10 Movie Sequels In Which Part 2 Was Better Than Part 1

5. Toy Story 2

Toy Story 2

What would the world be like without Pixar? Can you believe November, 22, 2015, marks the 20th anniversary of everyone’s favorite toys? Toy Story put Pixar on the map in 1995 and has remained a consistent force of top-quality family entertainment ever since. The first Toy Story was made for only around $30,000,000 but was a huge hit.

Toy Story 2 was made for a budget of around $90,000,000 and continued the story of Buzz Lightyear and Woody (Tim Allen and Tom Hanks) and the gang of toys as they attempt to rescue Woody after he is kidnapped by a greedy toy collector. New characters this time around were Jesse the Yodeling Cowgirl (Joan Cusack), Woody’s trusty steed Bullseye, Stinky Pete the Prospector (Kelsey Grammer) and Mrs. Potato Head (Estelle Harris).

The story this time around was much more robust. With animation, of course the story and characters are vastly important; however, the look and quality of the animation are just as important. The best thing about family films is your audience can continue to grow with each passing year. You will always have new children who were too young when the first film was released. Hopefully, we will continue to see many toy adventures for years to come.


4. The Raid 2

The Raid 2

The Raid: Redemption is a great movie. Really great. The action scenes and martial arts choreography are among the best seen on film. The plot of the first film is not even that complicated. It’s about a group of S.W.A.T. team officers who raid a large, tall building, slowly battling their way up as they go to try and take down a ruthless mobster and his henchmen thugs.

In the Raid 2, the director of both films (Gareth Evans) picks up where he left off with Rama (Iko Uwais). In the aftermath of the last film, Rama recovers from his injuries and discovers their original enemies were only a small part of a larger widespread crime syndicate. In order to protect his family, he has no choice but to go undercover within the crime organization, rise within their ranks to ultimately take them down.

This film is another case of bigger and better than the initial offering. The overall scope of the film is much more ambitious, taking us out of a single location for the most part in the first film to a much broader range in this film. The action scenes, car chases and brutally severe and monumental action brawls this time around are in the top five of scenes of this type ever filmed. The editing style and use of music within the film also adds greatly to the feel and ambiance of the film, making this a true action masterwork.


3. Terminator 2: Judgement Day


James Cameron’s sci-fi follow up to the first successful film of his career, stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as everyone’s favorite cyborg, this time sent back from the future to protect the son of Sarah Conner (Linda Hamilton), John Conner (Edward Furlong) from the T-1000 (Robert Patrick). The film was wildly successful, making over $200 million and making it the highest-grossing film of 1991.

The film expanded on the characters in the first film, and added to their relationships to each other. One of the movie’s key difference from the first time around was the relationship John Conner forms with The Terminator since he was sent to protect John. The dynamic they develop is almost one of a father and a son since John had never had a father he knew. Director Cameron had already been known for his visual style for Aliens and The Abyss and the same held true for this film.

Terminator 2 ending up winning 5 Academy Awards in 1991 including those for film editing, visual effects make up and cinematography. Since the T-1000 character was made of molten metal, this gave the film a chance to show off a lot of cool effect tricks that has never been previously seen like morphing into different people and objects, walking through prison bars and recovering interestingly and quickly from his wounds.

This film is by far the shining star in the Terminator franchise and will not be beaten no matter how many more they attempt to make.


2. The Empire Strikes Back


No one would argue that the original Star Wars was a movie game-changer, redefining the cinema and science fiction genres, etc. To that end, most agree The Empire Strikes Back is the best Star Wars film made to date (maybe that will change on December 18th?).

The long and short of it is Empire got everything right. The original story continued and was much darker, more sweeping, epic, and even ended on a downer. Who can now believe we all had to wait 3 years to find out Han Solo’s fate encased in Carbonite, if Luke would ever become a Jedi and whether the Rebel Alliance would ultimately prevail against the Empire?

The new characters introduced in the film are some of the greatest of all time including, of course, Jedi Master Yoda, Lando Calrissian and Boba Fett. The locales in the film are also amazing and engaging including Hoth, Dagobah and Cloud City. The Battle of Hoth is one of the greatest sequences ever put on film.

Other famous Star Wars Universe elements seen for the first time in Empire are tauntauns, the Wampa, the Imperial Probe Droid, Snowspeeders, AT-ATs and AT-STs, and Snowtroopers. The dark tone and majesty storytelling was second to none and really left everyone wanting more. All of these elements put together make Empire a true cinematic marvel.


1. The Dark Knight


Before getting into the film, let me just mention The Dark Knight was selected due to it being the most marvelous (pun intended) superhero film ever made. There could have been other comic book movies on the list (Tobey Maguire Spider-Man 2, X-2, Captain America: Winter Soldier); however, Dark Knight is in a class by itself.

When it was first announced Heath Ledger would be playing The Joker, there was much skepticism whether he could fill the very large shoes left by Jack Nicholson when he had donned the role in Tim Burton’s 1989 version of Batman. All those fears were laid to rest once he came on screen. It is quite a resounding shame he was not able to receive his Academy Award for his role, as it was very well deserved.

Director had really taken superhero movies in a different, more realistic, direction with “Batman Begins” and it was great he was able to continue his story with The Dark Knight. The complexity and maturity Nolan handles the characters and situations are amazing. The visual style and pacing of the film are top notch. Audiences agreed making it the 5th highly grossing movie of all time at more than $534,000,000. Too bad the third film did not continue this tradition of quality.

Honorable Mentions: There were a number of 1-2 film combos which were too close to call, so they were not included either. Some of those include:

The Godfather vs. The Godfather Part II
LOTR – Fellowship vs. LOTR Two Towers
First Blood vs. Rambo: First Blood Part II
Alien vs. Aliens
Raiders of the Lost Ark vs. Temple of Doom
The Bourne Identity vs. The Bourne Ultimatum
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery vs. The Spy Who Shagged Me
A Fistful of Dollars vs. For a Few Dollars More
The Pink Panther vs. A Shot in the Dark
Dr. No vs. From Russia With Love

Author Bio: Andy Kubica is a life-long cinephile. Having spend time as a video store manager, movie theater manager and the first DVD buyer for a former rental chain he now spends every waking moment reducing his film “bucket list”.