It is debatable whether film making is a work of art, culture or passion, but there is no doubt that often greed is the only motive behind making films. How else can you explain the terrible sequels that were made of great movies? The director and the producer, who made the great film, must be aware that the sequel would be just a shadow of the original film, or even worse.
Some even call it ‘prequel’ if the storyline is about events that happened earlier. This is just a subterfuge to say that they have made the next film which doesn’t match the greatness of the earlier film. Even if the story depicts event that happened earlier in the story, they have not made the so-called prequel ahead of the original film. So, all such prequels are actually sequels.
It is really shocking to find some sequels so badly made that they actually insult the greatness of the original film. Here is a list of such sequels. Some avoid being labelled as sequels, by calling it a ‘prequels’. Call it what you may, but you will definitely agree that some of these are the worst film ever made. The rankings may vary, depending on individual preference. Read on further to know more about 13 such sequels with their year of release mentioned next to their names.
#13. Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997)
The original Speed was a taut suspenseful film with a bus full of passengers that need to be driven at high speed and if its speed falls below 50 mph, it will explode. Keanu Reeves was great as the young police officer and the lone villain Dennis Hopper was menacing and evil. In comparison Speed 2 looked idiotic. It was strange and unacceptable to find Sandra Bullock in the same situation twice. It was good that Keanu Reeves refused this film. You cannot have the same basic plot and just change the storyline from a bus to a cruise liner. The climax where the cruise liner crashes in the island of St. Martin was the only interesting part, which is said to be one of the most expensive climax scenes. The film won the Golden Raspberry Award for the Worst Sequel made.
#12. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999), Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002), Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005)
The first three Star Wars movies were the best. Whether you call them ‘prequels’ or by any other name, the fact is that they were the first three films which were made, released and seen by people. These were Star Wars, released in 1977; The Empire Strikes Back, released in 1980 and The Return of the Jedi, released in 1983. The later films like Episode I and others had a weak storyline or rather just an excuse for a story. No wonder these were dubbed “prequels”. The un-imaginative bizarre creatures like Jar Jar Binks and ridiculous imagery and concepts were just ridiculous.
It was a disappointment of epic proportions foe the millions of Star Wars fans who still swear by Luke Skywalker, Hans Solo, Chewbecca, R2D2, C3PO and others. May the Force be with you, had been such a cool greeting. Yet the producers chose to fritter away the goodwill and break the dreams of the fans.
#11. Ocean’s Twelve (2004),Ocean’s Thirteen (2007)
Ocean’s Eleven released in 2001 was a great movie. It was a re-make of 1960’s Ocean’s 11. The film was about a group of conmen, led by their leader Danny Ocean. The film showed how they plan their heist of robbing casinos in Las Vegas. It had quite an imaginative, suspenseful, engaging storyline. The producer thought it was time to cash in on the appeal of the movie and its ensemble of high=power multi-star cast. Both the sequels, did not match up the original. Although, both the films had more or less, the same set of characters. Too many forced intricacies, coincidences, and complexities were thrown in. There is a meaningless cameo entry of Bruce Willis s himself, and Julia Roberts plays the character as well as herself. Perhaps it was done to keep the viewers engaged, but it backfired badly. They tried to look bigger, better and smarter, but there was no substance to it.
#10. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)
The first, or the original, Transformer movie was great. Kids all over the world loved it, and even adults too. The sequels are just damp squibs. You can’t have the same sets of robot toys again and again and expect the public to get entertained. There are illogical incredible sequences, too many to count. To continue watching is sure to increase your blood pressure and stress. At one point, you will start hating this nonsense.
#9. X Men: The Last Stand (2006)
It was the second sequel to the 2000 movie X-Men. There are several storylines built in to this one. Lots of deaths of characters, that makes no sense. The whole story revolves around the cure that has been found for curing the mutant genes. There are two groups of mutants. One who want to get cured and the other who want to remain a mutant. Frankly speaking, this movie is so incomprehensible that it can be understood only by a die-hard X-men fan. Others will find it boring and gibberish. Even among the fans, opinions are divided, just like the X-men in the movie.
#8. ‘Highlander II: The Quickening’ (1991), Highlander III (1994)
The original first Highlander movie released in 1986 was a great film. People enjoyed the newness of the story, action scenes, new concepts etc. It came with the tagline, there can be only one. It was a story about a Scotsman who was one of the last immortals and had to fight a monstrous Kurgan. It had Sean Connery and soundtrack by Queen. Highlander II: The Quickening, spoiled everything. The later sequels were worse. Makes you wonder why on earth people make sequels.
#7. Robocop 3 (1993)
It is a disappointing sequel to the original Robocop. Instead of Peter Weller we have Robert John Burke as the Robocop. Robocop fights some city developers who want to evict the residents of their land to build a new city. Robocop flies and shoots but does not kill the bad guys in this film. The original Robocop wowed public with the sad story of a cop who was fatally injured by a gang of evil men and was later turned into a cyborg, all machine except just a human brain. On the contrary, there is nothing exceptional in the sequel. Every action seem predictable.
