Unless your name is James Cameron, sequels seem to have been the easiest way to generate big box office for the last couple of decades. With brand recognition and franchise appeal becoming increasingly important to the studios in regards to their big-budget output, high-profile sequels now tend to have release dates before the first movie even hits theaters.
Based on this blockbuster template of turning every successful movie into a franchise, it should come as no surprise that 37 of the 50 highest-grossing movies in history are sequels of some sort. Unsurprisingly for something that is designed to generate maximum profits, sequels have a reputation for being commercial exercises over creative ones. For every great sequel like The Godfather Part II, Dark Knight or Toy Story 2, there are plenty of terrible ones such as Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Men in Black II or Blair Witch: Book of Shadows.
With that in mind, this article will look at not the worst, but the 15 laziest sequels ever made. Some of these movies are shameless retreads of a popular first installment, others were quickly shot and released as soon as possible in order to cash in on goodwill towards the first movie, and a couple are so simply devoid of inspiration or originality that it smacks as nothing more than a cynical ploy to get audiences to part with their hard-earned cash.
15. Iron Man 2 (2010)
Iron Man 2 is by no means a bad movie, but it is by far the most cynical feature to emerge from Marvel Studios. Full of underdeveloped plot points, similarities to the first movie and a constant barrage of references to The Avengers, you can feel the weight of studio interference threatening to derail the entire movie.
The whole endeavour seems rushed, which probably isn't surprising given that the release date was locked in before Jon Favreau had even officially agreed to return to the director's chair. To expand the mythology of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Nick Fury and Agent Coulson are given expanded, exposition-heavy supporting roles loaded with throwaway references to the studio's upcoming slate of projects, while a fair chunk of screentime devoted to soon-to-be recurring character Natasha Romanoff, often to the detriment of the story.
Then you have the myriad of rushed plot points; Tony Stark's arc reactor is slowly poisoning him, but he solves the problem because of a message hidden in a diorama that his dad pointed out in a video back in 1974. Huh? Then there's the final act, which is basically a carbon copy of the first movie; Iron Man defeating a villain in a bigger metal suit. Sure, there are some entertaining moments but Iron Man 2 suffers from lazy writing and serves as Avengers-bait more than a standalone story.