15 Movie Sequels Better Than the Original 5

Since the 1980s, sequels have become a Hollywood infrastructure — and public opinion on their pop-cultural and artistic value has shifted. No longer were sequels just quasi-remakes with few returning faces and significantly cheaper budgets, but events that studios could promote as highlights of their yearly slates. That’s not to say sequels gained favor overnight and outran schlock overnight (see 1983’s Jaws 3D) or that plenty of bad sequels weren’t released (1984’s Conan the Destroyer). But when you look at today’s film culture, it’s clear that franchises rule and sequels tend to make up for the vast majority of the world’s highest-grossing films, for better and worse. Still, it’s no easy task to make a hit follow-up, especially if the first film is beloved. And it’s even harder to make a sequel better than the original when the original is such an accomplishment in itself.

This summer, like all summers, new movie offerings are filled with highly anticipated sequels: Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, Bad Boys: Ride or Die, Inside Out 2, Despicable Me 4, Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F, Maxxxine, My Spy: The Eternal City, Twisters, Deadpool & Wolverine and Alien: Romulus. To usher in summer, here are the best sequels of the last 20 years that surpassed their predecessor and moved their respective franchises forward.

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