Movies & TV / Columns

Stew’s Top 10 Movie Sequels

July 22, 2022 | Posted by Rob Stewart
Arnold Schwarzenegger Terminator 2

We all knew it had to come back to this. I’ve done Best Part 3, Best Part 4, and Best Part 5+. I’m not sure why I initially skipped Part 2, but… here we are. Looking back at the best Part 2’s in movie history! Out of order. It’s FINE. Anyway, this is MY best. Not YOUR best. You’ll have your own Best. Tell me about them in the comments! That’s the whole point.

But honestly? There should be no bitter dissension here; this list is HARD, and you could make a solid Top 25 with the end of the list bottoming out at “Very Good”. So this is all preference, and I will tell you two things about my preference STRAIGHT AWAY so you can get used to the ideas of them.

First, my preference has never seen Godfather Part 2. I saw The Godfather when I was a little kid, but that’s it. I’ve never gone back to the franchise. It’s a blind spot I intend to rectify someday, but they are SO LONG and I am SO IMPATIENT.

Second, my preference doesn’t like Star Wars that much. Sure, I had Return of the Jedi on my Best Part 3’s and The Last Jedi on my Best Part 5+’s lists, but those were facing substantially weaker competition in my heart than what it took to be on THIS top ten. There are many stronger Part 2’s than Part 3’s. So no Empire Strikes Back for me.

(Actually, I’m not sure I’ve ever really seen ESB either. My wife was watching all the Star Wars a few years back, and I walked in on ESB. I had NO IDEA there was a yeti in that movie until that moment)

So will those two flicks be on your list? Probably! And I dig that! I’m sure they deserve it! But I can only go by what’s in my heart. And my heart says…


Image Credit: Orion Pictures

I genuinely couldn’t NOT include this. Is it a BETTER MOVIE than some Part 2’s not on my list? Maybe not. But I judge pretty much every sequel against Bogus Journey, and I’ll tell you why; it wasn’t afraid to swing HARD for the fences and try something different.

How easy and lazy would it have been to have the second B&T movie just see them get back in the phone booth and meet more historical old people? They could have farted out a plot like that and called it a day. But instead, they made an entirely different movie in the sequel! New stakes, a new plot device, all with the same lovable characters.

And BJ (BJ? EXCELLENT! *musical riff*) was also straight up kookier than Excellent Adventure. Which was a lot of fun. So it didn’t just try something off the wall; it very much succeeded! So yeah, Bogus Journey is the reason I hate movies like Ghostbusters Afterlife that just lazily and sloppily do the first movie again. Try something different, cowards!


Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

Recency bias ahoy, but you know what? This is probably one of the best action movies ever made, and it absolutely puts its predecessor to shame in every measurable way. Top Gun is so silly and stupid. Who decided that should be an 80’s classic? There’s no plot. Only three characters have any depth. The action scenes are fine, but nothing special. The love story sucks.

Maverick, though? There are stakes and a plot the whole movie. The characters all feel more necessary. The action scenes are god damn amazing. And… well… the love story still sucks. Can’t win them all. I just white-knuckled my way through the third act of this flick. It was INTENSE. Even when it seemed to ramp down a bit, it just did that to blast off again rather than settle into a lull.


Image Credit: Renaissance Pictures

Do I consider this more of a remake than a sequel? Yes. Is that an arguable point, AND does the movie have Part 2 in its name? Also yes! So here we are.

Evil Dead 2 basically starts off with 20 minutes of redoing Evil Dead up until a point, and then it finishes the story from that moment on, giving us the Ash Williams we all know and love along the way.

Like most movies on this list, Evil Dead 2 is actually an upgrade from the original flick in just about every way. It feels more complete. It looks better. It finds its own perfect groove (it’s own perfect GROOVY, as it were!). Evil Dead is a great movie, don’t get me wrong. Evil Dead 2 just one-ups it anyway.


Image Credit: Marvel Studios

I really like this movie, and you can’t make me feel bad about that. I have referred to this as “The Most Rewatchable Movie In The MCU”. I say that because when I first saw it, I was not impressed. I figured it as a C-; it just did what the first movie did but goofier. Groot was sillier. Drax was dumber. Hardy har har. Lazy effort, Gunn.

But I’ve watched this one SEVERAL times since then, and every time I come to love it a little bit more. The story of Nebula and Gamora coming back together. Yondu’s whole character arc. Quill’s heartache at finding and then losing his father. There is a LOT more soul here than I gave it credit for at first, and I feel it more and more each time.

It’s still in my MCU Top Ten. It WAS in my Top Five before Shang-Chi and No Way Home. Give it a rewatch, especially if you don’t remember thinking it was upper echelon. It’s pretty great. You might not agree, but checking this out another time always pays off for me.


Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

Jason Part 6 was my #1 movie on the Part 5+ journey. There was no way my other favorite Jason movie wasn’t going to be on this list. Friday the 13th Part 2 took a simple summer camp slasher flick and gave it legs. It introduced the idea of JASON–the terrifying killer of the New Jersey Recreational Lake Area, out for revenge for both his mother AND himself–and basically said “Here’s something to hang, like, ten more movies on, folks!”. And he didn’t even have a hockey mask yet!

