Dave's Corner of the Universe

Where strange fact and stranger fiction collide

Sequels I liked More than the Original.

.Reel

Ok, first off I don’t expect that everyone will agree with me on this. In fact I am hopping everybody who reads this thinks that I am wrong at least one place in this post. I also understand that the word ‘better’ is very subjective. For the purposes of this essay I am going to defend it as “I liked it more.”

 

It is not uncommon for sequels to suck. The theory behind the concept of the sequel is sound. The first one worked, and we the audience want to see more of the characters, that in the space of two and half hours, we have grown to care about, but the second film is at best an iffy proposition. If the end product is too close to the original it becomes old hat. Differ too much from the successful source material then it becomes too different from what we wanted to see.

 

There are also the rare movies sequels that are equal to the original. My list of those movies includes Godfather I & II, the Fellowship of the Ring & The Two Towers, Bat Man Begins & The Dark Knight, and Captain America: First Avenger & Captain America: Winter Solider. Hey I love it when a sequel at least meets its predecessor but for now I am focusing on one that I personally thought were superior.

 

Also for today at least I am only discussing direct sequels, I loved Dr. No, the first Bond movie, but my favorite of the franchise is Goldfinger. The second Bond Movie is From Russia with Love. And even though it has grown on me, I didn’t really like it when I first saw it. But since GF didn’t directly follow Dr. No it doesn’t count for this discussion.

 

Now you are going to see there are a lot of science fiction and superhero movies on this list, that may because they are the type of movies that are more likely to have a sequel or more than likely the reason is that these type of movies are what I watch the most.

 

So first let’s talk about a sequel that I don’t think is better than the original. Star Wars & The Empire Strikes Back. I get that a lot of people like Empire better than the original. And it is a great movie. It is a perfect bridge between the first and third movies. But personally I don’t enjoy it as much as the original. Probably because it is just that; a bridge or a connection between two other movies. It doesn’t have a beginning or an ending. OK, that isn’t completely true, it starts and it has credits at the end but you get what I mean by that. Star Wars is its beginning and Return of the Jedi is TESB’s closure. Star Wars to me is more than a good movie or the first mega block buster. It is the PERFECT movie. In its heart it is story of how a boy becomes a man, then a hero, in the classic mono-myth tradition. The aliens and light sabers and dog fights are just icing on the story cake. But TESB isn’t a bad movie, maybe not even an inferior movie, but to me at least it’s not better movie.

 

Star Trek: The Motion Picture & Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan. The original Star Trek movie gets a lot of flak. Released ten years after the series was cancelled, it was ridding the concussion wave of the sci-fi supernova that was Star Wars. First it was going to be a TV show then a movie. The plot is a rehash, I had a friend that called the movie “Where Nomad had gone before.” Half of the movie is space panorama shots and space ship effect shots, basically effect porn. But it did something that nothing else did, it brought our friends back home to us. Kirk, Spot and the others came back to us. It also made money, so there could be a superior sequel.

Trek TMP Crew

We are back.

 

Khan is a sequel both to ST:TMP, but also the TV episode Space Seed ST:II TWoK’s effects may be down played compared to the original, but that lets us focus on the cast. Sure the acting is melodramatic but to me it is forgivable because of the pure passion the actors have for their chachters. The finial battle comes of, very well, as an emotional 3d chess game, where other movies rely on ships darting across the screen and brightly colored explosions. All in all ST:II is a very emotionally fulfilling movie.

KHAN

Mas macho!

 

Despite being a different prospective on the same story, I can’t say that I like Into the Darkness better than the Star Trek re-launch. The original JJ Abrams movie was a decent enough summer action flick. Just don’t over think it, enjoy the pretty cast and pretty effects, and try to block out the lenses flairs. Into the Darkness has some good points, it has an evil Robocop admiral, and a cute, English accented David Marcus baby momma, (the original actress was Dutch) but to me it really isn’t a movie, it is a collection of at sometimes good scenes. If anything into the Darkness made me realize how much I like Ricardo Montalban. Honestly Benedict Cumberbatch’s, emotionally detached intellectual superman, just doesn’t grab my attention as well as Mr. Roark’s id driven, muscle bound tyrant.

