Too many times do we go to see the sequel to a great movie and walk out saying, "Nothing can top the first one. The first will always be the best." Yes, the first experience of something new is the most exciting, as you can only get that "new experience high" once, but there is no reason a new story set in the same world can't be as fun. We go to see sequels to relive the "magic," but often all we leave with is disappointment.
I have heard it said that American audiences tend to prefer simple, happy endings that parallel the ideology of the American dream.. Well, this American disagrees. If the movie is done well, serves a purpose, and the ending gets across the message it is meant to get across, I don't care whether the ending is happy, sad, or a bittersweet mixture.
However, if the writers choose to give me a happily-ever-after ending with everything tied up in a nice little bow, it should be left that way. Much of the fun of these types of endings is daydreaming about how the characters continue to live out their "perfect" little lives that are so much better than my own dull life. These endings allow me to escape reality. Too may times when these stories are revisited, the rules and resolutions previously established get voided in order to create the same drama that worked so well with audiences the first time. This rehashing tragically destroys that perfect story I so lovingly daydreamed about and it can sometimes even ruin the original story for me.
A great example of this detriment is the Pirates of the Caribbean series.
Although I would personally go so far as to say only The Curse of the Black Pearl is a truly worthy specimen of great cinema, my friend Sarah disagrees. She also enjoyed the second and third movies, Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End, because she liked Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann’s stories.
Unfortunately, beyond their affairs, she couldn’t come up with much else she liked about the rest of the original trilogy. She also never went to see On Stranger Tides, because she said with the end of Will and Elizabeth’s tale, the story was wrapped up and over for her, so she didn’t need to revisit that world and start over again with a new set characters.
A probable explanation for why her and my views on the Pirates franchise differ may have been given by James Gunn (writer of 2014 movie Guardians of the Galaxy) on his Twitter page. According to Gunn:
For Pirates, this statement is true of my beloved Captain Jack Sparrow, whom annoyingly never seems to change, but for the sequels that Will and Elizabeth took part in, both characters continued to change and grow.
Another good example of a blundered sequel is the new Star Wars installment, The Force Awakens. Many people enjoyed this movie, but to someone who has loved and examined every aspect of the previous two trilogies for quite a few years, The Force Awakens comes off as a formulaic retelling of the first three episodes (Four, Five, and Six). The Force Awakens changed the laws of the Star Wars universe (apparently no training is now required in order to use the Force or a lightsaber - turns out Luke was a total loser), as well as ruins the resolutions earned by our favorite characters at the end of Return of the Jedi. In my opinion, the Star Wars universe was much better left to our imagination.
I acknowledge that this does not apply to all sequels, such as those that were supposed to have them. Harry Potter and The Hunger Games are good examples of that (where Catching Fire is better than its predecessor). Other exceptions can also be argued for the following originally stand-alone films: Back to the Future 2, Ghostbusters 2, and Toy Story 2.
Are there any sequels you feel should never have been made or any sequels you love?