The cast of counselors that are set against Jason here actually feel like real characters, too. This franchise hadn’t quite gotten to the point of making everyone a barely one-note non-presence. I cared about Mark and Vickie and Ginny and Paul. They aren’t there just get bodied by Bagman; you can root for these folks.


Image Credit: 20th Century Fox

I enjoy Aliens SO MUCH MORE than Alien. Some people find that hard to swallow, but it’s true. I do not consider it quite the jump as from Top Gun to Maverick, but… it’s still a big gulf in quality.

Aliens gives Ripley a real feeling of trauma from what she survived in Alien, and it shows what her survival has cost her as decades have passed while she was asleep. The introduction of Newt gives her a child to fight for after having lost her chance with her own. Instead of just one spooky critter against a space ship full of plebeians, we get SPACE MARINES going up against an army of the beasts. And we see surrogate mother Ripley face off with the Alien Mama to see whose family will survive.

It all comes out to being maybe the greatest Action-Horror movie in history. This is so damn good.


Image Credit: United Film Distribution Company

I just realized I did not put Day Of The Dead on my Best Threequels list, and now I am sad. I prefer Day ever so slightly to Dawn. Dawn is still a marvel, though, with Romero turning his undead eye to making a sociological statement about consumerism, which… Jesus, I was going to say it has held up well, but it’s aged beautifully because we as a people are even WORSE about this now.

Except in 2022 the survivors would take refuge in… an Amazon shopping cart? Since we killed all of our malls? EXCEPT THIS ONE! I actually still get out to Monroeville Mall on a regular basis (though less so since COVID and since my office moved locations out of Monroeville). It’s pretty much just a normal mall now and unrecognizable from the movie, which is a crime.


Image Credit: 20th Century Fox

I’m up to here, and it’s just dawning on me that only Bill & Ted and GotG Volume 2 aren’t at least markedly better than the movies that spawned all these sequels. It happens again here; X-Men is perfectly adequate, but X2 is a far superior flick. Alan Cumming as Nightcrawler was a huge boon to this one, and it’s terrible that he did not want to come back for other outings. He was a joy here.

There’s also the siege on the X-Mansion that sees Wolverine going berserk on some unlucky soldiers, and that scene is still great, even all these years later when we’ve seen much bloodier Wolverine attacks. Bryan Cox is, like Cumming, another superb addition to the cast as William Stryker. Oh, and it gave us that tremendous ending that had me so stoked for the third movie for years until it, you know, came out and sucked. Oops!

Also, fun fact: Season 1 of Lost came out between X2 and the Last Stand and I worked myself into a shoot thinking Lost was guerilla marketing for X3. I had reasoned out that the island the characters were on was The Savage Land. HOW RAD WOULD THAT HAVE BEEN? We could have been spared Last Stand AND the last few seasons of Lost!


Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Boy, #1 and #2 here is basically a coin flip. And in a world where I said Godfather and Empire weren’t really on my radar, it’s a really unsurprising top two.

Here’s what I remember about Dark Knight: I remember watching it for the first time in theaters. And I knew how long it was. And I’m watching, and I’m watching, and I’m watching. And at some point in the movie, I pulled out my phone to check the time.

NOT to see if it was almost over! To reassure myself I still had a while to go. I enjoyed this film so much, I did not want it to end. THAT’S a great feeling. I remember seeing there was at least twenty to thirty minutes left and being relieved it wasn’t about to end.

Dark Knight is powerful, but you don’t need me to tell you that.


Image Credit: Tri-Star Pictures

Dark Knight was close. It was SO CLOSE. But when I thought of this list, I thought of T2 (and Aliens), and nothing that I came up with afterwards could unseat it.

What DOESN’T this flick do? It’s funny. It is scary at parts. It has some child fantasy elements. And oh yeah, when it’s not embracing any of those aspects, it’s just the best action movie forever and ever amen the end.

It’s easy to rag on stuff like Rise Of The Machines or Salvation or Genisys or Dark Fate, but look at the dragon those flicks were chasing, man. Attempting to follow up T2 was always a fool’s errand. Sometimes a studio should know when to say “Well, this can’t be topped”. But I’m sure the sequels made everyone involved very rich, so what do I know?

Whoof, this was HARD. Every single movie up there is at least a 4/5 for me except Bill & Ted (a 3.5) which I had to include because I use it as a measuring stick for every sequel I watch. There are movies that didn’t make this top ten that I out-and-out LOVE. Winter Soldier. The Suicide Squad. Bride of Frankenstein. Blade 2. Damn, it hurt to not include those.

So yep, this is where I turn it over to you, as always. Give me your lists! There are high quality options all over the place. What makes the cut for you? Probably not GotG2. Probably ESB. That’s fine! I respect that!

Until next time… take care!