By Zak Falcone

In today’s world of multiverses, reboots, and spinoffs we have lost the art of the sequel.  More often than not, movie sequels are just rehashed tellings of the same story to grab more money from fans. But if you dig deep, you might find some gold hidden underneath. True movie sequels take the idea of the first film and lift it to an even greater place. They make the first film better and make the story even bigger than imagined. This is a list of five films that have done just that. These are the best movie sequels ever made. 

 

1. THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (1980)

There may not ever be a sequel that’s done more for a franchise than the 1980 sequel to the then biggest movie of all time, STAR WARS. EMPIRE is one of the biggest and most beautiful sci-fi films ever made, let alone one of the world’s best sequels. Far bigger than the first, this film expanded on the galaxy far, far away. Every sequel should look to this film as a guide. STRIKES BACK really does have it all: action, romance, adventure, and singularly the greatest twist of all time. 

 

2. TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY 

Terminator 2 is one of the best examples of elevating the original movie to new heights.  The Terminator was a simpler, direct sci-fi, romance movie that became massively popular. Terminator 2 took the franchise to where it is today. There were some changes, this time director James Cameron changed his lead, Sarah Connor from a waitress being hunted by a robot of the future to more of a mother figure and it worked wonders. Sarah Connor went on to become one of the most iconic woman action characters of all time. Terminator 2 is everything a sequel should be, bigger, louder, and more action. 

 

3. THE DARK KNIGHT (2008)

When THE DARK KNIGHT(TDK) was released it was so popular that most viewers had no idea it was a sequel to 2005’s BATMAN BEGINS. Following in the footsteps of Terminator 2, TDK took the Batman franchise to an even bigger space. A realistic, grounded take on the caped crusader, Christopher Nolan gives the best big-screen Batman film ever made. Of course, Heath Ledger’s Joker is probably what this film is best known for. But what shouldn’t be forgotten is Nolan’s ability to make this film bigger and better than the first.

 

4. THE GODFATHER PART II (1974) 

The Only Best Picture winner on our list, THE GODFATHER PART II is unlike any sequel here. This film is not only a sequel but a prequel as well. PART II tells the story after the events of THE GODFATHER and before it. This is a formula that went on to be copied several times in other films, though none were able to match this level of greatness. This film features some of the greatest performances of all time, from legends De Niro and Pacino. There aren’t too many drama sequels to choose from, but this film should always be the standard when making one.

 

5. ALIENS (1986)

James Cameron returns. Though he didn’t direct the original ALIEN, he took over leadership for its sequel, ALIENS. Yes, the sequel to ALIEN is called ALIENS, as there is now more than one alien. Like T2, ALIENS takes the franchise to a new place, an even bigger one. The action is much more explosive and the characters seem larger than life as they are given more depth. Cameron takes the iconic Ellen Ripley and makes her a movie star legend. Cameron taking over the Alien franchise, even for one film, is the best thing to ever happen to it.