The buzz surrounding upcoming superhero sequels is extremely positive so why not relive some of the other great superhero sequels?
After years of terrible comic book adaptations, fans got used to sequels which were just as disappointing as their predecessors, but somewhere along the line, that all changed! Now, the majority of third instalments even manage to escape the threequel curse.
As always, we’re sure that you all have your own favourites, so after checking out our ten suggestions below, be sure to let us know if we’ve missed any in the comment section. You can find our run down of the ten worst superhero sequels by clicking
10. Iron Man 3
Iron Man 2 was far from a bad sequel, but there’s no denying that it was a disappointment in many ways, especially after the impressive first instalment. A big part of that was the fact that it had to spend so much time setting up The Avengers, but with that movie out of the way, new director Shane Black was free to tell the story he wanted to.
Ultimately, some of his and writer Drew Pearce’s decisions would prove to be very controversial with a handful of vocal fans, but can you remember a better twist in recent years than the one with The Mandarin? Throw in some stellar action sequences – the falling Air Force One passengers and Tony Stark’s Iron Army being two of the highlights – and what you’re left with is one of Marvel’s best solo films to date.
9. Blade II
It’s easy to overlook a movie like Blade II, but before he successfully adapted Hellboy and made us all suffer through Pacific Rim, Guillermo del Toro actually crafted one of THE best superhero movie sequels.
Made just as superhero movies began to dominate cinemas (though not particularly successfully at first as viewers of the likes of Daredevil and the Fantastic Four will surely agree), this reasonably low budget release wasn’t exactly a huge hit with critics, but it did take everything that worked in the first movie and improved on it a great deal.
The sequel saw the Vampire Hunter teaming up with some of his blood sucking foes to stop a greater threat, and also featured memorable turns from Kris Kristofferson and The Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus.
8. Superman II
In 1978, Richard Donner made audiences believe that a man could fly. The pressure was on then for the director to surpass his previous effort in a movie which was in fact the first big screen superhero sequel! The problems surrounding the theatrical cut are well-known, so it’s obviously Donner’s version which is included here.
Christopher Reeve’s work in Superman II was magnificent, while the villainous trio he faced off against – General Zod (Terence Stamp), Ursa (Sarah Douglas) and Non (Jack O’Halloran) – made this a follow-up which really set the standard for what superhero sequels need to do in order to surpass their predecessors. It says it all that every version of Superman and Zod which have followed have been compared to the work done here!
7. Thor: The Dark World
Fans were extremely disappointed to learn that Kenneth Branagh wouldn’t return for the sequel to Thor, but Game of Thrones’ Alan Taylor showed that he was more than capable of taking the God of Thunder on his first post-Avengers adventure with Thor: The Dark World.
Giving Asgard a less glossy and far more realistic feel, the follow-up also further developed the relationship between the titular character and Loki, while also delivering a fantastic cliffhanger ending for the next Thor movie and setting up elements which will come into play in both Guardians of the Galaxy and the third Avengers movie.
Despite this, it never felt too crowded or busy, while an epic battle through the streets of London would see this movie prove itself as a superior to the first!
6. Batman Returns
Looking back (especially after Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy) some fans don’t really appreciate Tim Burton’s gothic take on the Caped Crusader. Despite the director’s arguably quite baffling decision to keep Batman off screen for almost the entire first hour of the sequel, he successfully and enjoyably introduced us to Danny DeVito as the repulsive Oswald Cobblepot/The Penguin, and Michelle Pfieffer’s vampish and deadly Catwoman.
It was a unique and interesting take on Batman’s universe, that’s for sure, and Batman Returns’ adult themes in what was essentially supposed to be a children’s movie certainly make it stands out. Taking Nolan’s work out of the equation, this remains one of the best big screen outings for the iconic DC superhero.
5. X-2: X-Men United
Bryan Singer’s vision for the X-Men didn’t make all fans happy, but there’s no denying that he helped show audiences that the superhero genre was one which could and should be taken seriously. Can he recapture that same magic with X-Men: Days of Future Past later this year? Time will tell. Regardless, X-2 kicked off with a breathtaking attack on The White House by the teleporting Nightcrawler and concluded with the death of Jean Grey and a hint that the next movie could tackle the Phoenix Saga.
It did, but sadly not in Singer’s hands (he was too busy with Superman Returns), but that doesn’t take anything away from this movie; one of the few sequels which both surpassed its predecessor and delivered in terms of action and story. What more could you ask for?
4. The Dark Knight Rises
Like Iron Man 3, The Dark Knight Rises managed to escape the threequel curse which resulted in movies like Spider-Man 3 and Blade: Trinity, leaving us with an incredibly satisfying conclusion to Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy. In fact, the director did something totally unheard of in both comic books and the movies based on them; he ended the hero’s journey.
For a second, it actually appeared as if he had killed Batman off, but it was later revealed that Bruce Wayne had found the happy ending he deserved and passed the mantle to someone else. The message? That the symbol of Batman is more than just the man beneath the mask. A controversial decision among some fans, but one which fitted perfectly into the “Nolanverse” the filmmaker created.
3. X-Men: First Class
While not strictly a sequel, this prequel still continued the themes of the original trilogy and expanded on their stories, so in that respect it is very much a follow-up of sorts. Despite a handful of confusing continuity errors, Matthew Vaughn’s take on Marvel’s mutants was the best X-Men movie yet, and the one which is perhaps most enjoyed by fans despite the fact that it didn’t feature the actual “First Class” (Cyclops, Jean Grey, Angel, The Beast, and Iceman).
Vaughn gave the team their classic yellow and blue costumes, while the relationship between Charles Xavier and Magento was explored perfectly…the latter even donned his classic helmet by the end credits! If nothing else, X-Men: First Class deserves a place on this list for Wolverine’s unforgettable cameo…
2. Spider-Man 2
Sam Raimi may have got it horribly wrong with Spider-Man 3, but the movie which preceded it is still one of the greatest superhero sequels of all time even a decade on. Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus was a tragic villain who made for an extremely formidable foe after the Green Goblin took Spidey to the limit in the first instalment of the franchise, while Raimi put his horror movie background to superb use with a terrifying sequence in which an unconscious Doc Ock’s tentacles came to life and took out the medical staff working on removing them.
Throw in that downright amazing train battle, an epic final confrontation and some brilliant character work (Harry Osborn unmasking Spider-Man was a great moment) and this is STILL the best Spider-Man movie.
1. The Dark Knight
If there was one superhero sequel which had to come out on top, then there’s no way it could ever be anything other than The Dark Knight. Christopher Nolan successfully rebooted the Batman franchise with Begins in 2005, but perfected it with its sequel three years later.
With a new Batsuit which finally allowed the Caped Crusader to turn his head, Nolan continued to redefine the character in a real-life setting. He also introduced two villains in the form of Two-Face and The Joker, the latter of whom would earn the late Heath Ledger an Academy Award for his downright amazing performance as the Clown Prince of Crime. .
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