Top 10 Movie Sequels that were better than the original

1. The Dark Knight

With The Dark Knight, director Christopher Nolan built upon Batman Begins by crafting an even grander morality stage for his Caped Crusader to navigate. Drenched in gravitas, and benefiting from Heath Ledger’s topsy-turvy (and Oscar-winning) take on the Joker, The Dark Knight proved that the superhero genre can and should be taken seriously. Of course, the Academy didn’t get that memo when it embarrassingly failed to nominated the blockbuster for Best Picture.

2. STAR WARS: EPISODE V — THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (1980)
”No, I am your father.” Enough said. 

3. BEFORE SUNSET (2004)
Set nine years after 1995’s Before Sunrise, Richard Linklater’s Before Sunset relishes the simple power of words. Like its predecessor, Sunset consists of a series of captivating conversations between two sharp individuals. Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) reunite for a single afternoon in Paris, and by the end of this movie’s 80-minute runtime, we feel as if we too have spent the day with them. The film received an Oscar nod for its screenplay, which was written by Linklater, Hawke, and Delpy.

4. DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978)
Of all of George A. Romero’s Dead movies (the director has helmed six, with the latest entry, Survival of the Dead, arriving in theaters on May 28), Dawn of the Dead is the crown jewel. Romero improved upon his groundbreaking Night of the Living Dead (1968) by letting his zombies invade the most obvious symbol of American consumerism gone awry — the shopping mall.

5. EVIL DEAD II (1987)
Sam Raimi’s slapstick horror comedy, now a beloved cult hit, can be summed up with one word: ”Groovy.”

6. FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE (1965)
As the second film in Sergio Leone’s ”Dollars Trilogy” of Italian spaghetti westerns, For a Few Dollars More served as the evolutionary stepping stone between A Fistful of Dollars (1964) and what’s arguably the director’s most accomplished work, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966). The sweeping cinematography, Ennio Morricone’s iconic score, and Clint Eastwood’s no-nonsense performance are the main attractions here.

7. KILL BILL: VOL. 2 (2004)
While Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003) delighted in the visceral pleasures of bloody-spurting fight scenes, Vol. 2 marked the welcome return of Quentin Tarantino’s famously droll dialogue. As fun as Vol. 1 is in parts, Vol. 2 is the more complete movie. It allows Uma Thurman to make use of both her athletic and emotive talents, and it sets aside time for such delicious detours as Bill’s (the late David Carradine) monologue on the mythology of Superman. Allow me to indulge in some clichéd dining metaphors by insisting that Vol. 2 is the substantive main course to Vol. 1’s fiery appetizer.

8. THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS (2002)
It was in the second chapter of The Lord of the Rings trilogy that director Peter Jackson managed to combine visual spectacle with a newfound dose of lyricism. Sure, we vividly recall the awesomeness that is the Battle of Helm’s Deep, but it’s the film’s quieter moments — Elrond advising Arwen on the foolishness of loving a man, or Gollum’s internal schizophrenic struggle — that truly flesh out this triumphant epic. The Two Towers confirmed that The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) was no fluke, and it hinted at the magnificent conclusion to come the following year. (This list is confined to only the second entry of each movie series, hence the absence of The Return of the King).

9. SPIDER-MAN 2 (2004)
Spider-Man 2 found Sam Raimi working in top form. The director, whose Spider-Man (2002) was a genial if uninspired origin story, somehow managed to blend Peter Parker’s emotional insecurities with a number of show-stopping set pieces. Add in that masterful shot of the subway passengers gently carrying an unmasked Spider-Man, plus the perfect use of Hal David and Burt Bacharach’s ”Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head,” and you’ve got yourself one mighty superhero movie.

10. STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN (1982)
Credited with saving the Star Trek film series and beginning the odd-number curse (the idea that, generally, odd-numbered Star Trek movies are bad while even-numbered ones are good), The Wrath of Khan ratcheted up the pacing and featured a savory villain in the form of Ricardo Montalban’s Khan. After 11 movies (and a 12th one on the way), Khan remains many Trekkies’ favorite.