You know the saying when you here people state that, “The original is ALWAYS the best.” While this may be true for most film series, there are a few exceptions including Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Star Wars Episode II: The Empire Strikes Back, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, The Dark Knight, The Godfather Part II, Blade II, X2: X-Men United, and Spider-Man 2, to name a few.
I am here today NOT to say that these films are better than the original, but rather that these films do not receive the recognition I believe they deserve. So now I bring you my list of “5 Underappreciated Movie Sequels That Deserve Recognition.”
1. Jaws 2
Steven Spielbergs’ groundbreaking horror/thriller film Jaws was definitely a first for its time. The film arguably petrified audiences world wide of being terrified of sharks, especially great whites. This movie became an instant hit and will be celebrating 40 years this month with a limited re-release of the film in select theaters!
When mentioning the film Jaws, one cannot escape thinking about its horrendous sequels in Jaws 3D and the god-awful Jaws: The Revenge. However, most people seem to overlook the first sequel to Jaws titled (not surprisingly) Jaws 2. This film brought back a familiar face from the first film: Roy Scheider as Chief Martin Brody. The sequel pitted our hero once again from another deadly shark encounter attacking the same city (you guessed it) Amity Island.
The movie certainly had more death counts than the original but that’s not what made this film memorable. The story is what I found most intriguing, as we see a father care about his children’s safety after experiencing the horrific circumstances once before. At one point in the film, Brody even gets fired from his job because the town council comes to an agreement after not having believed any of the evidence that Brody laid out for them including a blurred photo of the great white shark.
The movie does get pretty intense especially when the shark is after a group of teenagers out in the ocean. Brody has to save the children at all costs and eventually electrocutes the shark at the end of the film. While this sequel is certainly not an improvement over the original, it is however watchable and a decent follow-up to one of Spielberg’s best.
2. Die-Hard 2: Die Harder
The sequel to the smash hit Die-Hard pits our hero against all odds once again. This time, he has to deal with terrorists who are planning to take over an airport to make their getaway as smooth as possible. While this film is however a step down from the original, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to like here. For one, we have Bruce Willis returning as the titular hero John McClane bringing along his unique fighting skills to survive. Then there’s that little twist towards the middle of the film which I won’t spoil here.
The action and fight choreography in the film are also enjoyable. The ending I’ll admit is a bit over the top but that does not bring this film down. While the movie is not the best in the series, it’s also NOT the worst. Die-Hard 2: Die Harder is a worthy follow-up to one of Hollywood’s best action flicks of all time.
When you think of director David Fincher, you may think of some of his more popular films such as Se7en, Fight Club, Zodiac, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Social Network, The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo, and most recently Gone Girl. The film that most people may have forgotten about that Fincher directed was the second sequel to Alien.
Alien3 gets a bad rap for its execution which you can mostly blame the studios for. Fincher had a story planned out, but multiple sources including Fincher himself have stated that 20th Century Fox would not keep their hands away from the script. This apparently is what made Alien3 a disaster according to Fincher.
While this film is a MAJOR step down from the previous entries, I actually disagree that it’s the worst in the series (that would go towards Alien Resurrection if you ask me). The film is much darker and depressing when comparing this to the other movies. It’s also less an action film and more a horror film like the original was. I will admit, the idea of killing off two of the three human survivors from Aliens was WAY over the top. I mean c’mon Ripley’s crew cannot catch a break!
The film is very watchable even if it appears Ripley is nearing her end. The movie’s special effects still holds up today and is perhaps considered to be the goriest and bloodiest of the franchise. If you’ve never seen Alien3 I’d suggest giving it a go. It wraps the series up nicely even though the ending like the others is dismal.
4. The Lost World: Jurassic Park
The follow-up to one of Hollywood’s most innovative films, Jurassic Park showed us according to Ian Malcom that “God creates dinosaurs, god destroys dinosaurs, god creates man, man destroys god, man creates dinosaurs.”
