In the history of Hollywood, there has been one challenge that is the aspiration of every single filmmaker in the business. It is not creating an ideal film, while that may be an obvious goal, for movies are movies. They are either bad or good, plainly stated, am I right? For those fortunate good ones, who go on to accumulate great box-office receipts, the filmmaker can go down one of two paths: enjoy the wealth and begin a different project, or make a sequel. The latter choice seems to have become the path most traveled by in recent years, which have given us delightful continuations of beloved animated features, such as Shrek 2 and Toy Story 3. Then, there are those live-action sequels, which, unfortunately, are usually not so great. In fact, they have been known to be quite horrendous, disappointing the thousands of followers who were expecting much more after the watching the first film. This list could be endless, but for the purpose of this post, I will be analyzing two sequels that were released in 2011 that I have watched recently. One is an example of a bad sequel and the other is an example of a good sequel. The Hangover Part II and Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows, respectively. Note that this is completely subjective for the most part.
To that, I say that this is a Guy Ritchie film, after all, and that his trademark rapid-movement sequences are not at all stale. Watching this film is just as if I'm watching a film unattached by any previous blockbuster-hit, which shows just how great it is. Disregard the critics, as this is far from disappointing, especially compared to the usual sequels that are produced.
The art of creating a watchable sequel is, indeed, a strenuous task. It requires the ability to start afresh and not rely on one's initial success to reuse, since it was so good the first time around. Also, before actually making a sequel, one must decide whether the story lines were already squeezed dry, for if they were it is painful to watch a sequel where certain characters are demoted to corny, unnecessary additions and jokes have been extended to a point where they are no longer jokes, but sad moments in the movie. That moment when you realize that a movie you once loved has past its expiration date, and it's time to walk out of the theater. Or turn off the television. Of course, sequels of varied genres are different, as well. For instance, to make a sequel for a superhero/epic/fantasy movie is simple, just include a new villain or continue from where you obviously left off. For a comedy, however, the writers must maintain that hilarious element, or people will just make a mockery of it. Just ponder over that next time you finish watching a movie you believed to be absolutely fantastic. While you may be thinking that a sequel would really make your day, remember that it's difficult to meet the expectations of viewers. Because we really are a bunch of bastards. Have a magical evening.
Here are some more bad sequels:
American Pie 2
Rush Hour 2
The Mummy Returns
Mission: Impossible 2
Legally Blonde 2: Red, White, & Blonde
Batman & Robin
Scary Movie 2
Son of the Mask
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Pink Panther 2
Iron Man 2
And some good sequels:
The Godfather Part II
Toy Story 3
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Sex and the City 2 (in the worst way)
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol
X-Men: First Class (actually a prequel, but it was great)