2016 is over and we can finally turn over a new leaf for movies after a year infused with many reboots and sequels and, more often than not, movies that ended up not performing as well as the first installment did critically and financially. Of course, everyone loves a great sequel to some of our beloved franchises here and there, but there is a point where sequels become excessive — especially when they aren't good quality.
Sometimes a great, original movie can be destroyed by the lazy, incoherent sequels the studio puts out to make an extra dollar. With a trilogy, chances are the first one is always the best. However, that does not mean that the other movies should rapidly decline in terms of quality. Sometimes the first installment in a franchise is a spectacular film that was a huge success and then the following chapters are underwhelming. This doesn't necessarily mean they are garbage films, but they just do not touch the high standard the original set.
Let's further look into some of these scenarios where the sequels of a franchise do not live up to the first movie, potentially ruining the trilogy.
10. 'Iron Man'
Starting off this list is the Iron Man franchise, which sits at the bottom because, like I've stated in the past in some of my other articles, the two Iron Man sequels aren't "bad" movies. However, they do not live up to the greatness of the original installment. 2008's Iron Man was the dawn of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and 14 movies later, this classic is still one of the MCU's best films to date.
Robert Downey Jr. owned the role of Tony Stark from the very beginning, doing a successful job bringing the comic character to life but at the same time putting his own charming spin on the billionaire scientist. The movie had an excellent plot with great writing and characters and was a very realistic and modern superhero origin movie. However, the next two installments in the franchise didn't raise the bar high enough in most people's eyes and didn't achieve the extraordinary things that the first movie did.
9. 'Men In Black'
Men in Black was the perfect combination of a buddy film meets sci-fi action movie. Everything about this movie was fantastic back in 1997 and furthermore, most of the effects still hold up today.
Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones had fantastic, realistic, and relatable chemistry that went down in the books as one of the best buddy cop relationships we have ever seen on the big screen. The script was great, the story was enticing, and the movie had as many great action sequences as it had laughs. Five years later, we received an unnecessary sequel that failed to recapture the magic.
Everything the sequel did was a step down from the original movie. Luckily, Men in Black III wrapped things up adequately and there is some enjoyment to be found in that movie. However, it was only made as an apology to the fans and a homage to the great film that is Men in Black.
8. 'The Hangover'
Still to this day, I would name The Hangover one of my favorite comedies of all time. The movie has a fresh, unique story with great writing and characters. On top of that, this movie is absolutely hilarious with iconic moments and one-liners popping up every couple of minutes. Fans of the movie had high hopes for the sequel to raise the bar and continue to tell a hilarious story. Instead, we received the complete opposite.
The Hangover: Part II and Part III aren't necessarily bad movies — they are just the same exact movie as the first film. With a few minor location changes, it's basically the same exact movie three times in a row. The third installment tried to be a bit more unique but in the end lost its charm. On the other hand, the second movie has the same plot, the same beats, and even the exact same jokes.
7. 'Scary Movie'
Nowadays, there are almost no funny parodies that are better than the movie they are making fun of in the first place. Despite its mediocre reaction from critics, I personally find Scary Movie to be comedic gold. There are so many hilarious quotes to take from this fun and entertaining movie. Sure, it may not be the best movie ever created, but it isn't supposed to be because it's a parody with the sole purpose of making us laugh and making fun of horror movies like Scream.
However, as the horror genre progressed, the Scary Movie franchise became more painful to watch. The franchise managed to release four sequels that were just plain horrible. With parody movies, I always have a rule of thumb: if the parody is worse than the movie than it's parodying, it's not worth watching.
Now, I am not referring to Christopher Nolan's critically acclaimed Dark Knight trilogy nor am I referencing the current incarnation of the Caped Crusader portrayed by Ben Affleck in the DC Extended Universe. I am referring to the original 1989 Batman starring Hollywood legend Michael Keaton. This classic comic book movie was created way before the superhero movie wave began yet it still holds up as one of the better movies in the genre and in some cases, it even pushed forward the creation of more comic book movies. However, much can't be said about the following three installments.
Batman Returns is a direct sequel to Tim Burton's Batman as Michael Keaton still starred as the Dark Knight. We saw a very interesting portrayal of the Penguin (played by Danny DeVito) and other great performances from Christopher Walken and Michelle Pfieffer. In fact, I have even named Batman Returns one of the most underrated superhero movies as in some ways, it's a better movie. However, ever since I wrote that article back in March, I have realized that Batman Returns suffers from one thing: it's not memorable, which is insane considering Batman has so many memorable moments.
After Batman Returns, everything went out of control for the Batman franchise. Batman was recast with Val Kilmer in Batman Forever and then George Clooney in Batman and Robin. Batman Forever was nothing more than a loud and mundane installment that tried to cram a lot of material into one movie. With Batman and Robin — do I even need to talk about "Batman on ice" at this point?
