The Godfather to The Dark Knight: The 7 best movie sequels ever made | Hollywood - Hindustan Times
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The Godfather to The Dark Knight: The 7 best movie sequels ever made

Jun 18, 2024 06:10 AM IST

Some sequels live up to expectations, some transcend them. Take a look at some of the best sequels ever made.

Movie sequels can be tricky. Audiences have already seen the original, and they bring a lot of pre-conceived expectations with the sequel. Either the sequel must prove to be a worthy successor, or stand alone on its own. Either way, there's always room for disappointment, as many fail to balance between an additional title and the need to take the franchise further without a clear aim. Here are some of the best movie sequels that not only matched the expectations of the original story but also took it a few notches higher. (Also read: When Jack Nicholson revealed the reason he turned down Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather)

Al Pacino in a still from The Godfather II and Heath Ledger in a still from The Dark Knight.
Al Pacino in a still from The Godfather II and Heath Ledger in a still from The Dark Knight.

The Godfather 2

Original movie: The Godfather

Director: Francis Ford Coppola

What worked: The sequel to Francis Ford Coppola's magnum opus The Godfather took on the reins of the Corleone family to a darker, grittier and more tragic turn. Divided into two parts, the film followed the story of a young Vito Corleone (played by Robert De Niro that would earn him an Oscar) and the simultaneous rise to power of Michael (Al Pacino) as the head of the family. The intersection of these two stories- and of the thirst for power, that make this sequel one of the finest ever made.

The Dark Knight

Original movie: Batman Begins

Directed by: Christopher Nolan

Heath Ledger brought a vitality to his turn as the Joker that elevated this Christopher Nolan directorial to greater heights. The Dark Knight works so much more because it takes the central push and pull between Batman and the Joker and makes it darker, and grittier. In a Gotham City devoid of kindness and order, how can peace be restored? The evils are not necessarily the one with the painted face, and The Dark Knight understands that.

Toy Story 3

Original movie: Toy Story

Directed by: Lee Unkrich

The sharp emotional honesty is what makes Toy Story 3 stand out from the rest of the additions to its franchise. The premise is more or less the same, with Andy's choices around his childhood toys, including Woody, not really a lot in terms of how long he can do. Toy Story 3 is more about the passage of time, the celebration of memories and the catharsis in letting go of the past.

Mad Max: Fury Road

Original movie: Mad Max: The Wasteland

Directed by: George Miller

Mad Max: Fury Road arrived more than two decades after the third film in the franchise, and what a scintillating update that was. I still remember being blown away at the theatre when I first watched it- with the sheer scale of ambition, the standout perspective shown through the figure of its badass heroine Furiosa (Charlize Theron), and the no-holds-barred approach to action. It reinvents the action spectacle but never loses sight of what is lost in the chase.

Before Sunset

Original movie: Before Sunrise

Directed by: Richard Linklater

How does one approach to create a sequel to one of the most romantic couples on screen? Before Sunset is your answer, as it took the beloved characters of Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Céline (Julie Delpy) as they reunite nine years later after that fateful day, in Paris. Bristling with razor-sharp dialogues and fine-tuned performances from its two leads, Before Sunset feels older and more wiser. Even the conclusion is so remarkably ambiguous that it keeps us wanting for more.

Paddington 2

Original movie: Paddington

Directed by: Paul King

Paddington 2 shines even brighter than its original, because it not only respects the main characters but also serves an important entry point to new additions. Its core thematic standpoint: of leading with kindness, is universal and memorable in the way it is read by Aunt Lucy. “If we're kind and polite, the world will be right.”

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Original movie: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Directed by: Alfonso Cuarón

The stakes could not be higher for filmmaker Cuarón when he arrived to direct the Harry Potter, but boy did he deliver. I don't think any other installment in the Harry Potter franchise could reach the heights that Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban could aim for and reach. The narrative abandon, the ferocity in the world-building, and the dynamic visual elements of the film are still unbeatable.

Special mentions: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Creed, Blade Runner 2049, Star Wars: Episode VIII -The Last Jedi

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