 

X-Men & X2: X-Men United. When I left the theater n 2000 having watched the original X-men movie I thought, good set up, now when do we get to see the movie? Sure there is a big battle at the end where the X-men try to stop Magneto from mutating the UN, but most the movie is an interdiction. I understand that a lot of people back in 2000 weren’t really familiar with the X-Men. But the first seventy-five percent of the movie was about who these people were, why they can do the things they can do and why the world hates them.

x2

Could Wolverine and Roue please move Professor X can’t see through you.

 

That is the curse of superhero movies, you are obliged to do an origin story. If you do a Bat Man movie then you have to show Dr. and Martha Wayne getting killed in front of a movie theater. The audience has to see peter Parker get bit by that radioactive side. Even if everyone in the theater knows what happened.

Rocket

i will blow up anyone who says we aren’t getting a sequel.

 

Not that there aren’t good origin stories out their Captain America and Bat Man Begins come to mind. Both hold their own against awsome sequels. But in many cases superhero movies come into their own in the second installment’s release.

I think that James Gunn knew this when he recently released Guardians of the Galaxy. A comic book adaptation that most casual comic book readers were unfamiliar with, so the audience’s mind doesn’t rush ahead during the intro part. But other than Peter Quill being abducted by aliens there wasn’t much of traditional origin story. We over hear how Rocket was operated on but rather than showing us that in flash backs we see the scares and cybernetics from the experiment. We hear about the death of Drax’s family, but only understand the story by his actions, and Gamorea being raise by Thanos is acknowledge, but the story is played out by scars, and her rivalry with Nova. This may become the new gold standard for origin stories.

 

With the obligatory origin story over. With X-Men we now can get, X2 which a good story. The government swooping in on the Xavier school is a great scene, I love how mutant enemies must team up against those who should be protecting them ie the government. We get one of my favorites the introduction of Night Crawler. The cast which are on the top of their game on this outing put in a stellar performance.

 

The Fast and& 2 fast 2 Furious. OK, I haven’t seen the first movie, in fact I haven’t seen any other F&F’s other than 2. So you are thinking how can I say this is better than the original? Easy it has been proven by science that number two is the best of the franchise. The other Fasts are woefully lacking in Devon Aoki, and she makes any movie better. (And yes I have seen DEBS)

 

So let me tell you what I remember of 2F2F, there is this white guy and he is a cop or an FBI agent or something and he needs to infiltrate the street racing scene, for some reason. I think he is looking for a McGruffin. So he goes to a street race, Devon Aoki is there looking all hot with her posse of female mechanics, they race, Devon Aoki jumps her car over an open draw bridge. Latter on white guy goes to talk to Devon when she is at a pool wearing a red bikini and drawing pictures. She then washes a car in a modified schoolgirl outfit. For some reason I haven’t the faintest reason why, the cops think they are chasing the FBI agent in a car and when the door opens up, Devon Aoki gets out wearing a black football jersey barely large enough to cover her butt. Play hip hop music, roll credits the end. Really that all I can tell you about the movie. But Dev made it better than all the other ones with The Rock and Vin Diesel.

Devon

I have the right to remain silent.

 

So now comes the question, how is Sn City: A Dame to Kill For going to do without her? As deadly little Miho she not only won me over but she also impressed writer Frank Miller. He even gave her the sword that she used in the movie. (Which he stole out of Quinton Terantino’s garage.) The sequel has a lot of potential. I like Jamie Chung in Sucker Punch and she does look more like Miller’s Miho form the books. A Dame to Kill for is the most literate of the Sin City yarns. By this I mean it has the most cohesive plot and reads like a true noir novel. The truth is, to find out if Dame rises to the level of its predecessor we are going to have to wait a few weeks.

Jamie Chung Miho

Will Jamie Chung make it a sequel to kill for.

Mad Max & The Road Warrior. This is a case of what can happen when a good movie gets money to make a sequel. The first movie is a gem about a dystopia and anarchist Australia. Somehow back when it came out the setting made it more exotic and futuristic, even if they had to dub over Gibson’s voice in the first one because it was too hard for American’s to understand. One of the scariest scenes I think ever filmed is the scene when Max’s wife played by Joanne Samuel is trying to get her son through the woods, knowing that there is a deadly biker gang after her.

