Just because a movie is labeled a sequel or a prequel doesn’t necessarily mean it’s an inspired or fresh extension of the original. Decades-later installments often rehash the original film’s structure (often beat by beat). What we often get from Hollywood is a series of not-so-subtle remakes aimed at milking franchises for all they're worth. In other words, filmmakers restart franchises or brands, bringing in a mostly or entirely new cast, but write the follow-ups in a way that feels a little too much like the story you've seen before.
While it may sound harsh to call these sorts of sequels “lazy,” when a movie has virtually the same plot as its predecessor, it's not going to be as impactful as an entry, or original film, that takes more risks. These aren't disappointing movie sequels, per se, but their franchise’s overall continuity arguably just panders to the audience. Vote up the "sequels" that are basically just lazy remakes.
Following Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm, 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens was a spiritual reset for the franchise, or rather the Skywalker saga. In many ways, The Force Awakens draws from what made the original trilogy great: A ragtag group of unsuspecting heroes gets caught up in a battle between dark (First Order/Empire) and light (Resistance/Rebellion). That said, The Force Awakens has also drawn an overwhelming amount of comparisons to Star Wars: A New Hope.
Like Episode IV, Episode VII not only centers on a Force-sensitive “Chosen One”-esque protagonist from a sand-covered planet who finds a droid with a message/map, but also reintroduces the franchise’s core mythology. Han Solo occupies the same space that Obi-Wan did in the original film, even being slain on screen by the main baddie right before a climactic space battle. The Force Awakens worked for many as a Star Wars film, mostly because it used A New Hope’s narrative as its foundation.15541Stealth remake?
- Photo: Universal Pictures
When Steven Spielberg adapted Michael Crichton’s novel, Jurassic Park, it was a game-changer for summer blockbusters (in much the same way Jaws was in 1975). In addition to the CGI - which made viewers believe dinosaurs had returned (if only for a second) - the film offered up a thrill ride that was fun, scary, and smart. In fairness, you almost can’t blame Colin Trevorrow for relying on that award-winning formula to resurrect a franchise that had grown stale.
Like Jurassic Park, Jurassic World follows two young siblings as they visit the titular park. The main difference between the two films is that while the former was a work in progress (that they wisely decided to abandon), the latter is open to the public. Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard embody similar roles to Sam Neill and Laura Dern as the park’s safety (and that of the children) becomes compromised due to evolution AKA “life [finding] a way.” You’d think they’d have learned to stop playing God with T-rexes by now...11245Stealth remake?
- Photo: Warner Bros.
Christopher Reeve’s first outing as the Man of Steel in Richard Donner’s 1978 film modernized Superman, giving the character and mythology blockbuster status. Superman II did well, but Superman III and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace were massive disappointments. Nineteen years after the fourth film seemingly ended the franchise, Bryan Singer directed Superman Returns, with Brandon Routh in the cape and tights. The sequel existed in the same continuity as the original films; to say it wasn’t worth the wait is an understatement. By paying homage to Donner’s original - in tone and aesthetics (even the suit is the same) - Superman Returns did nothing to contemporize the character, retreading too many stylistic beats.
On top of the look and feel of the film, Returns didn’t present a Metropolis that cared all that much about Superman. Sure, they acknowledge his absence; however, considering everything he did in the first film, you’d think he’d have more fans? Clark Kent is brought back and occupies the status he did at the Daily Planet? Lois Lane doesn't know Clark is Superman... isn't this supposed to be a sequel? The plot and action both feel like attempts to remaster Donner's Superman, and Kevin Spacey’s Lex Luthor feels like a Gene Hackman impersonation (executing a much dumber plan). In fact, everyone from Routh to Kate Bosworth’s Lane feels like a lazy imitation of the performances from the flagship film.6022Stealth remake?
- Photo: MGM
Being a werewolf runs in the family for Michael J. Fox’s Scott Howard in 1985’s Teen Wolf - and for Jason Bateman’s Todd Howard in Teen Wolf Too. In the original, Scott takes advantage of his mutation to become the star of his high school basketball team and win the girl of his dreams. Like all coming-of-age stories, Scott comes to terms with who he actually is beyond his newfound popularity.
In Teen Wolf Too, the same thing happens. Todd uses his werewolf abilities to be good at sports and become popular, ultimately coming to find that those things aren't important. Unfortunately, Bateman had yet to hone his comedic timing and the writing is lackluster, resulting in a sequel that is juvenile, uninspired, and as calculated a remake as one can imagine.4110Stealth remake?