Ah, the sequel. Despised and beloved in equal measure, the follow up film has a long history of both delighting and appalling audiences who want more of the same, but different—really, with that description in mind it’s no wonder filmmakers often struggle to fulfil this impossible demand.
In the world of science fiction in particular, though, the sequel is a strange beast. No longer burdened with the heavy task of world-building and able to proceed straight into the plot without first establishing the rules of its far-fetched reality, the sci-fi sequel should be fertile ground for instalments which outdo their predecessors in terms of originality and daring.
However, for every Aliens there are a dozen Alien 3s, and often times sci-fi sequels fall victim to the “less is more” rule as their second trips to our favourite far-off worlds prove disappointing. In fact, critics and audiences can on occasion be quicker to write off sci-fi franchises due to the law of diminishing returns and miss out on stellar instalments as a result. Just look at these examples of less-loved sequels which deserve another shot at recognition.
This is a strange one, as the latest instalment of
Michael Bay’s much-maligned Transformers franchise was reasonably well-liked
upon its arrival in cinemas in 2018. Starring Edge of Seventeen’s Hailee Steinfeld
as the original owner of the eponymous car/ robot in disguise, the eighties
throwback was an agreeably simple slice of nostalgia which made up for the
franchise’s slide into incoherence in recent years.
However despite the decent reception received by Bumblebee, many viewers missed out on the flick solely because it was associated with the Transformers brand, a series which may have started off strong with 2007’s fun original but which soon became critical poison, toxic to the point that cinemagoers dismissed Bumblebee as "just another Transformers movie".
As such, we’d recommend that anyone avoiding this one due to its lesser predecessors give Bumblebee’s easy charms a shot.