Total Nerd

Franchises Where The Best Installment Came Way After The Original

List Rules
Vote up the film sequels that are better than the original.

Making movies is hard, but making sequels that are better than the first installment of a franchise is even harder. As a filmgoing public, we think of film as a director and actor's medium, but everyone, from the screenwriters to the producers to the best boys, has an unquantifiable impact on moviemaking. Unfortunately, when you go back to the well over and over again, it gets harder to create a story that doesn't become stale over time. 

However, from time to time, there are certain franchises that have been able to hit gold long after other series would've become hackneyed. We're talking about Fast Five reinventing a franchise that was struggling to stay afloat and spinning out into something that has become a worldwide phenomenon. We're talking about Casino Royale singlehandedly taking an intellectual property that felt decades past its prime and reinvigorating it into a series that felt vital again. We're talking about Mad Max: Fury Road reminding everyone that Max Rockatansky even existed in the first place.

Sometimes, great things come to those who wait.

  • 1
    1,632 VOTES

    Taika Waititi's 2017 action-comedy manages to bring a lot of laughs to Asgard while maintaining some brutal moments of personal tragedy for the God of Thunder. The series regulars are all having a lot of fun while newcomers Cate Blanchett, Jeff Goldblum, and Tessa Thompson are clearly are putting on their game faces.

    Sitting at an impressive 93% on Rotten TomatoesThor: Ragnarok embodies what the MCU does best: bright comic book fun mixed with a dash of action here and a bit of emotion there.

    • Actors: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum
    • Released: 2017
    • Directed by: Taika Waititi
  • 2
    1,566 VOTES

    For 17 years, Hugh Jackman was Wolverine. From 2000 to 2017, Jackman appeared as the character in nine X-Men films, and while the movies themselves were of varying quality, the Australian actor always brought the good stuff. It somehow took nearly 20 years for Jackman to get a film that equaled his brilliance as the character, but it was worth the wait for 2017's Logan.

    Buoyed by performances by Jackman and X-Men regular Patrick Stewart, Logan unshackled the character by allowing him to thrive in an R-rated environment. This incarnation of Wolverine is near the end of his life and the pain embodied in his brutal violence speaks volumes. If Logan really does feature Jackman's last performance in the X-Men universe, then it really is a truly memorable send-off.

    • Actors: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen, Richard E. Grant, Doris Morgado
    • Released: 2017
    • Directed by: James Mangold
  • 3
    1,202 VOTES

    By the time 2006 rolled around, it was clear that James Bond needed a revamp. The last couple of installments in the storied franchise failed to resonate with both audiences and critics. The course-correction provided by Casino Royale resulted the best film in the series.

    Casino Royale deftly walks on a fine tightrope, serving as the perfect jumping-on point for anyone who has never seen a James Bond film while simultaneously acting as an incredible modern-day action movie for 007 aficionados. Daniel Craig brings the otherworldly cool, Eva Green nails the femme fatale aesthetic, and Mads Mikkelsen proves to be the most memorable Bond villain in years. A 95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and almost $600 million at the box office can't be wrong.

    • Actors: Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen, Judi Dench, Caterina Murino
    • Released: 2006
    • Directed by: Martin Campbell
  • After the disappointing puff of smoke that was 2000's Mission: Impossible II, it's pretty incredible that Tom Cruise came back to the series at all. Even more astonishing than the series' continuation is the fact that Mission: Impossible movies have been pretty amazing ever since. Somehow, the sixth entry in the franchise, 2018's Mission: Impossible - Fallout, garnered the greatest critical response for the series a whopping 22 years after the original Mission: Impossible.

    For a series that usually resets everything outside of Tom Cruise himself (and Ving Rhames) for every installment, Mission: Impossible - Fallout brought back a lot of familiar faces and put together some sweet action sequences around an engaging story. Oh, and Henry Cavill has an absolute mountain of a mustache. 

    • Actors: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson
    • Released: 2018
    • Directed by: Christopher McQuarrie