Five dissed movie sequels that deserve reappraisal
Look, no matter one’s opinions on specific follow-ups, we can all agree that crafting a worthwhile sequel to a great original film, or films, is hard to do, especially for rampant fan bases with high expectations, but sometimes there are sequels so bad it lets audiences forgive what came before. As the tide of negativity recently began to subside recently upon Star Wars: The Last Jedi‘s third anniversary, ComingSoon.net is looking back at five sequels that are very deserving of reappraisal in comparison to what followed them.
Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones / Star Wars: The Last Jedi
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One is the frequently-maligned and dull middle installment in George Lucas’ Star Wars prequel trilogy and the other is the highly-divisive second installment in the sequel trilogy, written and directed by Knives Out mastermind Rian Johnson. What do they have in common? Well, though the latter has the advantage of being the catalyst for this list — and also my second favorite of the entire Star Wars franchise — they both were ranked on many fans’ lists as the worst installments in the sci-fi adventure series. That is, until, J.J. Abrams returned to close out the sequel trilogy and the entire Skywalker with the awkwardly-titled The Rise of Skywalker. Generally poorly reviewed by critics and splitting fans even more so than TLJ, the ninth mainline chapter proved to be the most underwhelming and disappointing that it’s actually made even the most spiteful of fans unroot their heels in their hatred of Johnson’s subversive tale and forgive the lackluster writing and cringe-worthy dialogue of AOTC in comparison to the unfocused trainwreck that was TROS.
While the Joss Whedon-penned Alien Resurrection may still sit as most fans’ least-favorite outing in the sci-fi horror franchise, Alien 3 is still the most divisive, particularly for its decision to kill off fan-favorite survivors Newt and Hicks and was even maligned by future Oscar nominee David Fincher, who made his directorial debut on the project but had his efforts frequently sidelined in favor of studio demands. While not directly involved in the Alien box set, Fincher would offer his blessing to the Assembly Cut reincorporating 30 minutes of footage not included in the theatrical cut that would also receive more favorable reviews from critics and audiences alike. Despite this, however, many still kept it low on their overall rankings, until Ridley Scott returned to the fold with his prequel efforts Prometheus and Alien: Covenant, whose more philosophical and muddy approach to taking their own paths while remaining true to what came before has made it easier to look back and forgive the mistakes Fox made in over-controlling the production.
Halloween III: Season of the Witch
While not the first ever film in the horror subgenre, John Carpenter’s Halloween established slashers as the new viable and hot formula for horror films and the masked villain of Michael Myers held a major place in audiences’ hearts after just two installments, so when he and franchise co-creator/producer Debra Hill decided to shake things up and go for their original plan of Halloween-centric anthology films, it didn’t quite resonate with critics or fans. However, as the years progressed and audiences were treated to the travesties that were Halloween: Resurrection and Rob Zombie’s remake and sequel — though admittedly I’m a fan of Zombie’s first — many have come back to Season of the Witch with fresh eyes and are finally starting to realize that, though it may not be a masterpiece, it has a lot of its own ground to stand on with its interesting story and shocking finale.
Jurassic Park III
Two words should come to mind when talking about Jurassic Park III and it used to be the literal make or break for people’s feelings on it: talking raptors. After taking years to get off the ground, the film finally arrived in 2001 to mixed reviews from critics and audiences, some praising its darker tone and return of Sam Neill’s Dr. Alan Grant while others criticized its retread of the first two films, but one of its most infamous moments came in the form of Grant having a nightmare while sleeping on a plane in which he comes face-to-face with raptor who happens to be saying his name. Intended to tap into the story’s exploration of the creatures’ ability to communicate with each other, it’s a moment that became unintentionally hilarious and has lived in infamy since, with many fans ranking it low in the franchise because of it and other reasons. However, as the years have gone on and fans have revisited the original trilogy, reception started to level out in comparison to — and even surpass — The Lost World, but it was the arrival of 2018’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom that really made it clear III was not the worst in the franchise as the Chris Pratt-fronted sequel was an overly-convoluted and outright dull mess of a film.
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
Just as with every other film on this list, the Terminator franchise is one full of lows, especially after easily one of the greatest sequels in cinematic history, Judgement Day, but since its 2003 release Rise of the Machines has frequently been critiqued by fans for its undoing of the emotional ending to Judgement Day and its fairly cartoonish tone and inability to replicate the humor of a robotic Arnold Schwarzenegger from said sequel. However, as time has gone on and producers have tried time and again to breathe new life into the franchise, from the conceptually-intriguing Salvation and Genisys to the incredibly bland rehash that was Dark Fate, it’s easier to look back at some of the interesting elements ROTM tried to offer, namely its apocalyptic ending, and overlook a lot of the bad. Not all of it — that boob inflation scene will live on as one of the worst things in the series — but most of it.
What are some movie sequels you feel should get a reappraisal in comparison to weaker follow-ups? Let us know in the comments below!