The expectation of a movie sequel more often than not, despite what movie trailers and posters might tell you, is that they’re basically going to be greedy cash-grabs, keen to shove the same product down the viewer’s throat for a second, third, fourth, even fifth time for a quick buck.

One need only look at the hilariously overplayed glut of Saw sequels, or recent action follow-ups like Taken 2 and A Good Day To Die Hard to see how bad things can get, though on a very odd occasion, there will be a sequel that will manage to outdo its (already great, even brilliant) original.

It’s a rare feat, and takes a special kind of directorial ingenuity, usually going in a completely different direction and simply offering up an alternative experience for viewers rather then rehashing the same narrative.

However they managed to achieve it, here are 10 movie sequels that did the seemingly impossible and outdid the original…

 

 

10. X2: X-Men United

The first comic book film to really break with the assertion that they couldn’t be dramatically engaging and fun at the same time, X-Men 2 thrilled us right from its opening scene, in which Nightcrawler invades the White House in an attempt to assassinate the President.

What’s really great about the film compared to the original, though, is the emotional depth of the characters; take Nightcrawler, who could simply have been a garden variety baddie, but we come to know him as a character and so his motivations and actions gain our sympathy.

Also, forcing Magneto and his team of mutants to team up with Professor Xavier’s was a master-stroke, creating an uneasy pact in order to fend off William Striker’s untoward advances.

With exhilarating set-pieces and well-developed characters, X2 helped to shift perceptions about this type of movie, and easily tops the original, which was a fun film if stuck in the unfortunate rut at the time that comic book movies needed to be a little goofy (Storm’s Toad line, anyone?).

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This article was first posted on February 26, 2013