Man creates dinosaurs indeed in these films and is especially true when watching how many dinosaurs have been made over the years. The Lost World: Jurassic Park does not take place on Isla Nublar like the first film does. Instead, the movie takes place on Isla Sorna aka Site B according to Dr. Richard Hammond. This is the island where the dinosaurs are actually brought up and nurtured before being taken to the park located at Isla Nublar. Hammond tells Ian Malcom to go the island to document the dinosaurs habitat after having been set free from a massive storm. Malcom agrees to go when he finds out that his girlfriend Sarah Harding is part of the expedition.
The film is much darker from the previous film with the body count being much higher. There is also a double dose of T-Rex’s that continue to wreck havoc on the crew throughout the film. Plus, the raptors get their chance to shine once again chasing down and killing a lot of the crew members.
Bottom Line: If you are looking for a film with a TON of dinosaurs then look no further than Spielberg’s The Lost World: Jurassic Park. Also Jeff Goldblum is at his best taking on the lead role this time around. The dinosaur chases and terrifying scenes makes this film entertaining. I am super stoked for Jurassic World and cannot wait to see Colin Trevorrows’ take on the next dinosaur entry.
5. Spider-Man 3
Sam Raimi’s first two Spider-Man films were absolutely AMAZING. From the Green Goblin to Doctor Otto Octavius one would think that the next major villain Peter Parker would fight, might be even better right? Well, it depends on who you ask. Venom aside, the actual “villain” of the film is none other than the Sandman himself aka Flint Marko.
Marko is a highly misunderstood kind of villain. He wants nothing more than to save his daughter from dying of cancer. Without having any money to spare, Marko is forced to consistently rob banks to try to keep her alive by using the money as funding. This makes for a tragic villain and one that the audience is taken to side with during the film.
Now you can also say that the ACTUAL villain of the film is Eddie Brock who eventually becomes Venom. Clearly, this character was not ever needed in the film but was simply put in to overcrowd the film. Ever since this film was made, you’ll here the term “Spider-Man 3 syndrome.” This phrase simply means that if there is too much of something, it never seems to work out. In this case the movie had way too many villains which caused it to underperform at the box office.
Of course most if not all Marvel fans and Spider-Man fans in general know that the films too many villains was not the only aspect that brought this movie down. It was also Peter Parkers’ character after having succumbed to the alien symbiote. I have to be frank here and say that I don’t know what Raimi was thinking when he thought making an emo Peter Parker was a good part of the story. That I don’t believe I’ll ever understand. And that dance scene, well I just won’t go there.
This film is definitely my least favorite of the three but that does not mean it isn’t enjoyable. Yes this film has too many villains. Yes the love interest between Peter Parker and Mary Jane is compelled yet again. Yes the emo Peter Parker was embarrassing to watch to say the least. But you know what? If you look past all its problems, this film is actually a very good superhero movie. The action is again spectacular. The acting is again top notch and who could forget J.K. Simmons performance as J. Jonah Jameson. Also, Flint Marko’s story is upsetting and believable. This is one of those films where you can actually side with a person doing crime even if he’s doing it for the right reasons.
One more thing I’d like to add about this film is that the ending gets me every time. When I hear Flint Marko tell his story how he and his partner were the ones responsible for accidentally killing Peter’s uncle, I tend to tear up. It’s a very touching moment especially when Marko says to Peter, “I’m not asking you to forgive me. I just want you to understand.” Peter then responds saying, “I forgive you.”
Immediately after, we see Peter’s best friend Harry dying in the arms of Mary Jane. Parker states, “I never should have hurt you… said those things.” Harry replies saying, “None of that matters Peter. You’re my friend.” Peter then answers saying, “Best friend.” Again, the dialogue here is touching and gives a proper send off to a character we knew since the first Spider-Man film.
This film I believe is not as bad as people say it is. Sure it has its problems, but when you examine it more closely, you can see the positives that make this a very enjoyable film.
So that’s my personal list of films I believe are often overlooked or in some cases afraid to be mentioned. Did YOU agree with my list? What other sequels out there do you feel are underappreciated? Please share your thoughts and comment below!