The rising and falling stars of movie sequels: top five best and worst movie sequels


When a truly great movie hits the theaters it seems to become immortalized and anticipation is always high when the sequel for this successful movie comes out. However, even this exalted movie can fall from glory. According to a variety of newspapers and entertainment articles, these are the consensuses of which movies ranks the top five best and worst movie sequels. 

Top Five Best Movie Sequels

1. Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back- For most science fiction fans the “Star Wars” series sparked their love affair with alien movies. So it is not surprising to see that the movie sequel “Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back” was listed on numerous top ten sites. It appears as if the movie’s popularity sprung from a surprising end.  The Time Staff called the movie “an epic story at a perfect pace until it reaches a beautiful crescendo in perhaps the most memorable cliffhanger of all time,” in the Time Entertainment article “Top 10 Movie Sequels Better than the Originals.”

2. Terminator 2 Judgment Day- The “Terminator’ movie series took technology meant to be an aid for humans and turned it into a terrifying enemy. However, the second movie changed this dynamic by taking the villain from the first movie, played by actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and turned him into the protector. “Terminator 2 Judgment Day” was the first instance in which human motion was utilized for computer-generated characters, according to Time Entertainment writer Feifei Sun in the article “Top 10 Movie Sequels Better than the Originals.

3. Godfather Part II- In any genre, one of the classic movie series that is known by almost everyone, even those who have not watched the films, is the Godfather movies. And the second Godfather movie made quite a lasting impression. According to the MSN Entertainment Fix article “Best and worst movie sequels ever,” “The Godfather Part II” was the first sequel to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. “‘The Godfather Part II’ was not merely rinsing and repeating the formula that worked so well in the first film,” said an MSN Entertainment Fix writer.

4. Star Trek 2 Wrath of Khan- “Star Trek” is a name that transcended television shows to make a presence in cinema. The sequel “Star Trek 2 Wrath of Khan” improved “the sleepy first” adaptation of the television series, according to Time Entertainment writer Gilbert Cruz in the article “Top 10 Movie Sequels Better than the Originals.” Cruz believed the faster pace, sense of humor, campy and iconic Trek moments, and photon-torpedo space attacks saved the “Star Trek” movie franchise.

Bride of Frankenstein image courtesy of Cine Text / Allstar/Sportsphoto Ltd. / Allstar, used on http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/dec/20/close-bone-friend-visualise-death
Bride of Frankenstein image courtesy of Cine Text / Allstar/Sportsphoto Ltd. / Allstar, used on http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/dec/20/close-bone-friend-visualise-death

5. The Bride of Frankenstein- “The Bride of Frankenstein” was a perfect example of how a popular movie could transcend time. This black and white horror movie was made memorable by the “iconic white-streaked beehive that graced the head of Elsa Lanchester,” Cruz said in the article “Top 10 Movie Sequels Better than the Original.” This movie was listed on Time’s top 100 greatest films list. “This is one of those rare sequels that are infinitely superior to its source,” said Time’s Richard Schickel.

Top Five Worst Movie Sequels

1. Speed 2 Cruise Control- Daniel Caw and James Mcivor, in the Sun article “Forget Hangover 3 … Here are the top ten worst sequels of all-time” mentioned that the events in “Speed 2: Cruise Control” may have been similar to the original movie. Chris Nashawaty, in the Entertainment Weekly article “The 25 worst sequels ever made,” was disappointed with the movie’s characters. “We know fellow passenger Willem Dafoe’s evil because he attaches leeches to himself after planting bombs on board,” Nashawaty said. “Frankly, the Norwalk virus would have made a more convincing villain.”

2. Dirty Dancing 2 Havana Nights- Although the title implies that this movie is a sequel, “Dirty Dancing 2 Havana Nights” had no connection to the original except for a cameo of Patrick Swayze, according to Nashawaty. “The only difference being that the film is set in Cuba the night before the revolution takes place, presumably as an attempt to give the film a hint of gravitas,” said the Independent staff in the article “10 of the worst movie sequels ever made.” Caw and Mcivor, in their Sun article said that Dirty Dancing 2 lacked the “sizzling chemistry, sexual tension and a captivating storylines” of the first movie.

3. Dumb and Dumberer When Harry Met Lloyd- This sequel chronicled the earlier years of the less than intelligent duo Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne. Unfortunately the duo lacked their humor in the sequel “Dumb and Dumberer When Harry Met Lloyd.” Caw and Mcivor said that the movie was “nothing more than a money making exercise for Hollywood bigwigs aiming to cash in on the original’s popularity.” “It’s saying something when the height of cleverness… is right there in the title,” Nashawaty said in his article.”

Star Wars Phantom Menace Jinks
Star Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace. Image courtesy of starwars101 posted

4. Star Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace- It is quite amazing that such a successful movie franchise such as the “Star Wars” series could have one sequel that just did not cut it. “Star Wars Episode I Phantom Menace” was an example of this occurrence. And from the opinion of many writers, it appeared that the failure of this movie was due mainly to the character Jar Jar Binks. “Right off the bat, Liam Neeson saved the life of Gungan minstrel Jar Jar Binks and it all went to hell from there,” Nashawaty said. “Ace special effects couldn’t paper over the by-the-numbers storyline, or Jar Jar Binks,” a Mirror reporter said in the article “Best and worst movie sequels: triumphs and the turkeys include Aliens, Grease 2, The Phantom Menace and more.”

5. Jaws The Revenge- You would think that a movie franchise which created a theme song for shark attacks would be able to come up with a good sequel. However, this was not the case for “Jaws The Revenge.” According to Nashawaty, the less than ideal attention to details, for example a wet actor instantly becoming dry in the next shot, was part of the reason why this sequel did not become a hit… “The film isn’t helped by the constant over-the-top shark set-pieces and by the end you’re just left with the feeling that you should’ve watched the original,” Caw and Mcivor said.