There’s really nothing like the first time. But sometimes, a film’s sequel manages to get it right again, or be even better!
1. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
After Peter Jackson debuted what would be the first installment in a gripping series based on the books by J.R.R. Tolkien, audiences eagerly anticipated what he would produce next. Lo and behold, The Two Towers was even more intense than the first film, exploring the relationships between key characters and the true depths of what lay at stake for the party traveling to Mordor.
2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
Where The Sorcerer’s Stone proved to be an engaging and deliciously magical film, its sequel strove to capture the parts of Harry’s story that were a bit darker and more ominous. Chris Columbus directs and succeeds in clinching an audience that would remain ever-faithful to this popular film franchise.
3. The Bourne Supremacy (2004)
Matt Damon stepped out of the indies and into a commercially successful action film series when he took up his most well-known role as the retired assassin, Jason Bourne. The second film further develops the story introduced in the first and keeps its promise of entertaining viewers with armrest-gripping tension.
4. Beverly Hills Cop II (1987)
Director Tony Scott and the unbeatable Eddie Murphy team up in this sequel to produce a film that is arguably even funnier than the first one.
5. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Although it bears the title of “fifth episode”, Empire Strikes Back was the second film to appear in the series, and it’s quite possibly the best sequel that has ever been created. Although some of the franchise’s later films proved to be a major disappointment for fans all over the country, Empire Strikes Back is responsible for their continued undying love affair with Star Wars.
6. Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999)
Mike Myers resurrects the roles of groovy secret agent, Austin Powers, and his nemesis, Dr. Evil. The second installment in a series that humorously honors the classic James Bond films, this movie is almost as original as its predecessor.
7. Ghostbusters II (1989)
The Ghostbusters team reunites in this surprisingly good sequel. Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Rick Moranis, and Ernie Hudson once again join forces to produce unbeatable comedic entertainment.
8. Blade II (2002)
Before the Twilight series and tweeny-bopper vampire fan clubs existed, there was Blade. Wesley Snipes played the half-mortal, half-vampire protector of humans, all while doing his own stunts and martial arts sequences. Way more badass than the sparkly Edward Cullen.
9. Rocky II (1979)
Anyone can see the difficulty in following up a success like the first Rocky film, but the prospects of a rematch just seemed too juicy to pass up.
10. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
Although some would argue that the third film in the Indiana Jones series tops this one, Temple of Doom is an interesting sequel/prequel that delves further into the violent and often controversial world of Indiana Jones. Interestingly enough, this film later contributed to the development of the PG-13 rating for its intense fighting sequences and disturbing images, (including the famous heart extraction scene.)
11. Shrek 2 (2004)
Shrek 2 had the potential to ruin everything that was so endearing about the first film. Luckily, all of the audience favorites returned with extra gusto and plenty of fresh jokes to entertain both children and adults.
12. The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)
It’s pretty tough to top this film’s predecessor, but The Lost World succeeds in taking audiences back into the immersive world created by powerhouse couple, director Steven Spielberg and writer Michael Crichton.
13. Toy Story 2 (1999)
Produced four years after the first one, Toy Story 2 successfully delivers that classic Pixar charm that delights small children and makes grown men cry. (Extra points go out to Toy Story 3 which saw more dudes crying in theaters than any other film in history.)
14. Back to the Future Part II (1989)
Michael J. Fox reprises his role as Marty McFly, a dashing, quirky young man who, with the help of a very enthusiastic scientist, manages to travel back in time. This time around, Marty must go back in time again without running into himself…again. You know, from the first movie.
15. Die Hard 2 (1990)
Again, some may argue that this film is usurped by the one that came after it, but Die Hard 2 has the edge since it stars Bruce Willis with most of his hair, and it marked the franchise as one that would refuse to…well, die hard.
16. Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004)
The Bride’s story continues in this film masterfully written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. Uma Thurman returns to the screen as a trained samurai goddess hellbent on finding her revenge. This movie is a scintillatingly good follow-up to Vol. 1.
17. The Dark Knight (2008)
Not only is The Dark Knight an amazing sequel, it’s a masterpiece of a film all on its own. Director Christopher Nolan is at his best as he follows the film’s masked hero in his fight against Gotham’s most brilliant and erratic super-villain, The Joker, played by the immensely talented Heath Ledger.
18. The Godfather: Part II (1974)
This film needs little explanation. Suffice to say that if you haven’t watched The Godfather series, you don’t know what a great sequel is.
19. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
James Cameron, responding to the demands of hungry fans, returned to the Terminator story to create a second film that would not only satisfy the hordes of Schwarzenegger-wannabes, but surpass the first film’s commercial success by over 400 percent.
20. Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Boris Karloff stars again as the classic stiff-limbered beast, but this time he’s looking to get himself a lady beast!