Inspired by this thread. This OP was going to be a response in that thread, but I figured I’d make a fresh thread to discuss without derailing Kennedy1960’s thread.
None of the Die Hard sequels can match the first, but Vengeance comes close, so let’s get that out of the way right off the bat.
Shrek was a wonderful movie in its own right, but Shrek 2 was exponentially more fun, while still being totally kid-friendly. Shrek 2 is probably the best sequel ever made—or at least, the best sequel I’ve ever seen.
I think Lethal Weapon 2 was at least as good as the first one. The ending of the first one was kind of a let-down, and the second one made up for it.
The second Back to the Future sucked but the third one was, again, almost as good as the first.
In the same vein, Raiders of the Lost Ark was a great flick. Temple of Doom was average, but Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was at least as good as the first one.
Aliens was much better than Alien.
Someone in the other thread mentioned that Terminator 2 was better than the first. I haven’t seen either one for 20+ years, but I remember T2 being the better one.
I am very much not a fan of the Star Wars movies so I have no real opinion on those. I’m also not really sure if they count—SW seems, to me, to be somewhat of a franchise series like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and to a lesser extent the James Bond movies.
Any other examples / opinions?