When it comes to sequels, improving on the original is often a delicate balancing act, as the filmmakers have to give fans more of what they liked in the first place, but also introduce just enough of something new to distinguish themselves. With Ouija: Origin of Evil currently available on Virgin Movies – a rare example of the sequel improving on the original , we've rounded up seven great sequels that were indisputably better than their originals.
1. Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)
2014's Ouija was a generic supernatural teen flick that was enjoyable enough in a shocks and scares sort of way, but otherwise unremarkable. It would have been easy for writer-director Mike Flanagan (Occulus) to just repeat the trick with a new group of teenagers for the sequel, but instead, he hit upon the inspired idea of turning it into a 1960s-set prequel, focusing on a fake medium single mother (Elizabeth Reaser) and her two young daughters (Annalise Basso and Lulu Wilson). As stylish as it is spooky, this surpasses the original film on every level, serving up genuine chills and strong emotion.
Find Ouija; Origin of Evil in On Demand > Movies > Virgin Movies
2. Batman Returns (1992)
After his 1989 Batman movie became a global smash hit, director Tim Burton was emboldened to imbue the sequel with much more of his own personal style. To that end, the tone of Batman Returns is much closer to the Gothic weirdness of Burton's previous film, Edward Scissorhands, than it is to the Jack Nicholson-dominated first movie. As well as the delightfully dark look of the film, Burton also gave us the purrr-fect screen Catwoman, with a leather-clad Michelle Pfeiffer on career best form as slinky seductress Selina Kyle.
Batman Returns is available now on Sky Cinema
3. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
To be fair, Star Trek II could have been a disaster and it would still have been a vast improvement over 1979's spectacularly boring Star Trek: The Motion Picture (even the title is dull). Fortunately, director Nicholas Meyer learned the lessons of the first film and took the sequel back to the elements that made the TV show such a success, with particular emphasis on the relationship between Kirk and Spock. However, the masterstroke was having Ricardo Montalban reprise his role as space dictator Khan (“KHAAAAAAN!”) from the TV series, becoming one of the all-time great Star Trek baddies in the process. KHAAAAAAN!
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is available now on Sky Cinema
4. Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)
Having turned out a surprise hit with 1979's Mad Max, director George Miller was handed a significantly larger budget for his 1981 sequel, which he promptly blew on high-octane action sequences, massive explosions and stunning set-pieces as well as a now more expensive Mel Gibson. There's not much more to Mad Max: The Road Warrior than a thrilling, ultra-violent, smash-'em-up chase through post-apocalyptic Australia, but as with 2015's Mad Max: Fury Road, the lack of plot scarcely matters when the action's this good.
5. Evil Dead 2 (1987)
Sam Raimi's sequel to his 1981 horror hit The Evil Dead cheats a bit by being much more of a comedy than its predecessor, to the point where it's practically a parody of the original film. What's impressive is how completely Raimi commits to making both elements work, bombarding the audience with a barrage of laughs and scares, so that you're never sure which is coming next. The film also turned Bruce Campbell into a cult figure as idiot-turned-action-hero Ash, complete with his groovy chainsaw hand.
Find Evil Dead 2 in On Demand > Movies > Virgin Movies
6. X-Men 2 (2003)
Having taken care of the majority of character introductions in the first X-Men movie, director Bryan Singer was able to really cut loose with the sequel, delivering a much stronger, tightly-focused story that still stands as one of the all-time great superhero movies. Despite a sprawling cast of characters, Singer pulls off an impressive plate-spinning act, with stunning set-pieces that far out-strip the action scenes from the first film, from the opening attack on the school to the spectacular Nightcrawler-in-the-White-House sequence.
Find X-Men 2 in On Demand > Movies > Virgin Movies
7. Addams Family Values (1993)
Having established the characters in the first Addams Family movie, director Barry Sonnenfeld pulled out all the stops for the sequel, delivering an inspired follow-up that was both funnier and more subversive. Amongst multiple comic highlights, the stand-outs include Wednesday and Pugsley (Christina Ricci and Jimmy Workman) causing chaos when they're packed off to summer camp and a never-better Joan Cusack as gold-digging, rich-husband-murdering nanny Debbie Jelinsky, who sets about seducing an infatuated Uncle Fester (Christopher Lloyd).
Addams Family Values is available now on Sky Cinema