A common complaint made about the modern film industry is Hollywood’s lack on imagination and current reliance on sequels. It’s fair to say that they are now more prominent as tentpole releases and it’s certainly a recent development to have a film that spends more time setting up its later instalments over being interesting in it’s own right (‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ please stand up), but sequels in general are nothing new. The first notable one was ‘Death of a Nation’ in 1916, a follow up to ‘Birth of a Nation’, a film as groundbreaking in narrative terms as it is excruciatingly racist.
People should be thankful for the way sequels are regarded nowadays – production values are matching the original with budgets suitable for the size of the ideas – compared to the truly quick, low budget cash-ins of yesteryear. There are exceptions to the rule – some can be cited as people’s favourite films (The Godfather: Part II, The Empire Strikes Back, Aliens) – however most are predictable and hampered by what came before.
Here are four sequels that people so often ignore by their names alone, but are interesting in their own right and deserve a reappraisal; some merely justify their existence, but some actually stand up to their predecessor.
Spoilers for sequels and their much more renowned originals follow.
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