#6. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006), At World’s End (2007)
The first and the original Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) was the first film in this Disney series. It had a brilliant Johnny Depp who endeared himself as the Captain Jack Sparrow, to the millions of cine-goers. The sail ships of the pirates and the British fired people’s imagination. Then there were exotic islands and locales. A simple plot and narrative, and you just enjoyed it unwinding fabulously before your eyes. With the Dead Man’s Chest, they tried to turn intellectual by creating new stories and new characters. They introduced Characters like Davy Jones, Bootsrap Bill, Tia Dalma, Lord Beckett and many more. Rather than the smooth flowing story line of the first movie, one was forced to concentrate on these, making you wonder, where the entertainment in it is.
#5. Jaws: The Revenge (1987)
The first jaws movie came in 1975. It created waves due to its excellent cinematography, sequences and special effects. It has its novelty factor. People watched it stuck to the edge of their seats in anticipation of the next shark attack. Each of the sequels like Jaws 2 in 1978, Jaws 3D in 1983 were getting worse to the extent that these sequels become totally unbearable. In Jaws 3: The Revenge, it seems totally incredible that the great white sharks out in the seas have the intelligence to take revenge from the Brody family. It is a too far-fetched theme that sounds plain unconvincing.
#4. Son of the Mask (2005)
The original film, The Mask was released in 1994, was a nice clean-cut story of a simpleton who finds the magical mask. It had the best from the versatile actor Jim Carrey, who had regaled viewers with his antics in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and Dumb and Dumber. The sequel Son of the Mask is a convoluted story best understood by its makers. It is claimed to be a stand-alone sequel. It is directed by Lawrence Guterman and stars Jamie Kennedy as Tim Avery, who is a cartoonist in Fringe City. He had a child born with the powers of Loki, who owns the Mask. It has lots of forced twists and turns to supposedly make it an engaging film.
#3. The Matrix Reloaded (2003)/ Matrix Revolutions (2003)
The first Matrix film was released in 1999. It was huge success due to its novelty. It was full of new special effects that became a trend for other films in that era. This sci-fi story was about humans being enslaved by machines who keep them in a state of virtual reality. Despite several illogical and unscientific aspects the Matrix was liked because of its slick action sequences and a new kind of concept and story. The two later sequels were shot simultaneously and released the same year with a gap of a few months. Both sequels are just an effort to make money out of the success of the original. Except a few well-shot action scenes, there is nothing to keep the spectators happily glued to their seats. It was a sheer waste of time and frustrating experience. The film makers seem to teach the viewers what a brilliant concept they had. Unfortunately, it was just a figment of their imagination, virtually, as in their movie!
#2. Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987) and Superman Returns (2006)
&&& This film was the fourth and final in which Christopher Reeves played Superman. He had earlier started with Superman in 1978, then Superman II in 1980 and the third, Superman II in 1983. All these movies were received well by the public and the box office. But Superman IV was like a forced creation, with no credible script. In fact the plot was absurdly simple wherein Superman is concerned about the nuclear arms race between the two super powers, US and the erstwhile, undivided USSR. He prevents a nuclear war single-handedly. It had his arch-enemy Lex Luthor creating a Nuclear Man who has similar powers and fights Superman. This movie lacked everything that the previous Superman movies were known for. Superman Returns in 2016 with Brandon Routh as the Superman faced the same fate.
#1. Batman & Robin (1997)
Batman & Robin is not just a bad sequel, but it is also considered one of the worst movies ever made. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who plays the main villain Mr. Freeze, must have regretted doing this film. Although in the film credits his name appears above George Clooney, who plays the hero Batman. This was the fourth movie of the film series and the second directed by Joel Schumacher. The earlier ones were Batman, Batman Returns and Batman Forever. Released in 1997, it starred George Clooney as Batman, Chris O’Donnell returning as Robin and introduced Batgirl (Alicia Silverstone), a niece of Bruce Wayne’s butler Alfred Pennyworth (Michael Gough). Among the villains, besides Mr. Freeze, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, it had Poison Ivy, played by Uma Thurman, as well as Bane, played by Jeep Swenson.
This film was criticized for the strange costumes, the story, the cast, dialogues, and every other feature of the film. The storyline was full of holes and logical errors. They were behaving so uncharacteristically of what a Batman fan has known for years. Even in the name of creativity such bizarre things were indigestible. George Clooney later admitted his mistake in accepting the role. The director Joel Schumacher apologised to batman fans for making such a terrible movie. Many generations have grown up reading Batman, and it the movie hurt their sentiments. It made Warner Bros. give up the idea of making more sequels. Batman series was then revived eight years later, with ‘Batman Begins’ in 2005.
There have always been sequels and going by the trend, there will always be sequels. It is so hard for the makers of a highly successful film to resist their temptations. In their greed, they destroy the goodwill that the original film had generated. By no means are these the only movies with bad sequels. There are many more such movies not mentioned in this list that were poor cousins to their original counterparts. There have been films like Godfather III, Jurassic Park III, Rocky V, The exorcist II, The Spiderman 3 etc. The best defence for an avid cinema buff would be to avoid any undue enthusiasm and see the movie thinking it will be as good if not better, than the original. Under the circumstances, the best suggestion would be to wait for the reviews. It is better to be forewarned than being shocked miserably.