 

By the time the second movie is out all semblance of order is gone. Where once the Main Force Patrol (MFP) roamed the back roads of the content at least attempting to keep order, now there is only raiders and thugs. Where the original had to rely on inference and subtle acting on showing the declining of civilization the sequel could draw large broad strokes to portray the near end of the world.

 

Alien & Aliens. Don’t get me wrong I love Ridley Scott’s movie Alien. When it came out in 1979, it was the scariest thing to hit the screen in a long time. There are a lot of reasons why it is a scary movie. There is the vastness of space, yet the crew is trapped in the Nostroumo’s hull so there is also a claustrophobic feeling to the movie too. Your bosses are supposed to protect you but instead they send you and your fellow space truckers to a planet full of deadly aliens and disguise a robot to kill you if the monsters don’t. Lovecraft’s outer gods are no longer coming to earth we are going to them. And what is scarier than a monster that can make a man pregnant?

Alien

in space no one can hear you blog.

 

So James Cameron took this scary little horror movie set in space and made it a block buster adventure movie. I love Aliens because it didn’t lose all the things I liked about Alien, when it became an action franchise. I get that a lot of people say that they can’t say if one is better than the other, because they are two different types of movies. I agree with that but I have it on my list because it is a sequel I like more than the original, even though the original is a great movie.

Colnial marines

In the second movie they sent n the marines.

 

But another James Cameron movie I don’t like as much after getting a big money action make over is Terminator. Terminator like Alien is more horror than sci-fi. Not only do we have to deal with the terrors of our time, the future is sending their nightmares back to us too. Still and I can’t put my finger on it, Judgment day just never did it for me. I admit that the special effects for the time were incredible. Still it never reached the level that the original did for me. Maybe I just like my Linda Hamiltons cute and innocent over lean and lethal.

Linda hamilton

The softer side of Linda Hamilton.

 

I remember when I first saw the Christopher Reeves Superman movie thinking how awesome it was that superhero weren’t being treat as a joke lime Adam West’s Batman. It was giving me permission to like superheroes. Fortunately the second one didn’t fall into the camp trap. It flirted with camp with Clark Kent, but not with Supes. I know it sometimes feels like two different movies, one an action adventure the other a screwball romantic comedy, because well it is two movies welded tougher by two different directors. And yes it is corny and cheesy, but if you know what you are doing you can make a good meal with cheese and corn. Besides it had Terrance Stamp as Zod and that is good enough for me.

Zod

Well I hope you liked this list and I also hope you disagree with something here too. Let me know either way.

 

 

 

 

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30 comments on “Sequels I liked More than the Original.

  1. joelzgibbs
    August 8, 2014

    Predator 2 is underrated as is Under Siege 2 and Gremlins 2 the new batch, but you’ve probably missed out the best of all Empire Strikes Back. Don’t watch Speed 2 you don’t want to witness that.

    • davekheath
      August 8, 2014

      Predator 2 and Empire to me are bo9th very good but I have a very fond place in my heart for both the originals. It been a while but I think I felt the same way the Grimlims sequel. Haven’t seen Under siege 2 yet.

      Yeah should be a class action law suit against Sandra Bullouch for Speed 2.

  2. John Callaghan
    August 8, 2014

    The Die Hard sequels were all pretty decent except for the latest one. Ugh! Bruce Willis phoned that one in.

    • davekheath
      August 8, 2014

      I have only seen the first two, but your right the second one was realy good.

  3. theopeningsentence
    August 8, 2014

    Sometimes the sequels are so good we forget they’re sequels and see them as a continuing franchise. Sequels always work better if they’re planned that way (X-Men, Batman, etc) and not a last minute thought to cash in on the first movie. To add to your list the second Crimson Tide film beats the first, and the second Hellboy film might better than the first. (And the second Underworld film . . . the list goes on!)

    • davekheath
      August 8, 2014

      I agree, it works out much better if it was planed from the start. A lot of movies go in with the idea that hopefully they will be at least a trilogy now a days.

      The list is bigger than thought when I started it. I will have to find the second Crimson Tide movie, I wasn’t aware there was one.

      • theopeningsentence
        August 10, 2014

        Sorry, I meant Crimson Rivers. (Jean Reno and Vincent Casel)

      • davekheath
        August 10, 2014

        Will have to check that one out.

  4. deaconsden
    August 8, 2014

    Reblogged this on deaconsden and commented:
    Nice piece on Sequels. I agree with a few things about his post.

