The Best Movie Critic + review

The Movie Advent: Our 11 Favorite Sequels

Greetings Movie Advocate regulars! Today we continue our special Christmas present to you, a series of 12 lists for the 12 days of Christmas. We continue today with lists of our 11 favorite sequels. Agree? Disagree? Either way we'd love to hear about it!

Ben's List
11. From Russia With Love

This movie is just too much fun. It’s the second movie in the Bond franchise, so it’s tighter than Dr. No when they didn’t quite have the feel of the character down yet, but not so formulaic as the Bond movies would be from Goldfinger on. The stretch of From Russia with Love that is set in Istanbul is my favorite section of any Bond movie.

10. Rambo

Unlike The Expendables, Rambo embodies everything I love about 80s action movies. It really feels like an extension of the John Rambo character. I kind of can’t even believe that Stallone directed both Rambo and The Expendables. Whereas The Expendables looks like it was cut by someone with cocaine jitters, Rambo has the tempo and vibe of 80s action. And Rambo shoots really, really big bullets at the end. That’s pretty cool, too.

9. Die Hard 2

I have a special place in my heart for Die Hard 2. It’s nothing compared to the untouchable original, but I saw Die Hard 2 for the first time with a group of my favorite people at a really dark time in our lives. Watching the surly action antics of John McClaine was exactly the right kind of soul medicine. It’s admittedly bloated. I don’t know if this movie is as fun for other people as it was for us, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s one of my favorite sequels.

8. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Temple of Doom took all the nuance and cool of Raiders and threw it right out the window. Bigger! Louder! Faster! Even though it’s Hollywood through and through, Temple of Doom feels like the biggest budget exploitation movie ever made.

7. Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2

This would rate higher if it wasn’t for the slightly too goofy portrayal of the Sawyer family and the totally redundant, unnecessary retread of the first movie’s dinner table scene. Dennis Hopper's Lefty is the stuff of legends, and the chainsaw battle between him and Leatherface was the unexpected perfect direction to take the franchise. Stretch is one of the best “Last Girls” there is, and she totally rules the last scene and especially the last shot of the movie. The scenes showcasing the blossoming “romance” between Stretch and Leatherface are responsible for some of the most disturbingly hilarious images to haunt my subconscious.

6. The Dark Knight

I still can’t believe this movie is as great as it is. I have a bit of an obsession with Batman comics, and this is the model film adaptation of that universe. So perfectly Batman, so quintessentially post-9/11. The action sequences are jaw dropping. This would have been Heath Ledger’s defining role even if he hadn’t died. You don’t need me to tell you how good The Dark Knight is.

5. Lady Vengeance

Truly underrated in Park Chan-Wook’s oeuvre, Lady Vengeance is absolutely essential for a full understanding of the Vengeance Trilogy. My general impression is that many appreciate Lady Vengeance well enough, but think that it doesn’t quite reach that level of greatness that Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and Oldboy did. I couldn’t disagree more. I love Mr. Vengeance and Oldboy, but for my money, Chan-Wook’s most profound statements about vengeance, pain, forgiveness, justice, family, and healing are made here.

4. The Empire Strikes Back

The Empire Strikes Back is one of the best sequels because, uh, it’s Empire Strikes Back, dude, come on!

3. Aliens

The best mosters. The best genre characters and actors. The cleverest script. James Cameron’s best movie, no contest. I am dying to see the new BluRay.

2. The Bride of Frankenstein

James Whale’s Frankenstein is a masterpiece, but everything that’s great there is even better here. The queer subtext is freaky and fabulous. While Doctor Frankenstein himself was always a bit self-loathing, Doctor Pretorious is loud and proud. Leaving aside the very, very gay first and third acts for a moment, the monster-centric second act proves what a great actor Karloff was, and features the best mis en scene of Whale’s career.

1. The Road Warrior

The Road Warrior is the crowning achievement of Aussiespoitation. Everything George Miller did right in Mad Max is pushed to extreme left field. The universe expands with unforgettable characters: the Gyrocopter pilot, Feral Kid, Lord Humungus, Wez. It’s freaky enough to scare away the squares, but with amazing, hyperbolic car chases and stunts to bring them back.

Justin's List
11. Superman II - Richard Donner Version

I greatly prefer the Richard Donner cut of Superman II. The original theatrical version by Richard Lester was too tongue-in-cheek for my taste.

10. Spider-Man 2

This is the Spider-Man movie for the remake to beat. The script balances internal drama with big action set pieces in a way not seen since the original comics run by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.

9. The Empire Strikes Back

You know it, you love it. It may come up higher on my list if I can ever get rid of the bad taste the prequels left in my mouth.

8. Death Wish 3

A fantastic movie in it's own right... not very faithful to the tone set by the first 2. Wildey's here. All hail.

7. Terminator 2

Again, a movie very different from its predecessor, but one that raised the stakes exponentially and was a ton of fun.

6. Aliens

Bigger and badder with dozens of times more aliens!

5. The Godfather Pt. 2

Less a sequel than an organic feeling continuation. It's great.

4. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2

As gonzo as the original, but in a different direction.

3. The Dark Knight

As hard as I thought it would be for Christopher Nolan to top Batman Begins, it will be at least 10 times as hard for The Dark Knight Rises to top this. Good luck!

2. Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan

Star Trek movies are not supposed to be this good. Shatner and co. never looked more comfortable in their roles.

1. Billy Jack

He's gonna kick that side of your face with this side of his foot. The sequel to the lesser Born Losers.

best, Cinema, drama, fantastic, favorite, legend, LIFE, Movie, and more:

The Movie Advent: Our 11 Favorite Sequels + review