ByTrevor Norkey, writer at
Writer, filmmaker, actor and film enthusiast.
Trevor Norkey

More and more often, it seems as though Hollywood has two favorite words: "sequel" and "reboot." If a movie is successful, Hollywood almost always will give it a sequel. It's a common trend, and would work amazingly if most sequels were just as good as the original. Unfortunately, most sequels fall short of the mark.

I'm looking at you, 'Batman & Robin'
I'm looking at you, 'Batman & Robin'

This isn't always true, though. Sometimes, we as the fans get lucky and will receive a sequel that is even better than the original. Though this is considered rare, it is definitely not unheard of.

Here are 7 times the sequel was better than the original:

1. 'The Dark Knight'

This one is easily a no-brainer. Where ever Batman Begins fell short, The Dark Knight fixed it. It's easily one of the greatest sequels of all time, and arguably one of the greatest superhero movies ever, The Dark Knight truly earned its place on this list.

Whether it was Heath Ledger's terrific acting (above) or Christopher Nolan's phenomenal writing and direction, The Dark Knight is a beloved film that superhero movies to desperately try to live up to.

2. 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier'

Speaking of superhero films, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is considered by many to be the best movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise. The best part? It's a sequel.

The factor that really made The Winter Soldier better than The First Avenger was the anti-government thriller feel of it all. The First Avenger was rather predictable, but The Winter Soldier had one of those plots that you really could not predict. It was almost impossible to guess what would happen next.

3. 'Toy Story 3'

The Toy Story franchise returned after almost a decade with Toy Story 3, returning us to the beloved world of our favorite toys. Whether you were a kid or an adult, I'm sure you rushed to this movie just to see how phenomenal their return was.

This movie was not only a box office hit, but it was even nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, which is a very rare thing for an animated film. Toy Story 3 is probably one of Disney Pixar's best movies yet, and easily their best sequel yet.

4. 'The Wolverine'

The Wolverine was FOX's risky sequel to X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Making a sequel to that movie was a very risky move on FOX's part as Origins did not do well at all. Not only did Origins do poorly at the box office, but it also made many fans hate the entire franchise.

That being said, The Wolverine managed to bring back the Wolverine that everyone loved. Unlike the previous film, The Wolverine did not try to be some huge, explosive event. Instead, it just focused on the characters and made itself a much better film than the original attempt at a Wolverine solo movie.

5. 'Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back'

Believed to be the best movie in the franchise, The Empire Strikes Back managed to blow Star Wars fans away - which is shocking considering how spectacular the first film was. The Empire Strikes Back managed to bring back all of our favorite characters with even better effects and a very strong plot.

The driving point that made Empire so much better was the big twist at the end. It was not common for a movie to end with the bad guys winning, so when Empire pulled it off, it was huge. Even today, when filmmakers make sequels, they look to The Empire Strikes Back for inspiration.

6. 'Spider-Man 2'

Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has admitted that he considers Spider-Man 2 to be the best Marvel movie ever made. That is a pretty remarkable comment considering that he has personally produced countless Marvel movies of his own.

What makes Spider-Man 2 such a fantastic sequel, making it even better than Spider-Man, is that the story did not try to be a superhero film completely. Instead, the movie was about Peter Parker dealing with the changes in his life. This, and the movie also did something else that was rare in superhero flicks - it made the villain of the film out to be a good guy. These were two risky moves that really made Spider-Man 2 into one of the best movie sequels out there.

7. 'Lord of the Rings: Return of the King'

Though Return of the King was not the first movie sequel to win Best Picture at the Oscars (Godfather II has it beat), it was the first sequel to win Best Picture without any of the previous films in the franchise winning.

Return of the King perfectly concluded the Lord of the Rings trilogy, tying in everything from the previous films and making the Frodo/Sam relationship come to an emotional close. This film is undoubtedly the best in the franchise, as we can tell by its enormous Oscar win. In addition, it's the only movie of the series I will be okay watching multiple times in one day.

See? Not all sequels are that bad. As long as it follows the correct formula like Empire Strikes Back or Spider-Man 2, the sequel has potential to not only beat the previous film in the box office, but also to beat it in ratings - a feat that is very hard to accomplish.

While movies like Batman & Robin and Cars 2 fall way short of the mark, movies like The Dark Knight and Toy Story 3 really pull through and maintain our hope in the countless sequels Hollywood continues to spit out.


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