It’s very uncommon, but it does happen. A sequel actually turns out better than the original movie. Maybe it’s an improvement in the camera work, effects, story, etc. The original wowed us, but the sequel blew us out of the water.
The Dark Knight
The huge gap between The Dark Knight and Batman Begins hitting theatres might have helped with this one, but the performance by Heath Ledger certainly made this movie greater than the first.
The Lord of the Rings
It is extremely rare to find a trilogy where the movies top the previous ones, but Lord of the Rings did it. Pick any, and it’s better than the previous.
The Godfather 2
The original was an epic. The sequel was a masterpiece. The plot of the movie made it one step ahead of the predecessor.
X-Men 2: X-Men United
Before the Avengers, there was X-Men United. The opening scene of this movie alone made it superior to the prequel.
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
This one is hard to argue. For all the Star Wars fans out there, this was the greatest of the trilogy. It was a whole new step in filming and original story lines, and it defined what a space drama meant.
We’re not talking about The Amazing Spider-Man 2, we mean the good old fashioned Toby Maguire Spiderman. It was amazing, we can see the effort Sam Rami put into the second instalment, the compelling Doctor Octopus, and an amazing and dramatic cliffhanger between Peter Parker and Harry Osborn (even if the payoff wasn’t great).
This list wouldn’t be complete without Terminator 2. Like The Dark Knight, it seems like a good sequel is finding a great villain, and no villain could be better than the T-1000. The most ruthless, calculating and relentless villain on screen.