Sequels can be pretty hit or miss. There are some genuinely great ones out there, sequels that even surpass the original- here's a list of some of them. But there are a lot of sequels that just plain suck. They’re either a pale imitation of the original or they actively ruin everything that made the original great to begin with. Hollywood’s inability to let anything that might be cash cow die is the answer for why there’s so many bad sequels out there. Something can start out good, but if you keep milking it even after the story’s over and everyone’s run out of ideas, it becomes nothing but a lurching shell of its former self. Some of these sequels are so bad they’re considered one of the worst movies ever made period. So lets dive in and see what makes a bad sequel. Do you disagree that all these sequels are bad? Do you have any bad sequels to add to the list? Talk about it in the comments!
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull ( the Sequel to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade)
While the musical score and costume design were praiseworthy, it’s pretty much agreed by audiences that Crystal Skull was a pretty weak follow up to the Indiana Jones trilogy. It was a shameless retread of the first Indy movie and it relied way too much on CGI. Many felt it was “lifeless” and that it felt like actors were “going through the motions”. Possibly the most infamous moment is when Indy somehow escapes a nuclear blast by hiding in a fridge. It was so ridiculous it practically became a meme.Advertisement
Transformers Revenge of the Fallen (the Sequel to Transformers)
Micheal Bay movies are never really intellectual, but Revenge of the Fallen was so amazingly dumb that it turned off many people. This of course, didn’t stop it from making a huge amount of money and kept the franchise churning out worse and worse follow-ups. It was the highest grossing movie to win worst picture, proving that as much as we may scoff at Michael Bay, audiences still love his mindless explosions. It was a non-stop cacophony of robots fighting with some bonus racism. And the following movies just continued that trend- we’ll never be free of them. Never.
Batman and Robin (Sequel to Batman Forever)
Batman and Robin often comes in first when it comes to polls of the worst films ever. I honestly don’t hate it as much as everyone else does- is it ridiculously campy, completely illogical and honestly eye-rolling? Yes, but it’s not overly mean or ugly or gross or a million other worse things out there that make movies an eye-scalding experience. I think a lot of the movie’s backlash is down to nerd rage at the sacred Batman being poked fun at (and that’s as a Batman fan). Not to mention a lot of the conniptions thrown at the film focus on homoeroticism and the director being gay, completely unaware they sound like the second coming of Frederick Wertham.
But there’s no doubt it’s definitely a bad movie, and so reviled that it basically killed the Batman movie franchise until Christoper Nolan came and rescued it. It feels more like a toy commercial than a movie and the casting is horrifically bad. There’s no thread of logic running through the movie or particular regard for the source material- Batgirl is suddenly Alfred’s niece and is given a batsuit and told to jump off buildings despite apparently having no training whatsoever. There was too much reliance on horrible one liners and visual effects.
Schumacher later apologized to fans for the film. At least the poor reception stopped a sequel from being made- it was gonna feature Harley Quinn (the Joker’s girlfriend) as the Joker’s daughter. Which, ew.
Terminator: Rise of the Machines and Beyond (Sequel to Terminator 2: Judgement Day)
While Teminator 2 was a high point for movie sequels, the follow-up movies were a huge low point. They did it without James Cameron on board, which was probably a mistake. They also killed off Sarah Connor offscreen and had to explain why Arnold had visibily aged despite the fact robots weren’t supposed to. Only the last five minutes were kind of cool.
Alas, the sequels that followed just made it worse and worse. The whole time travel plot became more convoluted and unbelievable the more they stretched it, and the storyline and acting only became more- forgive me- robotic.
The Matrix Revolutions (Sequel to The Matrix Reloaded)
While the first Matrix movie was pretty exciting in all its cyberpunk innovation and slick action, the sequels just dragged on and on. Revolutions was by far the worst, featuring a nonsensical psuedo-intellectual ending. The most aggravating part has to be when Neo’s love interest Trinity dies almost as an afterthought, making the whole huge long sequence in the last movie where he risked the word to save her completely and utterly pointless.
It failed to utilize any of the characters in the series that had potential, instead stuffing in more and more characters until it became muddled mess. Also, the slow motion fight-scenes quickly became so overdone they were laughable.
Blair Witch 2: The Book of Shadows (Sequel to The Blair Witch Project)
The first Blair Witch movie is mainly memorable for its ingenious marketing campaign and innovative first use of the found footage style, which had many viewers convinced it was indeed about true events. A sequel was always going to be a bad idea, but they did it anyway. It was unable to remotely capture the suspense of the first movie and instead just made for muddled, confusing watch. It won a Golden Raspberry for worst sequel. Despite all this, the film still made a respectable amount of money.
Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 (Sequel to Baby Geniuses)
Baby Geniuses was pretty standard bad comedy to begin with- passable to some, totally unfunny to others. It completely didn’t need a sequel, but it sure got one anyway. And it resulted in a movie so chronically unfunny that audiences just wanted to scream for mercy. Just the plot alone tells you a bad idea. A leather-clad grade-schooler “superbaby” named Kahuna gathers a group of superintelligent toddlers to fight a man who plans to brainwash them with kid’s television or something.
It’s full of slang that was already a decade out of date when it came out and as one character puts it, “nothing makes sense”. The movie was a box office bomb, barely earning 9 million of its 20 million dollar budget back. It was also nominated for four Golden Raspberry Awards.
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (Sequel to Superman III)
This is another one that made the universal “worst movies ever made” list. Working with severe budget constraints and a truly terrible script, Superman IV was a critical and commercial flop, making the least money of any Superman film. It’s infamous for its incredibly cheap special effects. Superman didn’t even accomplish anything in it, other than beating up a villain he created by stupidly throwing a bunch of nuclear weapons into the sun (and the ultimate moral was “don’t try to get rid of nukes", I guess).
It also featured the return of the infamous roofie-kiss, only this time Superman literally had no reason to brainwash Lois with super-makeouts. He just reveals his secret identity, asks her for advice and then when he gets what he wants, brainwashes her. Our hero.
Highlander II: The Quickening (Sequel to Highlander)
Highlander II was described by Roger Ebert as “almost awesome in its badness”. It contained a blatant retcon, turning the Immortals from mystical warriors to aliens. Suddenly what had been fantasy became science fiction and it was very jarring. It was also completely incomprehensible, full of completely unrelated subplots and massive plot holes and a story structure that was difficult to follow.
It almost seemed to have a contempt for the original movie and is regarded as one of the low points for sci-fi in general. In fact, it was so bad that the director felt the need to redo it twice, drastically changing sequences to make it more cohesive. These redone versions were received slightly better than the original, but it was largely too little, too late.
Exorcist II: The Heretic (Sequel to the Exorcist)
The Exorcist is a horror classic, but its lesser-known sequel is so reviled that it was nominated as the second-worst film ever made by the Golden Turkey Awards. The director of the original called it “terrible”, “disgusting” and “one of the worst films I’ve ever seen” and declared that all the Exorcist sequels “weren’t worth a bucket of warm spit”. Tell us how you really feel, dude.
The director of the sequel, John Boorman, eventually disowned it. What was so wrong with it? Well, it’s incredibly dull and not at all scary, which is a big problem for a horror movie, there was ridiculous over-acting on Richard Burton’s part, an unintentionally hilarious locust-taming scene and tons of completely inexplicable events leading to an incoherent climax. Audiences literally threw things at the screen when they saw it. However, people like Martin Scorcese also love it, so there’s that.