While not all sequels reach the acclaim of The Empire Strikes Back there are still many great ones out there. And it’s time some good sequels were acknowledged. So, I am going to give you 6 underrated sequels from different genres to check out. Hopefully, you enjoy them as much as I do.
1. Horror: Friday the 13th Part 2
Friday the 13th Part 2 is a fantastic introduction to the iconic Jason Vorhees. Through sparse screen appearances, a genuinely creepy look, Harry Manfredini’s amazing music, and characters talking about him like a figure of legend, Jason becomes a truly terrifying figure. The film also has some great kills (the two-person spear) and tense set-pieces (the Sheriff’s chase through the woods and the final act showdown). And it gives us one of the genre’s finest female characters in Ginny (Amy Steel). The original is a classic, but Part 2 made the franchise what it is today.
2. Comedy: Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey
If you’ve seen Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure watching this should be mandatory. Bogus Journey is incredibly imaginative and funny. The story includes concepts like Bill and Ted’s ghosts possessing people, having to play Twister with Death to return to Earth, Aliens living in the afterlife, and more. The sheer number of ideas and gags means that the movie never drags. The actors all have perfect comedic timing. The design work is incredible. And Bill and Ted are given more depth through the exploration of their fears. Bogus Journey is a riot and deserves to break free from its sibling’s shadow.
3. Superhero: Kick-Ass 2
While Kick-Ass 2 did lose something by having Hit Girl (played impeccably by Chloe Grace Moretz) no longer being a foul-mouthed youngster and Nic Cage not being involved it is still an entertaining comic book film. Each character has a satisfying and appropriate arc. The effective pitch-black humour returns, the murderous Hit Girl adapting to high school being the highlight. And some of the bloody action (particularly anything involving Olga Kurkulina’s Mother Russia) is really well done. Kick-Ass 2 is a good 15 rated antidote to an oversaturated market of 12a superhero sequels.
4. Sci-Fi: Alien 3
Alien and Aliens are very tough acts to follow. And while flawed it’s hard not to admire Alien 3. Rarely do we get a mainstream sequel as bleak as this. The prior film’s beloved characters are all killed. And Ripley (Sigourney Weaver in another masterful turn) is left to save a planet of prisoners who don’t value anything she has to say. While the plotting is sometimes confusing (not helped by some weird editing) Ripley’s story, the colourful supporting cast and the iconic imagery make Alien 3 deserving of appreciation on its own terms.
5. Children: Return to Oz
Despite being a sequel to one of the best movies of all time, made decades later and changing from a colourful musical with dark edges to a dark fantasy, Return to Oz somehow manages to be a great film. With a riveting story about trying to restore order to Oz, engaging new characters (Tik-Tok, Jack Pumpkinhead, and Gump), a terrifying ensemble of villains (The Nome King, Mombi, and The Wheelers), unbelievable effects, and Fairuza Balk doing good work as Dorothy this is a sequel with teeth. And it’s a perfect thematic follow-up to the original.
6. Action: Tomorrow Never Dies
Apart from the infamous Die Another Day Pierce Brosnan’s Bond sequels seem largely ignored. But Tomorrow Never Dies is a solid Bond film. The plot is somewhat plodding and after Goldeneye, TND can feel rather lacking. However, there are some great performances from Brosnan, Michelle Yeoh as Wei Lin, and Jonathan Pryce as news mogul Elliott Carver. Couple this with some fantastic action set pieces like the handcuffed motorbike chase scene, the rye humour, and a painfully relevant plot about news manipulation and you have a fun action film that more than makes up for its flaws.
Hopefully, this list encourages some of you to watch these movies. As they are worthy of more love than they initially received. And please tell us about your favourite underrated continuations so we can give more love to movies that need it.
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