  5. stressedgamerdad
    August 9, 2014

    I know a lot of people will disagree with me on this one: Blade 2 better than Blade. Aside from the bad action CGI spots, (the movie had some of the best CGI of the time in non action sequences) the movie was more fun than the original. The villain’s story was more engaging and Guillermo del Toro is just awesome when it comes to monsters in the sewers.

  6. Nicola Alter
    August 11, 2014

    Interestingly I loved Judgement Day, but wasn’t so keen on the original Terminator. That said, I did see Judgement Day before I saw the original so maybe that influenced me. Definitely agree on X-men though, really liked the first one, but loved the sequels!

    • davekheath
      August 11, 2014

      Admittedly I haven’t seen Judgment Day in fifteen years maybe I should give it another chance.

      I agree with you about X-Man and think that Gaudiness of the Galaxy is gong to set a new standard that we don’t need a two hour origin story anymore for superhero movies.

  7. maurnas
    August 11, 2014

    I disagree. I think the first Alien is better than the sequel. The second one is too action packed. I liked it as that kind of quietly horrific story.

    I wish more men walked around dressed like Khan. When will that look finally be in style?

    • davekheath
      August 12, 2014

      You know the Khan style is going to start in Portland.

      • maurnas
        August 12, 2014

        God, I hope so. I will come back for that alone.

  8. bringthereality
    August 14, 2014

    Aliens was a nice divergence from the things that made Alien such a great movie. I think another 90-120 minutes of ship crawl would have been hard to keep interesting. On the other hand, giving the second film a proactive group to fight the baddies changes the formula on its head.

    I’m a fan of action girls, so I liked T2! Sarah Conner better. Just my $0.02 on that.

    Time to head back to the gm so I can bring the Khan style in properly.

    • davekheath
      August 15, 2014

      Yes your right an exact copy of Aline for the sequel wouldn’t have worked. By the way my next post in Interviewing the Fictitious: Ellen Ripley.

  9. leggypeggy
    August 17, 2014

    I loved Aliens. I used to ‘protect’ myself from such films, but I sat down about 11 one night to watch a few minutes of a film I’d never heard of. I was hooked. It was brilliant. A few years later I saw Alien and was a touch disappointed. In my opinion, Aliens is by far the better movie.

    As an aside, another sequel to Mad Max was to be filmed near Silverton (in Australia) a couple of years back, and there’d been so much rain that filming had to be postponed.

    • davekheath
      August 17, 2014

      Where is a desert when you need it.
      I just saw the triler for the new Mad max looks pretty good.

  10. victoriadougherty
    August 25, 2014

    Empire Strikes Back over Star Wars 🙂 and thanks for following me on Cold!

  11. JLakis
    August 29, 2014

    I always watch Space Seed before Wrath of Khan, and force others to do so if they’re watching with me. Khan succeeds as classic Trek because, unlike (most of) the TNG movies or Abrams’ Trek, the sci-fi, and goofy costumes are just dressing for an emotionally mature story about being ‘human’. That’s the essence of the Trek, The audience becomes so invested in the characters that the final cat and mouse space battle at the end, and the sacrifices that are made, actually mean something beyond stuff shooting other stuff in space.

    • davekheath
      August 29, 2014

      Very true TOS and to a less extent Next Gen, gets you invested in the characters. The best way I can describe the finial battle between Reliant and the Enterprise at the end of Wraith of Khan is a 3D chess game. It wouldn’t work if you weren’t emotionally invested in the characters.

      • JLakis
        August 29, 2014

        I like that. Only a chess game in which you can’t see your opponent moving his pieces. Fog of war — like Das Boot or the phantom ship in Master and Commander.

  12. Mike Sirota
    September 5, 2014

    I’m pleased that you liked my post on “Swords, Specters, & Stuff.” You’re welcome back anytime!

  13. Dennis the Vizsla
    September 7, 2014

    No disagreements with anything on this list!

    • davekheath
      September 7, 2014

      thank you. Next time I will try harder.

  14. xuemertie
    September 12, 2014

    Reblogged this on The Ravings of a Sick Mind and commented:
    I agree with all of these!

  15. Pingback: ASMSG Horror-Thriller Emagazine – Sequels I liked More than the Original.

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