25 best movie sequels ever
Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)
Guillermo del Toro is a genius director and Ron Perlman makes all other actors look like wannabes. Add to that combo a funny yet paranormal dark story with Nazis and giant monsters and it’s easy to see how Hellboy II: The Golden Army was so great.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
The third Harry Potter film marked the point when the franchise came of age. Director Alfonso Cuaron brought a darker, fairytale tone to the movie – and made the central characters dress and act like real teenagers instead of the wide-eyed Victorian schoolchildren they played in the earlier films. And Gary Oldman brings some thespian gravitas to his role as the titular Prisoner, Sirius Black.
The Dark Knight (2008)
Batman Begins was a solid superhero origin story – but Chris Nolan knocked it out of the park with The Dark Knight. His second Batman film was a sweeping crime saga in the style of Michael Mann's Heat – albeit one in which a billionaire in a bat suit does battle with the mob. But although Batman brings the regular criminals to their knees, he's powerless in the face of Heath Ledger's anarchic Joker, a force of nature who tears through the film in ragged purple motley, cracked make-up and septic green hair.
French Connection II (1975)
The French Connection pitted Gene Hackman's detective Popeye Doyle against drug runners from Marseilles – in the sequel, he tracks the pipeline to its source, teaming up with the French police to hunt down the suave smuggler Alain Charnier. French Connection II doesn't manage to match the heights of the original's car chase, but its stand-out sequence – Doyle's forced heroin addiction and subsequent cold turkey – is truly harrowing.
Bryan Singer's second mutant outing proves that handling a large number of major characters can be done, given the right amount of care. It also makes up for its lukewarm predecessor, turning up the thrills and delving deeper into Wolverine's past. Bigger, badder, better.