We live in the age of franchises and returning movies and spin-offs and prequels. So much so that roughly one in every twenty movies released in a standard Hollywood year is linked to a prior success. Well, we acknowledge that it is not at all easy to repeat the same formula with more success in terms of storytelling. But despite the challenge there have been few filmmakers who have achieved the rare feat where sequels were better or at least at par with the original, establishing a legacy in the process for future films to live up to. These films were received by the audience with an equal amount of love and proved to be major successes at the ticket windows as well, nostalgia being only part of the reason why these films continue to run well into the 21st century and the audience too, turning up time and again to catch even the most minute connections to their favourite film.
While some filmmakers or film lovers may claim that the dearth of quality movies today can be attributed to the ‘franchise’ phenomenon, this article doesn’t intend to do that. Instead, we celebrate the art of continued or revived legacies and storytelling, gathering a list of the sequels that lived up to the premise of the original. Without further ado, here goes the list of the best movie sequels/installments ever. You can watch several of these best movie sequels on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.
20. Batman Returns (1992)
‘Batman Returns’ is Tim Burton’s second outing with the caped crusader following ‘Batman’ released in 1989, with Michael Keaton donning the cape and cowl one last time before being replaced by Val Kilmer in the next film. The film has some great production design at display, and Burton’s signature style of storytelling. It is, for the most part, a visual treat and a fun film to watch, before the franchise completely derailed into the unintentionally funny category with ‘Forever’.
There are, however, two things for which I am most grateful to this movie: Michelle Pfeiffer as the femme fatale Catwoman, and Danny DeVito as The Penguin, giving us two of the most deliciously twisted portrayals of characters from the Bat’s rogue gallery. ‘Returns’ felt like a more complete film, and close to a complete realisation of Burton’s vision of Gotham. Despite Nicholson’s terrific turn as the Joker in the previous installment, I was completely sold on the way this film tried to establish a universe of sorts.
19. X2: X-Men United (2003)