DAR Films: Movie Sequels

By @TrueGodImmortal 

In the film industry, or rather Hollywood in general, sequels have become far too commonplace. It's a smart strategy in some ways, create a follow up movie to a successful one and start a franchise. We've seen this employed so often in the cinema world, and here we are now as of the end of 2016 with 174 sequels looming over the next few years. That's right, 174. One hundred. Seventy four. How? Well it is simple. With so many franchises, comic book movies, films for kids, and more, sequels are more prevalent than ever. There are some sequels that I don't see harm in, and others that I'm completely confused on. Like with Deadpool 2, I expected a follow up and sequel to that because there's huge dollars to be made in that. Hollywood goes where the dollars are, and the safe bet will always going to the well again. However, there is a such thing as going to the well one too many times.

With the Will Smith and Martin Lawrence franchise being rebooted with Bad Boys 3 and presumably 4 on the way, I'm torn. I'm completely okay with one more Bad Boys movie. Though I don't think the chemistry would be the same as the first one, it's always good to see Martin and Will in those roles, and one last film couldn't hurt. The concept of two more films? It's overkill. I'd expect a cliffhanger at the end of 3 to leads us into the 4th installment, but with this particular franchise, 22 years later, do we need 2 more Bad Boys films? Probably not. The same could be said for a film that was released in the same year as the first Bad Boys, and that's the animated classic Toy Story. I'm also torn on the concept of another Toy Story movie. Now, for kids, I'm sure they will go see it, because kids are the easiest consumers to attract. However, for the sake of the franchise, the story told with the first three Toy Story films have mostly completed the story. There's the story of perhaps passing the toys down to the main character's children to continue it, but as a franchise, I feel like Toy Story has ran out of juice. The same could be said for the Fast and Furious series, which has no real artistic value and is essentially the traditional action movie with explosions and high energy, but let's be honest: is it overkill????

For the Fast and Furious, it started back in 2001, as a racing film, with high energy races, police chases, and a world of corruption. It soon grew to be a movie franchise that just won't quit. I mean, really.... it just won't quit. After the 2nd installment in 2003 and a Bow Wow led third film in 2006, they brought back the original cast and made a fourth film in 2009. However, what was the purpose? Why Fast and Furious? Whatever their reasoning, it worked, as the film made over 100 million at the box office and no rebooted a franchise that was seemingly struggling. The franchise got their biggest boost with the 5th film, which brought every character from the films back (minus Bow Wow), and added The Rock as a main character. The results were astronomical as Fast Five seemingly revived the brand completely, making it one of the most successful brands in  film. There's been a Fast 6, a Furious 7, and there will be a brand new Fast 8 in April, with two more installments to follow, making this a 10 movie series. After the death of Paul Walker, it seemed like the right time to end the film series, but after Furious 7, studios got greedy and decided to keep it going. There lies the issue with movie sequels.

For every Empire Strikes Back, there's a Hangover 3. For every Godfather 2, there's a Speed 2. For every Terminator 2, there's a Spiderman 3. Now, we know in film that you can hit or miss, but with sequels, you're prone to miss because people fell in love with the original and you can't duplicate that. Even with music, this seems to be true. Jay-Z couldn't top The Blueprint with his sequels to the album, and even if they are good albums, it just doesn't compare to the first. So with film, that margin of error is even greater. You have to include elements of the first to remind people what they fell in love with, while still giving new ideas and bringing fresher elements to make the movie standout on its own. Now, with comedic franchises, such as Meet The Parents, Friday, and Rush Hour, it's easier to top your first movie, because the first film was made with no expectations, but it still doesn't always work. Like with Friday, the film is literally about two friends and the crazy shit they get into on a random Friday. Where Next Friday and Friday After Next missed is that they added too much to the story and you lose the feel of the original. From the whole Christmas element of the third to the lack of comedic timing in the second one, these sequels were unnecessary because you can't recreate the chemistry of Ice Cube and Chris Tucker in the first. There's been talk of a fourth film with Tucker back in the fold, but in some ways, it would be a waste. For a film like Rush Hour, the 2nd is the best because it took what we loved in the first and added to it immensely, keeping the laughs coming. The 3rd one falls short because of the time it took in between to make it, and with the 4th one in the works possibly, one wonders if Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan should leave it alone and move on. Some franchises are better left alone.

In that spirit, let's talk the worst sequels ever for a minute. Some of the worst sequels that have ever been made and a small list of them. Let's get into those.

*Spiderman 3

-I don't even have the words to say it. A movie that really didn't make much sense, this one featured Spiderman going dark and fighting Venom.... but it just wasn't executed correctly.

*Superman IV: The Quest For Peace

-I really can't believe they made a fourth one of these because the third wasn't that great either. This one takes the cake however. It's absolutely horrible.

