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Thursday, May 23, 2024

The best and worst sequels

From horror to family, which sequels continued the originals’ legacies, flopped

When it comes to sequels, there is a general hatred for the second, and even worse, third movies. There are, however, still some sequels that lived up to the originals.

Horror Movies

Best: “The Conjuring 2” (2016)

When paranormal psychic Lorraine Warren, played by Vera Farmiga, meets single-mother Peggy Hodgson, played by Frances O’Connor, she is told that something evil is haunting her house and terrorizing her four children. Warren and her husband Ed, played by Patrick Wilson, decide to help the family, but they soon become the next target for the spirit.

While horror movie sequels are usually a bust, this one was generally pleasant. The most pleasant a horror movie can be anyway. When I watched “Conjuring 2,” I was with a friend who never reacted to anything on screen and it was baffling because I was jumping out of my seat throughout. This particular movie left me walking a little faster from the living room to my bedroom at night.

Worst: “The Nun” (2018)

After a young nun commits suicide, Sister Irena, played by Taissa Farmiga, is called to travel to Romania with Father Burke, played by Demian Bichir, a priest experienced in demonic possessions. They travel to Romania to investigate the death of the young woman only to discover a demon that resides within the Abbey. In order to save the Abbey from the demonic presence disguised as a nun, the two agree that they must stay to close the portal before the demonic nun decides to hurt anyone else.

“The Nun” had the potential to be a good movie, but it fell flat. This movie was built up for years. The nun was first mentioned in “The Conjuring,” but after watching it I felt underwhelmed. There’s a scene in the movie where the nun reaches out and chokes Sister Mary. She literally chokes her, with her bare hands, which is my ultimate pet peeve in a horror movie. The nun is a supernatural being, so for crying out loud have her use her demonic powers to lift the girl and choke her.


Best: “The First Purge” (2018)

“The First Purge” describes how the purge was created and taken as a trial. It took place in a fictional Staten Island, where for 12 hours, crime is legal.

“The Purge” was one of those movies where you have to stop and convince yourself that the plot could never happen. Not in a million years. “The First Purge” delivered this fear better than the original. It gave us the politics behind the purge. Through the first purge, the participants discover that the government was going into low-income neighborhoods and killing everyone in the complexes. When I was watching the movie, I thought to myself, “Would the government really kill off people in a purge just because they were poor?” Then I realized that the government lost track of 1,475 immigrant children and sexually abused immigrant children as they were being held in detention centers. Not to mention the ongoing mass incarceration of black males. So, who knows?

Worst: “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” (2007)

When Ben Gates’ late great-grandfather is accused of planning the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, Gates makes it his mission to disprove the evidence and save his family’s reputation.  

Having a secret map on the back of the Constitution in the first film was a stretch, but a plot based on new information that randomly resurfaces about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln is too much.


Best: “Ride Along 2” (2016)

A rookie cop, played by Kevin Hart, has his heart set on becoming a detective. Luckily, his brother-in-law James Payton, played by Ice Cube, is in need of a partner in order to follow a lead for a drug ring.

This is the exact type of movie that I’m looking for in a comedy; there isn’t anything too dramatic and there really isn’t anything bad about the movie, which is difficult for a comedy sequel. When it comes down to comedy sequels, it’s more often a miss than a hit, so going into “Ride Along 2” I was a little apprehensive. But it didn’t disappoint.

Worst: “Grown Ups 2” (2013)

Lenny Fedder (played by Adam Sandler) moves his family away from his glamorous life in Los Angeles and back to his small hometown expecting a quiet life. But he gains the exact opposite.

I liked the first “Grown Ups.” It wasn’t exactly the funniest movie, but it was bearable. It’s something to watch when nothing else is on. But the second one exceeded my expectations of a disaster. I didn’t think that the first movie could get any worse and yet, the second one came out to surprise me.

Family Movies

Best: “Monsters University” (2013)

When Mike Wazowski, voiced by Billy Crystal, gets accepted into his dream school, he is immediately an outcast. During the first semester of college Wazowski meets Scully, voiced by John Goodman, who is a natural scarer. The two form a rivalry that gets them kicked out of Monsters University’s scaring program and they have to compete with other fraternities on campus to fight for a chance to stay.

While Monsters University had a couple of plot holes, the movie was wildly entertaining. The ending and the character development made the movie worth watching. Scully is an overgrown monster jock that befriends Mike, the overachieving nerd, in order to further his career but ultimately ends up wanting to be best friends with him. We see Scully progress from viewing Mike as a nerd to a rival to a friend all while he changes himself for the better in the process. How much better can it get in a children’s movie?

Adding on an alternative ending where the character does not get exactly what they want in the way they want it, but they are still happy is such an important message. There need to be more films that emphasize to children the importance of reaching for happiness instead of reaching for an end goal.

Worst: “Despicable Me 2” (2013)

“Despicable Me 2” focuses on Gru, voiced by Steve Carell, who is a newfound father and wants to do good by his sweet girls. He joins an anti-villain league where he goes undercover to find a villain that committed an incredible heist. On his way he meets a spunky woman, who just in luck, ends up being Gru’s romantic interest.

I loved “Despicable Me.” It’s funny, it’s cute and it has those tear-jerking moments. But “Despicable Me 2” was sad. Not because the plot line was sad, but because the movie itself is a failure, and they should not have moved on to the third one. Unfortunately, they did and unbelievably, it was worse.

Teen Movie

Best: “The Princess Diaries 2” (2004)

I loved this movie, not only because the perfect Anne Hathaway is the star, but because they stick true to the original character: quirky, nerdy and hilariously clumsy.

While Mia, played by Hathaway, learns how to be a true royal, she faces a little bump in the road when the counsel reminds the queen that in order for Mia to become a queen she has to be married. However, Mia and Queen Clarice, played by Julie Andrews, take this obstacle head on and deal with it in their own way.

Worst: “Legally Blonde 2” (2003)

Afte Elle loses her job, she redirects her focus and sets off to Washington, D.C. to bring attention to animal rights. But with every legislator ignoring her and the typical mean girls, she quickly realizes that this is a different playing field than what she’s used to.

“Legally Blonde” was a great movie. It gave Elle, played by Reese Witherspoon, the position to be a powerful woman. It’s empowering to watch and every scene in the movie had something worth watching. But when it comes down to “Legally Blonde 2”, I had to force myself to watch it. The plot was lackluster and not deserving of my attention.

Written By: Itzelth Gamboa – arts@theaggie.org


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