10 Most Shockingly Improved Movie Sequels

These improved sequels surprised EVERYONE.

Winnie the Pooh Blood and Honey
Jagged Edge Productions

It's fair to say that movie studios love nothing more than sequels, because why risk bankrolling an original project when you can just give audiences more of what they already like?

Of course, the grand irony is that sequels - good ones, anyway - are extremely tough to produce, requiring filmmakers to cook up a story that justifies the follow-up, while attempting to raise the bar or at least match the quality of what came before.

As such, it's little surprise that so many sequels fall short of the mark, but every so often, a sequel materialises which isn't merely good - it marks a major improvement on its predecessor.

The following ten movie sequels all went above and beyond their predecessor - whether that was a trainwreck or merely quite good - in turn delivering something far beyond anything the audience could've reasonably anticipated.

These sequels weren't just merely pleasant surprises, many of them turned the tide of their respective franchises forever more. And at the very least, they all proved that there's always room for even the most unlikely of sequels to soar far above any and all expectations.

10. Fast Five

Winnie the Pooh Blood and Honey
Universal Pictures

By the time the fourth entry into The Fast and the Furious hit screens, it truly seemed like all involved had run dry of fresh ideas - hence its title even being the laughably perfunctory "Fast and Furious."

Though critics were wildly mixed on the first three films, the fourth movie turned out to be the worst-reviewed of the bunch, in large part due to the excessively CGI-soaked action sequences and tonal clash between its cartoonish racing and dour, self-serious narrative.

Few were expecting much from Fast Five, then, even with the addition of Dwayne "Franchise Viagra" Johnson to the roster. After all, director Justin Lin was back for his third consecutive Fast movie, so why expect any different here?

But Fast Five marked a clear "creative reset" for the series, as it shifted away from petrolhead culture towards a broader globetrotting style of action film, while leaning into the over-the-top mayhem without much in the way of po-faced posturing. And yes, The Rock being on board didn't hurt.

Fast Five became the first film in the series to win critical praise, in turn rescuing the franchise from the creative doldrums with its emphasis on nutty action, fun character banter, and knowingly silly soap opera melodrama. Without Fast Five's success, the IP would've likely remained a more niche flavour of action franchise, rather than the billion-dollar brand it quickly became.

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Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.