The 15 Best Movie Sequels of All Time

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Sequel. Some may rejoice at the word and others may cower in fear. More times than not, when a movie franchise attempts to extend it's life by adding a new installment, we get a lackluster sequel that was clearly designed as a money grab. There is the rare occasion however when the sequel gets it right. When the characters and story become more built out, that's when a sequel has done its job. Here are our picks for the 15 best movie sequels of all time.

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15. 22 Jump Street


  • Directed by: Phil Lord
  • Sequel to: 21 Jump Street

22 Jump Street is the perfect example of how a sequel can build upon the already existing franchise. In the first movie, Jenko (Channing Tatum) struggles as an undercover cop in high school while Schmidt (Jonah Hill) exceeded. In the sequel, the script is completely flipped which just adds to the excitement. Ice Cube also delivers some epic cameos throughout this movie solidifying it as a top tier sequel.

14. The Legend of Drunken Master


  • Directed by: Lau Kar-leung
  • Sequel to: Drunken Master

Are you ready for the greatest movie franchise you've never heard of? Drunken Master starring Jackie Chan follows a martial arts expert who can only perform his skills while blackout drunk. What ensues is a hilarious action packed martial arts movie. The second installment in the Drunken Master universe gives us a beautifully choreographed movie with the same high punching comedy as the original.

13. Ocean’s Twelve


  • Directed by: Steven Soderbergh
  • Sequel to: Ocean's Eleven

It should be no surprise that one of the Oceans movies made its way on this list, having one of the most stacked cast's we've ever seen in a movie. You have George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Andy Garcia, Don Cheadle, Bernie Mac, Julia Roberts, Casey Afleck, Carl Reiner, and many many more all involved in a high stakes robbery in three different countries. The original Ocean's Eleven in 1960 features the rat pack tandem of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr. so it's only right the remake would get a stacked cast as well.

12. Toy Story 3


  • Directed by: Lee Unkrich
  • Sequel to: Toy Story 2

After a decade of waiting Pixar finally delivered in 2010 with third installment of the Toy Story franchise, Toy Story 3. This movie crushed expectations and then some. We had the incredibly sinister heel turn from Lotso the bear as well as maybe the most terrifying Pixar scene imaginable. I still remember seeing this movie as an 11 year old kid and being mortified by the Toy Story gang almost being eviscerated at the end of the movie.

11. Dawn of the Dead


  • Directed by: George A. Romero 
  • Sequel to: Night of the Living Dead

I'm not sure if there is anything as camp as 70 horror movies and I am absolutely here for it. In 1968 George A. Romero gave us the chilling Night of the Living Dead which chronicles a zombie outbreak. Dawn of the Dead gives us the same premise, but in a mall. The result is 127 minutes filled with anxiety, fear, and non-stop zombie action.

10. The Bourne Ultimatum


  • Directed by: Paul Greengrass
  • Sequel to: The Bourne Supremacy

The Bourne franchise was so successful it had it's own trilogy, a spin-off with Jeremy Renner, and one of the most popular memes of 2016. The third installment to Matt Damon's feature as Jason Bourne give us his best performance yet. We follow Jason Bourne once again, but this time he finally uncovers his past. The action sequences are second to none in this movie and it has a top-tier plot which is why it find's itself squarely in the top 10 of our list.

9. Blade II


  • Directed by: Guillermo del Toro 
  • Sequel to: Blade

The Blade franchise gives us the legendary Wesley Snipes running around as a vampire bounty hunter absolutely tearing through everything in his path. Directed by Guillermo del Toro, Blade II builds on the original while giving the actual vampires more of a character-arc. You'll finish watching this movie and the only thought you'll have is "Wesley Snipes is the coolest person in human history."

8. Creed II


  • Directed by: Steven Caple Jr.
  • Sequel to: Creed

The Creed franchise may have given us a carbon-copy of the Rocky plot-lines, but they deliver with the same intensity and passion as the source material. Michael B. Jordan took the reins of the Rocky franchise and hasn't looked back, slotted to direct the newest installment set to hit theaters in 2023.

If you want to review a ranking of all of the many sprawling movies in the Rocky franchise, check this out.

7. Spider-Man 2


  • Directed by: Sam Raimi 
  • Sequel to: Spider-Man

If I'm being honest, I truly believe that the MCU Spider-Man movies have been more true to comics, but the Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies from the early 2000's are some of the best superhero movies to exist. The relationship the characters have to New York City while also involving a handful of villains and plot-lines makes for 127 minutes of pure superhero fun. Not to mention we get the legendary performance of Alfred Molina as Doc Ock.

6. Aliens


  • Directed by: James Cameron 
  • Sequel to: Alien

James Cameron gave us the blueprint of how to take an original movie and expand it into a sequel. When Ridley Scott's Alien hit the theaters in 1979, it was an instant hit. James Cameron was tasked with writing and directing the sequel and there is an old story that apparently he just added a $ to the end of the original title, getting Aliens. Cameron delivers and then some in this sequel, giving us a full-out war against the Aliens.

5. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back


  • Directed by: Irvin Kershner
  • Sequel to: Star Wars: A New Hope

I love George Lucas as much as the next person, but it's a little glaring that the best Star War's movie wasn't even directed by the franchises creator. The Empire Strikes Back is the sequel to the 1977 Star Wars that took the world by storm. Most notably, The Empire Strikes Back give us the incredibly iconic line from Darth Vader which may be the most quoted movie line of all-time.

4. Back to the Future Part II


  • Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
  • Sequel to: Back to the Future

Robert Zemeckis has super powers to make beautiful and hilarious movies that keep us entertained for decades. From Forest Gump to Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Zemeckis truly lets his mind wander free when making movies. His magnum opus is none other than the Back to the Future franchise. The second installment gives us the same great cast as the original, but in the future. What ensues is hoverboards, self-lacing Nikes, and a Cubs World Series prediction—which almost predicted the actual World Series.

3. The Dark Knight


  • Directed by: Christopher Nolan 
  • Sequel to: Batman Begins

"What doesn't kill me simply makes me... stranger." is one of many iconic lines that Heath Ledger delivers as the Joker in Christopher Nolan's Batman sequel. I'm not sure if there is anything I can say about The Dark Knight that hasn't already been said. I'm sorry to Robert Pattinson fan boys but... there will never be a batman like Christian Bale ever again.

2. Terminator 2: Judgment Day


  • Directed by: James Cameron 
  • Sequel to: The Terminator

Not only did James Cameron build on his already successful Terminator franchise with his second installment in the franchise, but he completely turned the heel on Arnold Schwarzenegger's character. In the original, the Terminator is a villain sent from the future to kill who will become the leader of a resistance army. The sequel gives us the Terminator again, but as our hero. What ensues is 137 minutes of John Connor and the Terminator exchanging wholesome moments while kicking ass the whole.

1. The Godfather Part II


  • Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola
  • Sequel to: The Godfather

The Godfather Part II gives us the greatest sequel in the greatest franchise the silver screen has ever seen. What's most incredible is how the script for this movie came to be. Mario Puzo was asked to adapt his book into a script, but had never written a script before. He took a modest stab at it, writing the Godfather part I and II, and would win two Oscars. Before writing the script for Part III, Puzo decided to buy a book about screenwriting to see if he could learn anything about the process. When he opened it up and read the first chapter he couldn't help but laugh because he the book told him "Study Godfather".

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