whole thing is so thoroughly entertaining that, for us at least, it’s hard to be too sore about the whole "you rewrote our childhoods!" thing. Plus, the subsequent Terminator Sequels (Salvation, anyone?) clearly deserve the hate way more. Go trash them, instead!
Well, it’s not exactly hated, but it’s not exactly respected either. Rocky III marked the point that the Rocky franchise went from a high concept piece about an amateur brawler given his chance at the big time (plus a tidy follow up) to becoming a full on extended series. And while it lost some of its dramatic impact in the transition, it sure did gain a heck of a sense of fun. Mr. T as Clubber Lang is a hugely entertaining—and genuinely intimidating—villain and, hey, if it weren’t for Rocky III, we wouldn’t have Rocky IV, would we? And who would want to live in a world where that was the case? No-one, that’s who.
Die Hard 4.0
Like Rocky III, Live Free or Die Hard is a movie that works simply because it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It takes all the terrorism-themed chaos and heart pumping action one might expect of a Die Hard movie and delivers it with a wry smile. From the totally over the top plot (hackers have pretty much 100% taken over the entire United States—talk about raising the stakes!) to the absolutely ridiculous action sequences (John McClane fights a jet with a truck. For perspective, in the first movie, one of his biggest stunts was walking on a floor with glass on it), the whole thing is just a silly, gaudy mess. So long as you approach it with a healthy sense of humor, what’s not to love?
Ok, these are getting harder to defend. But hear us out! Predator 2 is worth some serious props just for making such an effort to take things in a totally new direction. The first movie takes place in the jungle. It’s about a bunch of army dudes getting hunted. It stars Arnold Schwarzenegger. The second? It’s set in downtown LA. It’s about the Predator kind of… interrupting drug deals? And who’s down to crack the case? A slightly overweight Danny Glover, that’s who. Hey, we’re not going to be retreading any old ground, are we? Admittedly, the final product is something of an uneven mess, but heck, this is one sequel that wasn’t afraid to take risks. For that, we salute it.
What sequels do you think got more hate than they deserved?