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The Godfather: Part II (1974)
This is the movie that made sequels fashionable by grabbing the best movie Oscar, the only sequel to ever do so. We follow the lives of Vito Corleone and his son Michael as the 'Godfather' in successive generations, jumping in time between the two as we witness both their paths to eventual absolute corruption.
One of the very few sequels that surpassed the original in all departments. Arnie is back from the future again, but this time he's here to save John Connor, not terminate him. Unfortunately for him, a better Terminator model is out there, hunting John down. The movie used groundbreaking CGI, which is a hallmark of most James Cameron movies. Still, the CGI would be pointless without the excellent story. One of the *the* best action movies ever made.
The best Star Wars movie ever made. It helped that George Lucas did not direct because the movie would have been comatose if he had. All the ingredients for a great sci-fi romp are present - action, drama, romance, betrayal, twisted family dynamics, big revelations and the occasional spark of humour.
Shrek 2 (2004)
Shrek was just made for a sequel and so we got one. The jokes were funnier and raunchier at times, the wit was razor sharp and Puss in Boots made a great addition to the cast. Like it's predecessor, the movie sent up all the fairy tale conventions that we are familiar with, and did it in style.
Back to the Future Part II (1989)
Another movie tailor made for a sequel was 'Back to the Future'. Last time he went 30 years into the past, and this Marty travels 30 years into the future. He prevents his future family from imploding and learns a thing or two about why messing with the time line is a bad bad idea.
Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004)
Quentin Tarantino simultaneously parodied and paid homage to Asian martial arts movies. Kill Bill Vol. 1 was the teaser and this movie was the payoff, and what a payoff it was. There was only a fraction of the violence in the first movie, but a lot of drama and twists.
This wasn't technically a sequel since all three movies were shot together, but what the heck. It is the best movie in the trilogy and the metaphorical heart of the trilogy. Holds together this epic tale with great style and depth. My review here.
Tim Burton followed the smash Batman movie with a darker and more satisfying sequel. Batman movies tend to about the villains and this one was no exception. Michelle Pfieffer did a great turn as Catwoman, playing up both her strong and vulnerable sides. The man who stole the show was Danny DeVito as the Penguin, playing the character to creepy perfection. Unfortunately, this movie alienated the kiddie audience that buys the toys and led to the disastrous run by Joel Schumacher on the next two Batman movies.
The Dark Knight (2008)
The darkest and best Batman movie ever made. Chris Nolan made the most expensive psychological thriller in Hollywood history. The Joker makes his mark as the most twisted villain in the Batman universe as he messes with Batman's mind in an attempt to break him. Heath Ledger played The Joker to perfection in his final role.
This movie wasn't universally liked. It's not hard to see why that is. The Wachowski brothers explore their fascinating world in exquisite detail and it needs more than a single viewing to really take it all in. A worthy sequel that enhances the vision of the original. If you loved the Matrix but were disappointed by this sequel, watch it again, you might be surprised.
James Cameron was tapped to direct the sequel to 'Alien' and he did a great job taking the story forward and still giving it a fresh feel. The action was sharp and was backed up by an interesting story. The final battle of the two 'mothers' is a classic moment.
Spider-Man 2 (2004)
What makes Spider-Man lose his powers? Like every other man on this planet, it's being jilted in love, of course. Spidey loses Mary Jane because he is always fighting the baddies, but not for too long. The movie continues the tradition of keeping their relationship the focal point of the movie.
Movie sequels suffer from a big downturn in the quality of movie making, but not for this list of great movies.
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