ByLy Velez, writer at
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Ly Velez

Adding to the ever successful stream of apocalyptic dystopian teenage adventures, The Maze Runner's success has us desperately itching for September 18th to finally arrive. This coming Friday, we rejoin the brave troop of Glade survivors as they attempt to escape from the sinister WCKD organization by entering into a barren new world desolated by an apocalyptic solar flare. Yes, the Gladers may have been able to overcome the horrors of the Maze, but can they survive the Scorch?

Friday's Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials will be bringing fans a whole new level of action-packed adventure, but can it beat out the original? Check out the other top eight sequels that took the franchise to the next level!

Jurassic World

  • Original Worldwide Gross ~ $1,038,812,584
  • Sequel Worldwide Gross ~ $1,655,932,265

Raking in over 1.5 billion dollars in the box office worldwide, Jurassic World, despite bearing the stigmatized status of a sequel, has become the biggest box office hit in world history! Clocking in at 22 years after the original film, Jurassic World took the dino adventure to the next level. The two decades that separated the mother film from this sequel thankfully brought along mind-blowing improvements on film technology and special effects, allowing filmmakers to bring the beloved dinosaurs from the '90s to full 21st Century HD! It's hard to deny that this film blew the minds of all Jurassic Park fans, both old and new.

The Dark Knight

  • Original Worldwide Gross ~ $359,142,722
  • Sequel Worldwide Gross ~ $1,002,891,358

The now famous Dark Knight Trilogy began with Christopher Nolan's dream of resurrecting Batman's story into a dark and gritty tale of a vigilante hero scarred by a dark past. After bitterly disappointing on-screen Batman failures throughout the '90s, Nolan reintroduced Batman in 2005. Batman Begins tells the story of Bruce Wayne's shocking loss of his parents as well as the fear of bats that inspired his infamous secret identity. The successful film then prompted the creation of what has undeniably become one of cinemas most talked about, memorable, and controversial films: The Dark Knight. The sequel brought about a darker, humanistic, and psychologically twisted perspective never before truly explored in Batman history. While Christian Bale's raw and powerful performance as the Batman fueled the franchise forward, the late Heath Ledger's shocking and disturbing portrayal of the Clown Prince of Crime is arguably what earns the film a spot as not only one of cinema's best sequels but one of their best overall films, as well.

Monsters University

  • Original Worldwide Gross ~ $559,757,719
  • Sequel Worldwide Gross ~ $743,588,329

Next up on the list is the much more family-friendly Monsters University. 12 years after formally introducing us to the monsters in our closets, Disney decided to take a trip back in time and show us how these monsters got their start. The colorful characters and genuinely hilarious comedy makes the prequel an instant hit with the children, but it's the spot-on references to the often awkward and embarrassing moments of college life that make the film an instant classic amongst adults and the perfect prep film for teens about to leave the nest!

Spider-Man 2

  • Original Worldwide Gross ~ $821,706,375
  • Sequel Worldwide Gross ~ $783,705,001

The sequel may have made about $100,000,000 less than the original, but Spider-Man 2 arguably can be considered the shining gem of the 2000's web-slinging trilogy. While the first film had the obvious objective of getting rid of the maniacal Green Goblin at all costs, the second throws a bit more complexity into the mix. Yes, juggling school, an ever failing love life, a job and heroism can be pretty tough - even for Peter Parker, but it cant get much worse than that, right? Well, let's throw in a partially brainwashed super-scientist with giant metallic claws and the knowledge of mass nuclear power capable of destroying the entirety of New York City, and you've got yourself the perfect summer blockbuster!

Essentially, what I am trying to say is that Spider-Man was great, Spider-Man 2 was fantastic, and we should all forget that Spider-Man 3 ever existed...

