movies sequels

When I think of a movie sequel, I automatically think of a film that’s bigger and raised the stakes from its predecessor. That doesn’t mean it works. In fact, I’d argue that most sequels fail because it can’t recreate the magic that made the first film successful. In turn, failed sequels usually don’t bring anything new to offer so the film can’t stand on its own. When a sequel is done right, it’s special. When a sequel outdoes the original, it’s legendary.

On the Unafraid Show’s Twitter, we asked which three sequels would you pick from a list of nine films.

The Choices

  • The Dark Knight
  • The Godfather Part II
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day (T2)
  • Toy Story 2
  • Aliens
  • Star Wars Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
  • Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior
  • Before Sunset

This lineup is the 1927 Yankees aka Murderers’ Row. Not only are they some of the best sequels ever made, but these movies are some of the most important films ever made. It’s like choosing between children (that I don’t have). One is by far your favorite, but all the others make compelling cases for spots two and three. You truly can’t make a bad decision when it comes to narrowing it down to three films, or can you?

By definition, a sequel is any movie that continues the story or expands upon the previous entry so, therefore, you could make a case that the third, fourth, and fifth films from a series are sequels. However, when I think of sequels, it’s the second movie that comes out after the original or the second film in a series of movies. It’s why films like Toy Story 3 or Mad Max: Fury Road were not included on the list.

Here are my picks.

The Dark Knight – This is my favorite child out of the nine. The Dark Knight is one of my top five films of all time. I hold it near and dear to my heart. It changed how I thought critically about films. A superhero premise disguised as a neo-noir blew my mind. Christopher Nolan, one of my favorite filmmakers ever, opened up new doors for comic book adaptations and how these films could be massive events on a global scale. I haven’t even mentioned Heath Ledger yet, who gave the most memorable performance by any actor in the last forty years. Whenever The Dark Knight is on television, whatever I planned to do takes a backseat to the cat-and-mouse game between Batman and The Joker.

Aliens – Imagine looking at Alien and The Terminator (which Cameron wrote and directed) and thinking not only could you make a sequel, but you could make it better than the original? There’s a reason why James Cameron has two films on this list. T2 is a great movie, but Aliens kicks so much ass. It’s one of the greatest action films ever. Alien is more of a slow burn as the Xenomorph plays “hide and seek” as it takes out the crew one by one. On the other hand, Aliens is in-your-face, nonstop action as soon as Ellen Ripley and the crew land on LV-426. Aliens changed genre filmmaking forever. Aliens include edge-of-your-seat thrills along with being downright terrifying especially when the marines invade the nesting ground of the creatures. This movie was nominated for seven Academy Awards including Best Actress for Sigourney Weaver. A female action star receiving a Best Actress nomination in a sci-fi epic is something that doesn’t happen today. That’s how important Aliens is to the history of moviemaking.

Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers – When making this list, I did not expect The Two Towers to crack the top 3 with the likes of Empire Strikes Back, Godfather Part II, and T2 still on the board. However, when I started to compare The Two Towers to its competitors in terms of rewatchability and enjoyment, The Two Towers stood taller than the rest. It starts and ends with The Battle of Helm’s Deep. Battle scenes were not a new thing in 2002. Just look at the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan and the fighting scenes in Braveheart. However, Helm’s Deep became the new standard for battle scenes thanks to its use of CGI. Before the Battle of Winterfell in Game of Thrones, The Two Towers had the title of the longest consecutive battle scene in movie and television history. The Battle of Helm’s Deep is a spectacular feat of filmmaking. However, the quieter moments behind the city walls and the scene-stealing Gollum are what make The Two Towers one of the best fantasy films ever made.

We took the discussion to Twitter and let’s just say people had some thoughts.

@JagsApologist, Spider-Man 2 barely missed the cut. It’s in the Top 15.

Which three sequels are you picking? Let us know on Twitter, @unafraidshow.

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