Movie sequels that were better than the original / first?

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?

Toy Story 2 edges out the original.

From my post in the other thread, The Road Warrior would be a no-argument choice for a better sequel. And Mad Max: Fury Road even better, if you consider it a sequel.

I think that Star Trek II: Wrath of Kahn fits the requirements, because it’s a separate story from the first and wasn’t planned as a serial.

And Toy Story 2 is often considered better than the first, although I have a tough time picking a favorite between them.

For those mentioned so far, I liked Aliens much more than Alien and Terminator 2 much more than Terminator - but I like action movies and don’t like horror movies, and for both of those franchises, the first movie was a horror movie with some action elements, and the sequel was an action movie with some horror elements.

Star Trek II was, imho, easily the best of the whole franchise. I also liked Last Crusade more than Raiders of the Lost Ark, but thought they were both excellent movies.

My contribution:

There was a now-obscure direct-to-video, low budget fantasy series in the 80s, “Deathstalker”. The first “Deathstalker”, as well as “Deathstalker III” and “Deathstalker IV” were grim, humorless, and frankly boring movies - not even “so good it’s bad”. They had terrible acting, terrible scripts, terrible directing, terrible editing - just bad.

“Deathstalker II” however…

Per the DVD commentary, the star (John Terlesky) and the director Jim Wynorski took a look at the crappy script they had been handed and immediately threw it away. They were filming in Spain with next to no budget; they would film scenes during the day, then retire to their cheap hotel at night, get mildly drunk on cheap Spanish wine, and write the shooting script for the next day’s scenes. The result was a masterpiece - for some values of masterpiece. It was a fun romp that poked fun at itself and its predecessor. It’s a bad, super low budget movie that knows its a bad super low budget movie and decides to have some fun with that.

It’s currently streaming on Amazon Prime for anyone who wants to check it out. Fair warning - you really have to have an appreciation for crappy, low budget 80s fantasy movies to get the full effect. If you grew up on them, like I did, Deathstalker II is fantastic. If Deathstalker II is your first exposure to the genre, I suspect it will just come across as a bad movie.

I’ll agree with Aliens, Road Warrior, and Star Trek II. I have to admit that I thought the second and later Bond movies (From Russia with Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball exceeded Dr. No pretty handily.
I don’t know if it’s “better”, because they were profoundly different films, but I know that I liked Bride of Frankenstein a lot more than the original ** Frankenstein**.
I isagre about Shrek and Toy Story and I’ve gone on record as preferring the original Terminator over the sequel. .

How to Train Your Dragon 2 was better than the original, and that’s saying something because the original was fantastic.

Can’t wait for part 3.

Going to second or third a few things here:

Toy Story 2
Road Warrior
Star Trek II
Empire Strikes Back
Terminator 2
Aliens
Godfather II
Blade 2
Spider-Man 2
X2
Batman: the Dark Knight

It’s close but I think The Empire Strikes Back edges out A New Hope.

I thought the third Bourne movie, The Bourne Ultimatum, was the best of the first three. It is slightly better than the first, The Bourne Identity, and much better than the second, The Bourne Supremacy.

I think Logan was probably the best movie where Hugh Jackman played Wolverine.
I’m not exactly sure if it’s a direct sequel to any of the other Wolverine or X-men movies though. The continuity between all the films is really convoluted.

Well of course it would edge out a movie that doesn’t exist, duh. :rolleyes:

I’ve always thought that The Good, the Bad and the Ugly was the best of the Eastwood spaghetti westerns.

Prom Night 2: Hello Mary Lou is, IMO, way better than the original with Jamie Lee Curtis; Prom Night 2 has crazy surreal horror sequences that are much more memorable than anything in the first one.

Wes Craven’s New Nightmare is my favorite in the Nightmare on Elm Street series by far. Wes Craven went full meta on this one, prior to launching the Scream franchise. Really good stuff from Heather Langenkamp, John Saxon, and Robert Englund in this one.

Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo?

I have a few unpopular ones (I suspect):

I like Predator 2 more than the first.

The Two Towers is my favorite Lord of the Rings movie.

I am the only person in the Universe that likes Amazing Spider-Man 2 (yes that one). I liked it so much it raised my opinion of the mediocre first one and as much as I like the MCU reboot I feel little sad we didn’t get to see where that one was going.

And here’s probably a common one I haven’t seen in the thread yet:

X2 is better than X-Men (So is The First Class and Days of Future Past if those count as Sequels).

I like Terminator very much, but Terminator 2 is a better movie.
I agree Aliens is much better than Alien. “Nuke 'me from orbit,” is one of my favorite lines. I sometimes use it playing war games.

The Devils rejects was much better than house of 1000 corpses.

Missed the edit window.

Deadpool 2 was better than Deadpool 1.

I’m not sure which Friday the 13th was the best (I think the death scenes in part 5 were the best), but part 1 wasn’t the best one. Parts 4 and 6 usually come up as among the best in the film series.

The Chronicles of Riddick was much better than Pitch Black

Evil Dead 2. Though it’s debatable whether it’s a sequel or a remake. If it’s the latter, then Army of Darkness is still a valid answer.