Toy Story 3

  • Original Worldwide Gross ~ $364,402,211
  • Sequel Worldwide Gross ~ $1,069,818,229

This piece of animated perfection needs no introduction, and I am tempted to leave it at that. 15 years after escaping the treachery of Sid's backyard relatively unscathed, Woody and the gang returned to the silver screen with a brand new horror to face, Andy's departure to college! Every theater seat across the globe was filled with fans young, old, and super old eagerly awaiting to see how the toys would deal with their precious kid finally moving on. Audiences could have never prepared for the emotional roller coaster that awaited them, from the gang clutching hands in preparation of an incinerating end to the indescribable whirlwind of emotions we felt seeing the last shot of the puffy white clouds in the sky as Andy finally said goodbye for the final time. Yes, it was the perfect cartoon movie, and yes, it was cruel...

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

  • Original Worldwide Gross ~ $974,755,371
  • Sequel Worldwide Gross ~ $935,083,686

Since Harry Potter thrives off of sequels, it is difficult to single out just one. So my pick will likely cause some dissension amongst readers, but it's all in the name of fun! I must say that the Half-Blood Prince makes its noble mark amongst the plethora of other HP films. Teenage angst and hormones flourish, love triangles (polygons?) form, darkness reigns, a hero dies, and a certain antihero's mysterious motives deepens! The film acts as the perfect bridge that finally fully transports us from the innocence of childhood and safety of Hogwarts to the hardships and sacrifices Harry, Ron, and Hermione must embrace as they face Voldemort head on.

Shrek 2

  • Original Worldwide Gross ~ $491,812,794
  • Sequel Worldwide Gross ~ $932,252,921

While the Shrek franchise may have gone a bit overboard on the sequels fad (and yes, I'm pointing at you Shrek 4), Shrek 2 took the modern cartoon fairytale to a whole new, bigger level. The sequel took fans on a laugh-filled trip through the kingdom of Far Far Away, complete with the perfect road trip soundtrack and brand new characters like the sassy Fairy Godmother, the paranoid King, and the badass Queen. But, let's be honest here, the best part about Shrek 2 is undeniably Prince Charming. Who can resist his flamboyantly pompous personality, impossibly floppy, shiny hair, perfect outfits, and concerning overprotective mother.

Despicable Me 2

  • Original Worldwide Gross ~ $543,495,033
  • Sequel Worldwide Gross ~ $974,873,764

The situation seems to be that you either love or hate Despicable Me, so if you like it, then keep on reading! If not, well, Gru and the Minions are probably not very fond of you, either. After successfully putting the moon back in place in the original, Gru faces his most challenging feat next, parenting three girls! Margo's preteen hormones are running wild when she meets a mysterious, dreamy boy. Agnes continues to run awry with her antics, and sweet little Edith tries to remain composed as she struggles with the absence of a loving mother. To make things all the more complicated, Gru gets recruited by the good guys to track down the legendary and formerly dead 'El Macho.' Oh, and there's Minions. A lot more Minions.

Bonus: Maze Runner: Scorch Trials

  • Original Worldwide Gross ~ $345,527,862
  • Sequel Worldwide Gross ~ ?????

To wrap up the list, we have the promising new comer Maze Runner: Scorch Trials. The film follows up last year's unexpected young adult summer hit The Maze Runner. The Maze Runner successfully managed to shine despite the overused dystopian theme, and it's sister film will undeniably do the same. Early reactions praise Scorch Trials for its novel take on the story and for avoiding simply riding on the successful coat tails of it's predecessor. The Gladers may have been able to overcome the isolation and dangers of the maze, but nothing could prepare them for facing the desolation of the world they once knew. The realization that their world has forever been shattered is made all the more desperate with the knowledge that WKCD tails their every move. Cranks, secret organizations, and action packed drama promise to make Maze Runner: Scorch Trials one of the best seqels of all time!

This is definitely by no means an exhaustive list! The cinematic universe if filled with incredible sequels that we'll never get tired of seeing, but who do you think will be next up on the list? Do you believe The Scorch Trials has what it takes to join the ranks of cinematic history's most epic sequels? I know I believe it has what it takes! Find out once and for all this Friday, September 18th when the mysterious WCKD reign over our beloved Gladers as they come face to face with the Scorch.


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