*The Matrix: Revolutions

-This was a movie better left alone at just one. The final installment was devoid of the energy that we loved originally and it misses the mark completely.

*Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

-Years and years later, the cinematic world got dealt a bad hand by having to watch this. This is quite possibly the worst on this list and certainly the most unnecessary. Who asked for this film???

*Speed 2: Cruise Control

-No Keanu Reeves? Check. No plot that's really good to grab the audience? Check. Pointless sequel? Check. There you have it.

*The Hangover 3

-Unnecessary. The 2nd one was bad as well. I'm not a fan of the 2nd one or the first one either, but this third one was horrible and probably the worst way to end the franchise that should have been just one film.

*Batman and Robin

-Batman Forever? Middle of the road. This film? Absolutely terrible. It felt corny, Chris O'Donnell as Robin is more hilarity than it should be, and it just felt so lifeless and boring.

*X-Men 3: The Last Stand

-These movies were really bad in general aside from the second one, which I liked and the second, but this one just misses completely.

*Son of The Mask

-We won't act like the first Mask movie was a cinematic masterpiece, but was this just poorly put together and there's not one laugh at all.

*Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd

-No Jim Carrey. Check. Two actors playing younger versions of already established characters and a lack of chemistry? Check. Another pointless sequel? Check.

*Beverly Hills Cop 3

-Sigh. Eddie was on a role at one point. This was a start of his downfall and very unnecessary. The amusement park premise was hilarious at least, but for all the wrong reasons.

*Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift

-I'm sure they meant well. I didn't think this movie fit well in the franchise, but it could have been okay as a standalone film. The acting is horrible here however and doesn't work at all.

Those are just a few of the worst, and if we were to talk horror sequels, the list could go on forever from Scream 3 to the Blair Witch sequels and Jason Goes To Hell. Those could on and on, and it seems as if sequels are given more of a pass when they are horror, because they have little artistic value. Still, those Saw sequels, Nightmare On Elm Street, and others fell very short of what would constitute a solid sequel. Now, as far as the best sequels? There are some real good ones out there. Let's get into a few of the best of the best for a moment.

*The Godfather 2

-One of the greatest sequels, if not the greatest, this is absolutely a perfect way to follow up a movie that's already considered a classic.

*The Dark Knight

-My favorite Batman movies, and it surpasses Batman Returns, which was my favorite of the series at first. Heath Ledger as the Joker is the best villain role I've ever seen personally.

*Terminator 2: Judgment Day

-The return of The Terminator to help save the world. This was miles ahead of the first one and absolutely entertaining. One of the best action films I've ever watched.

*Captain America: The Winter Soldier

-The First Avenger was decent, but this was absolutely amazing from top to bottom. I watched this movie a few times and it just has so much action and great moments in it. It's one of the best Marvel movies ever.

*Spiderman 2

-They should have stopped at this one. They really should have. This was a perfect way to close it out, but of course, we knew the Sony studios would keep going. The money was calling them and of course they went to the well one too many times.

*Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

-When we talk about classic films, this is probably the most infamous sequel in history. Everyone who loves Star Wars will tell you that this one needs to be on the list of greatest sequels and with good reason. Besides being the darkest of the films in the original group of films, it features the iconic line "Luke, I am your father". How could you not include this one??

*Rush Hour 2

-Surprised to see this here? I'm sure you are. Well, don't be. This is pure comedic genius to me, and I'm very much partial to this film and it's one of my personal favorite comedies of all time, thus why it's here. It is better than the other 2 films in the series and it took the vibe of the first and brought it in a different way. Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan have their best chemistry here.


-I'm not much a fan of the science fiction genre, but this is certainly one of the films that belongs on this list. The character Ripley echoed strong feminine traits while taking on the monsters of other world, and this movie even earned Sigourney Weaver an Oscar nomination.

*Toy Story 2

-Probably the best animated sequel ever, I think this is honestly a beautiful film for the kids and there's a bit of emotion in the way Jessie comes into the story. This was really a great movie and it truly deserves to be on the list.

When looking at great sequels, there's so many more to speak of, as we could talk about X2, the Star Trek sequel (The Wrath of Khan), Mad Max 2, The Silence of The Lambs (which is techmically a sequel), and many others. Regardless, in the world of film, there are upsides and downsides to movie sequels. We've talked some of the best and some of the worst, but with the aforementioned number of 174 sequels in the work, have we reached the point where enough is enough? Probably not, as the consumer will likely line up to see a majority of them, but at this point, it feels like we are entering a world of sequel overkill and very rarely do we an original film that captivated the audience on a commercially successful level and I'm not so sure if that's a good or bad thing. That debate will be left up to the audience to decide I guess, but for this writer, I would like to see a cutback in sequels. That'll probably never happen, so until then, let's just hope these upcoming sequels are more on the entertaining side than the other side.



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