Making a sequel is like being a professional gambler. You've got a specific set of odds and statistics that dictate whether it's a good idea or not, people supporting you on either side, and right down the middle of it all is a lonely path that you, the hypothetical creator, must walk. Sometimes, that walk is one of shame, causing a franchise to wither and die after its successful origins. But in the case of the following list of films, the bet paid off, and all were rewarded with a film that was so good, it made that older, well-respected film look inferior in comparison.
Here are 14 movies that we think are better than their predecessor. Agree? Disagree? Hit the comments with your thoughts.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
While Star Trek: The Motion Picture's merits as a film are still, to this day hotly debated, the fandom just as equally defends Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan as one of the series' incontrovertable high-water marks. Resurrecting Ricardo Montalban's legendary baddy, Khan Noonian Singh and Captain James T. Kirk face off in a showdown of bioethics, military strength, and ultimate sacrifice. What was once kitschy and lighthearted became gravely serious, and that transformation became a legendary success.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
What happens when you take a classic superhero, bring him into the modern world of espionage, and crossbreed the results with a 70's political thriller? You get a film that rocks the comic movie world to its core like Captain America: The Winter Solider did upon its release. On top of drawing more nuance into the character of Chris Evans' Steve Rogers, the game changing HYDRA twist that rewrote the Marvel Cinematic Universe provided a blank check for the Russo Brothers to become the men who would determine the MCU's fate to this very day. And above all else, it's a really slick follow-up to the perfect throwback origin story.
The Dark Knight
Escalation is the word that sums up why The Dark Knight is the better film when compared to the also outstanding Batman Begins. While Christopher Nolan's initial foray into the world of Batman was truly a work of art, bringing the character and his world back from the edge of camp, it was the second film that really showed what Nolan could do with the material. The Dark Knight is morality play, a romantic tragedy, and an action masterpiece all rolled into one. And Christian Bale and Heath Ledger's performances as Batman and The Joker anchor the most grounded, yet most spectacular, DC story ever committed to film.