A general belief with sequels is that they are not quite as good as their predecessors. Audiences tend to fall in love with the original film and get connected with the mood and atmosphere, and it’s very difficult for a sequel to recapture the same feelings.
You don’t want to deter people from what they loved about the original, yet you don’t want the story to be too familiar that it loses originality.
Well, the following sequels not only improved on the first, but they are also considered classics in their own right. With Kingsman: The Golden Circle promising more action and twists than the blockbusting 2015 original, we look at the five action sequels that surprised everyone.
Aliens was always going to be a difficult film to make. The first film, Alien, transformed the sci-fi and horror genre into what it is today, featuring excellent characters including iconic heroine Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), and some jaw-dropping practical effects.
The challenge for Aliens was to create equally interesting characters, and it boasts some truly nail-biting sequences filled to the brim with action and suspense. Whilst many people claim Alien to be the scarier of the two, Aliens became a classic in its own right, boasting well-paced action sequences, and some great new characters (including Newt). Not only that, but it amped up the peril, introducing many xenomorphs into the mix.
Spider-Man 2 (2004) and The Dark Knight (2008)
We’ve decided to group 2 sequels into one here since they are both considered some of the best superhero blockbusters of all time.
The first Spider-Man movie was a game changer, becoming one of the first big super-heroes to get a big screen blockbuster adaptation. With Spider-Man 2, Sony and Sam Raimi pushed the boundaries, spending a lot of time developing the character of Peter Parker to make us care about him.
It also introduced to us Doctor Octopus (played by Alfred Molina), a normal scientist going insane after a bad experiment; the film also introduced him in a somewhat terrifying fashion in a hospital. The film set the trend of superhero movies that went deeper into the main character as a person rather than a superhero.
However, despite the success of Spider-Man 2, no one was ready for the comic-book treat that was The Dark Knight. After Batman and Robin, Warner Bros. chose Christopher Nolan to reboot the franchise, which he did successfully with the surprise hit of 2005, Batman Begins.
However, The Dark Knight took it to a whole new level, as Christopher Nolan crafted an intelligent crime drama that took a turn away from the traditional comic-book tropes, and introduced one of the best movie villains of all time: The Joker, played by Heath Ledger, which won him an Academy-Award as a result.
Whilst many superhero films have had successes in attempting gritty adaptations of well-known superheroes, The Dark Knight has always been considered one of the best.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
In 1984, Arnold Schwarzenegger gave a career-defining performance in The Terminator, playing a cyborg sent back in time to kill the mother of an unborn leader who leads the human resistance. It was a sleeper hit at the box office, and is now considered a classic of cinema.
Seven years later, fans of the original got the sequel they were hoping for in the form of T2, the budget moving from $6.4 million to $102 million. It was a huge step up for the franchise and it certainly delivered on its promise, becoming one of the best action films ever made, and featuring a truly unsettling villain, the T-1000, a terminator made from liquid metal who could shapeshift into anything.
No wonder it’s sometimes considered the best summer blockbuster ever made.
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)
The fourth film in the Mission: Impossible franchise had a lot to prove, since the fourth is often seen as unnecessary by filmgoers. However, Ghost Protocol defied all expectations, providing audiences with a thrilling, adrenaline-filled action blockbuster.
Introducing a breakout performance from Jeremy Renner and awesome action scenes, what really makes Ghost Protocol shine is the incredible stunt work displayed on screen. The most memorable sequence in the film takes place at (and on) the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, where Tom Cruise himself climbs the tallest building in the world in a truly nail-biting scene.
The next sequel, Rogue Nation, also proved to be flawless with the stunt work, as it included a scene where Tom Cruise hangs from the side of an ascending plane.
Jake Gibbard is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.