Halloween is one of the most iconic horror franchises in Hollywood history. The movie features the horror icon Michael Myers, who stands up there along with Jason and Freddy Krueger. This film introduced the world to the nightmarish boogeyman their childhood selves always feared was hiding in their closets. Michael Myers was a man of mystery and the only thing we knew about him is that he wears a mask and is a killer. The audience had so many questions about Myers' motives yet they didn't need to the answers because that's what made the film perfect.
Halloween II isn't a horrible movie, but it was the beginning of the negative moments that slowly killed off the franchise in later installments. Director John Carpenter probably made the worst decision he ever made with the Halloween franchise: He humanized Michael Myers. The mystery surrounding the character diminished when we learned the answers to the questions which should have been left a mystery.
The sequel revealed that Laurie Strode, the main character, was actually Michael Myers' sister, which explains why he targeted her so much and in the end, this ruined the mystery behind Michael Myers and eventually killed the franchise. Each installment became more cliché and Michael Myers' character was slowly killed off.
4. 'Dumb And Dumber'
There is no doubt that The Hangover has become an iconic comedy, but it doesn't compare to the magnitude force that is Dumb and Dumber — one of, if not the best, comedy of all time. Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels are in their prime and the two share a hilarious yet believable chemistry that leaves a positive mark on the entire film. Even some of the jokes that may seem cliche now were completely original 20 years ago. The only thing Dumb and Dumber fails at is giving the audience some breathing room after constant laughing at every single hilarious scene.
In 2003, New Line Cinema decided it was a great idea to make another Dumb and Dumber movie. Instead of making a simple sequel, they decided to make a prequel titled Dumb and Dumberer with two new actors portraying the young versions of Harry and Lloyd and showing the adventures that no one ever asked for, including how they met in their high school years. The only part in this entire movie are the scenes with Bob Saget, and his character's funniest line explains how the rest of the film went down: "There's shit everywhere!"
Obviously we weren't sick enough of Dumb and Dumber yet because in 2014, we received Dumb and Dumber To, which was a garbage sequel that like the last installment, no one ever asked for. Similar to The Hangover: Part II, the movie tries to recapture the gold of the original film but in the end, the only thing we were laughing at was how bad the movie turned out.
Jaws is easily one of the most iconic movies ever made. The movie is over 40 years old yet it is still a classic around the world and still manages to scare the modern audience. After your first viewing, you'll be afraid to set foot in any body of water for weeks.
We received Jaws 2 only two years after the original and it was the first of three crappy sequels that tried to recapture the success of the first movie by using the same plot and premise over and over again, each installment getting worse each time. The movie tried to focus less on the riveting plot and more on the action and eye candy in the sequels.
We are all aware that the Transformers franchise is arguably the worst in Hollywood history. The only reason it isn't ranked at number one is because the first movie is nothing more than "pretty good," unlike most of the other first installments featured on this list. 2007's Transformers set out to be a realistic approach on the popular toy line and cartoon yet it didn't feel realistic enough. Besides that, the movie features exhilarating action and even though the special effects and explosions were a bit overused, they still looked pretty great.
Michael Bay continued the "explosive" franchise and made three more installments. Each new movie focuses less on the plot and script and more on the CGI, explosions, and action. In Transformers: Age of Extinction, the movie heavily relied upon CGI and it turned out to be a total mess of a movie. The worst part is that they are not even entertaining eye-candy movies as they are extremely difficult to sit through.
1. 'Jurassic Park'
If you take all 10 first installments on this list, Jurassic Park is easily the best entry of them all. That is why it is the champion (or loser) of this list — because the sequels following Jurassic Park are so damn disappointing. A lot of the movies on this list didn't need more than one sequel, if any sequels at all. However, Jurassic Park could have been the beginning of a much better franchise instead of it being amazing by itself.
Jurassic Park: The Lost World was released four years after the original movie in 1997. The sequel moved away from the amazing practical effects they mastered in the first movie and relied more on CGI, which at that time looked frightening and amazing. However, it does not hold up nearly as well as Jurassic Park — just like everything else in the movie.
Jurassic Park III tries to be darker but in the end fails on being a successful sequel. Then in 2015, Jurassic World was released into theaters and it became one of the highest grossing movies of all time. Even though this movie was extremely entertaining and was one of the best "popcorn movies" of the year, this reboot doesn't leave an impact on the audience as massive as Jurassic Park did. Also, the movie had its fair share of problems including ginormous plot holes and poorly-written supporting characters. In the end, I believe Jurassic Park is just too great and any sequel will have a very difficult chance living up to its greatness.
Which franchise with only one good installment is the worst of them all?
Which movie franchise should have never become a franchise and/or be treated better? Tell me below!