3 Hated Sequels That Are Clearly Better Than the Original

Categories: Film and TV

This will NOT be one of them.
Making a sequel isn't hard. Of the ten top grossing movies of 2012, six are sequels. Seven if you count the Spider-Man reboot as a one. That's what Hollywood does, find something that works and finger bang it with two digits wrapped in a coke-dusted $100 bill until the movie-going public takes the walk of shame away from the Googleplex.

Making a good sequel, though? That's a bit bigger of a stretch. Studios try to hide their more dismal attempts to catch the same lightning in a bottle by framing things in terms of franchises and trilogies, but the fact is that a lot of follow-ups are hated by fans of the original. In many cases this is rightfully done.

Sometimes, though, fans simply refuse to see the inherent genius of a sequel because of a blind admiration for the original. If there is anything that geeks hate worse than a disappointing follow-up it's a follow-up that makes their love of the initial flick look lame. Today we salute three of those films, and explain why the butt hurt is so misplaced.

Gremlins 2: The New Batch

Why People Hate It: People tend to get frothy over Gremlins 2 for the same reason they look down their noses derisively at later Nightmare on Elm Street films. Freddy Krueger went from a terrifying bogeyman to being a wise-cracking pun machine. This was somehow seen as less scary, even though it's basically Pennywise's entire schtick and he regularly gets put up there with the most frightening movie villains of all time.

Gremlins 2 gets equal snobbery. Much of the darkness of the first film is absent, and the gremlins themselves get very gimmicky. If there is anyone that was ever actually frightened by Gremlins 2 then they must have been on extreme hallucinogens to generate the necessary atmosphere. More pop culture, less launching helpless old people out of rocket chairs. I get it.

Why They're Wrong: Gremlins 2 is actually frightening as balls, just not in a conventional way. The whole premise of the second movie is rampart corporate expansionism gone hideously awry. Insanely rich and powerful men blatantly muck about with the laws of science free of any oversight or sense of responsibility until they are all overcome by the fruits of their own hubris.

Take the Brain Gremlin, whose urbane elocution sums up the hammy nature of the film perfectly. On one hand, yes, he's just a comedic joke character drawing contrast to the other gremlins by dressing smart and talking smarter. On the other hand, he represents the same "civil" side of evil as the men that mutated him into his current form. His genial manners don't make him any less bloodthirsty. After all, he happily murders a fellow gremlin merely to prove a side point in a political debate.

The ridiculousness of the approach is what helps sell it the best. Director Joe Dante is literally screaming at an audience to wake up as they pawn their freedoms away in the name of conspicuous consumption of entertainment and gadgets. Why else would he stop the film itself in the middle and have Hulk Hogan, both a living corporate icon as well as the era's embodiment of honor and integrity, tell the audience that gremlins now backed by the full sponsorship of corporate America are ruining the movie-going experience.

Oh, and it had a killer NES game adaptation, by the way.

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I thought I was the only one who loved and remembered Shock Treatment. "Night night, it's time for bye byes, it's been a great day thanks a heap. Now it's time for everyone to go to sleep..."

FattyFatBastard topcommenter

I'll vouch for Grease 2.  Adrian Zmed back at his best.  And the soundtrack is easily as memorable as the first, with "Hands of time" and "We'll be together" being 2 other standouts.  This is right up there with Xanadu as my guilty pleasure movies.


Trust me, it's worth watching a dozen times.

Stephanie Davis
Stephanie Davis

Yeah, but Grease 2 has "let's bowl". Rather catchy too.


Kudos, for nailing it on Gremlins 2. I've been saying that for 20 years. I can't rate the other 2, they're sequels of movies so bad I couldn't sit through them. I would add that Babe 2: Pig in the City is actually better than the first, though I'm not sure it rises to the level of "hated sequel".Was Halloween III hated? Seriously the best of the bunch.

Anyway enough yakking, Jef, theater one needs cleaning!

Lyndsey Stang
Lyndsey Stang

You forgot that Grease two is exactly the same at Grease 1 but worse songs. The only other difference is that the guy is the exchange student and not the girl. In both movies, someone is trying to fit in. Grease still wins.

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