Sequels That Exceed Their Predecessors

catching fire

We saw Catching Fire last night, and let me say, it’s always a treat when, in those rare moments in time, you land on a cinematic sequel that’s better than its predecessor. Catching Fire is one such movie. Where Gary Ross’s adaptation was passable, I think we can all agree that it was a bit rushed at times (and dragged at some parts) and never really let the full impact of the story settle in on the audience.

But I Am Legend’s Francis Lawrence’s followup to the Hunger Games does not suffer from any of the above ailments. Instead, it is one of those sequels that knocks its predecessor out of the *ahem* arena. By the ten-minute mark me and the group I went with were already near tears. And let me just say: I will never look at Rafiki the monkey the same way again.

Here are some other movies that, in my opinion, are better than the originals that inspired them.


Toy Story 3 – I may be biased, because this is one of my all time favorite movie franchises, and even though the original and the sequel are already pure 10’s, part 3 is an easy 15.  Sarabeth claims that she’s never seen me cry so hard as I did in the theaters for this movie (although I maintain it was when we watched My Dog Skip.) 


Pirates of the Caribbean 4 – I’m sure most people skipped this movie because of the yawn-fest of the last two. Granted, this turned into a high-seas soap opera quicker than you can say “Buccaneer”. But On Stranger Tides really would have been a better immediate followup to the first movie.


Ghost Protocol

Mission: Impossible III & Ghost Protocol – I can leave or take the first Mission Impossible, the second one is one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. Heck, I can easily say that Mission Impossible III is the greatest action movie I’ve ever seen, and it’s followup, Brad Bird’s Ghost Protocol is close on its heels.


Monsters University – This is a tough one because Monsters Inc. is pretty flawless on its own. And it’s not that Monsters University is better than its predecessor (nor is it worse), but it actually makes it better. Heck, Monsters University is pretty great on its own, and whenever I watch it, I end up feeling so sorry for anyone who doesn’t see it.


Shrek 2 – I’m not sure why I like this better than the original. I will say that Shrek the Third was a complete embarrassment, but they made up for it with Part 4, believe it or not.


The Dark Knight- ‘Nuff said. I have’t seen The Dark Knight Rises yet, but it’s pretty hard to believe that it could be better than The Dark Knight. 

return of the king

Return of the King- True, the Lord of the Rings trilogy is like one long movie, but it’s one long movie that just gets better and better and better. Tissue, please.

Original Cinema Quad Poster - Movie Film Posters

The Rescuers Down Under – I wonder if many people know this is a sequel. Though Disney’s original Rescuers is pretty great, this one definitely ups the ante via visuals, emotion, music, and memorable characters. G’day mate!

Share with us some of your favorite sequels in the comments below. Did you see Catching Fire yet? What did you think?

About Andrew Toy
Writer when I'm not being a husband or dad. So mostly just a husband and dad.

39 Responses to Sequels That Exceed Their Predecessors

  1. uniquelymeme says:

    I totally agree about the hunger games. Plus it matched the book spot on!

  2. thanks for the heads up – looking forward to seeing – can’t beat a really good adaptation from great stories – Last of the Mohicans is one of my favourite all time films…

  3. bwbyars says:

    I agree! Catching Fire was a whole “letter grade” higher than Hunger Games for me.
    In a twist, I would say that I enjoyed “Empire Strikes Back” more than “Star Wars” and I’ve gone back and watched it more often, but I do think “Star Wars” was a better movie. Does that make sense? There were moments that I enjoyed so much, I want to see them again. But overall, the first one was the best.
    I’m with you on “Return of the King” as well.
    “Dark Knight” was the best of the trilogy. I would also say it was AT LEAST a “letter grade” better than “Batman Begins.”
    Here’s another classic for you: “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” – better than “Star Trek: The Motion Picture.”

  4. lovefromtara says:

    I loved catching fire – wow that sentence just brought a whole new meaning to it, but you knw im referring to the hunger games, phew. I cried at least 3 times throughout it, I think that it would capture your emotions and then pull you in and make you keep watching, way better than the first one and i’m still yet to read the books that are collecting dust on my bookshelf.

  5. haolabanala says:

    For the longest time I could not explain why I liked Shrek 2 better, and then it occurred to me how hateful the first one is. It basically is a big middle-finger to the Disney Company (not surprising considering Katzenberg’s history with the Disney Company), whereas the second one is more of a loving send up to fairytales. The second one is fun, the first one just hates.

    • I think you nailed in on the head. I don’t like anything that flips the bird to Disney, and I think that’s what Shrek did. Especially since Katzenberg was behind it. You should read Disney Wars if you haven’t yet.

  6. I am totally with you on this. I could take or leave part 1 but Catching Fire was awesome.

  7. M says:

    I would have to agree except I have not seen the first one yet. My Niece pleaded I take her, so I did and was amazed…. now to watch number 1

  8. Kelly says:

    I’m gonna’ have to watch some of the movies you mentioned! By the way, I like how you write about both serious and fun topics. Your blog is a great read. 🙂

  9. lauramacky says:

    I agree. Many people I know who’ve seen it disagree though which I found surprising. I enjoyed that there were less “games” and more story. I felt more involved with the characters and they had more realness to them this time imho.

  10. Okay, I’m going to be the unpopular commenter today. Although I did love Catching Fire, I wouldn’t say it was so much better than Hunger Games. I am the person who loved the games and the arena. There was a lot of that in Hunger Games. I wanted more of that build-up to the games and the arena itself in Catching Fire. The second book was my favorite of the trilogy, so I was extremely excited to see the movie. I couldn’t help but feel that the scenes were built and then “poof” they ended. The book is always better than the film because we use our imagination to picture the story. My imagination pictured more. Having said that, I wasn’t completely disappointed. There were many awesome moments and I would definitely want to see it again.

  11. Natasha Musa says:

    I agree with Pirates of the Caribbean. I skipped 4 because 2 & 3 were yawn worthy but maybe I’ll give the 4th installment a go after reading this post. I second your opinion on LOTR. Its a great franchise. I cant wait to watch Catching Fire. I’ve heard really good reviews from those who have had the time to catch the movie.

  12. laflor5233 says:

    I guess I’m just an old dud. We did go see Hunger Games, but I was totally turned off by humans hunting humans to kill them off.

  13. I like Transporter II. And the MIs, Toy Story, you mentioned are really good. I still am waiting to see Catching Fire.

  14. mrsgillies says:

    I just saw Catching Fire too. I really enjoyed it and i understand book to movie is not always the same and for good reason however there were some bits they made up that i thought were unnecessary and could have just stuck to the book.

    Shrek 2 is a lot better. I love the soundtrack to it too!

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