15 Times the Movie Didn't Need a Sequel (but Got One Anyway)
We didn't know we didn't want these sequels until we got them.
1. "Pacific Rim: Uprising" (2018)
2013's "Pacific Rim," directed by Guillermo del Toro, was a love letter to giant robot vs. monster movies. It was a blend of imaginative storytelling, jaw-dropping action sequences, and surprisingly heartfelt moments. Fast forward to 2018's "Pacific Rim: Uprising" – Del Toro stepped back, and the heart and creativity of the original seemed to step back with him. The plot revolved around Jake Pentecost (John Boyega), son of Stacker Pentecost, the heroic leader from the first film, who reluctantly steps up to fight a new Kaiju threat. While it boasted more giant robot-on-monster action, the sequel lacked the emotional core and narrative depth of the original, proving that bigger doesn't always mean better.
2. "Men in Black: International" (2019)
The original "Men in Black" trilogy was a delightful blend of sci-fi, comedy, and chemistry between Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones as agents managing Earth's alien population. The 2019 spin-off "Men in Black: International" saw Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth step into the black suits as Agent M and Agent H, respectively. The plot followed them unraveling a series of alien attacks across the globe, leading to a mole within their organization. Despite Hemsworth and Thompson's undeniable charisma, the film failed to capture the spark and originality of its predecessors, landing a paltry 23% on Rotten Tomatoes.
3. "The Predator" (2018)
The original "Predator" movie from 1987 was an action-packed thriller, blending a commando-style war film with a terrifying alien creature. However, 2018's "The Predator" was an attempt to revitalize the franchise that felt unnecessary and convoluted. The film centered on a group of PTSD-afflicted soldiers who become the target of the universe's most lethal hunters. It attempted to add more layers to the Predator mythology, including genetically enhanced Predators, but ended up diluting the franchise's primal terror.
4. "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom" (2018)
The first "Jurassic World" film reinvigorated the dinosaur franchise with a fresh story and exciting visuals. However, its sequel "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom" felt like a step back into the less-loved aspects of the franchise. The plot, revolving around a rescue mission to save the dinosaurs from a volcanic eruption, eventually leading to a rather claustrophobic dinosaur auction, felt disjointed and far-fetched. Despite the sequel's commercial success, it was not as well-received as its predecessor, with many critics pointing out its lack of fresh ideas and reliance on nostalgic callbacks.
5. "The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It" (2021)
The original "The Conjuring" films directed by James Wan were based on supposedly real cases of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, combining a creepy atmosphere with gripping storylines. The third installment, "The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It," departed from the haunted house setting and instead focused on a murder trial where the defendant claimed demonic possession. While this was a real case from the Warrens' files, the execution felt disjointed and lacked the consistent scares of the previous films. Despite the strong performances of Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, the film failed to conjure up the same level of horror, earning a 55% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
6. "Jaws 2" (1978)
The terrifying charm of the original "Jaws" (1975) was in its simplicity. Man vs. shark – pretty straightforward, right? Spielberg's mastery turned a summer beach tale into a suspenseful thriller that, quite literally, made people afraid to go into the water. Then came "Jaws 2" in 1978, with a new director and a new shark with a grudge against Amity Island. The film maintained a semblance of tension, but it lacked the primal terror of the original. Sure, the shark still caused havoc, but it felt more like a revenge-seeking monster than a primal force of nature. Critics weren't too kind either; Rotten Tomatoes rates it at a mediocre 62%.
7. "The Hangover Part II" (2011)
"The Hangover" (2009) was a fresh, riotous comedy that struck gold with its premise: a bachelor party gone horribly wrong, and the subsequent piecing together of the debauched night's events. Then came "The Hangover Part II," which was essentially a carbon copy of the original, only this time in Thailand. It might have been forgivable if it brought something new to the table, but alas, it was a reheated dinner of the original film, and it wasn't as tasty the second time around. The box office, however, tells a different story – it grossed $586.8 million worldwide, surpassing the original film's earnings.
8. "Speed 2: Cruise Control" (1997)
The first "Speed" (1994) was a high-octane, adrenaline-pumping action film with Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock aboard a bus rigged to explode if it slowed down. "Speed 2: Cruise Control," unfortunately, opted for a cruise ship as the setting – a decidedly slower vehicle. The film's plot meandered as lazily as the vessel it was set on, and while Bullock returned, Reeves wisely opted out. Critics savaged the film – it holds a 4% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and the box office returns were notably less than the first film's.
9. "Son of the Mask" (2005)
"The Mask" (1994) featured a zany Jim Carrey discovering a mystical mask that transforms him into a green-faced, fast-talking, slapstick hero. Fast forward to "Son of the Mask" in 2005, which introduced us to Tim Avery's (Jamie Kennedy) infant son with the Mask's powers. The sequel lacked the hilarity and charm of Carrey's original performance. Critics and audiences agreed – it has a shocking 6% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and earned a measly $57.6 million worldwide against a $100 million budget.
10. "Grease 2" (1982)
"Grease" (1978) was a musical sensation, turning John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John into household names. However, the sequel, "Grease 2," which reversed the gender roles of the original and featured Maxwell Caulfield as an English student trying to win Michelle Pfeiffer's heart, lacked the catchiness and charm of the original. While it has found a cult following, it was a box office disappointment, earning only $15.2 million against a budget of $11.2 million.
11. "Independence Day: Resurgence" (2016)
"Independence Day" (1996) had it all – aliens, massive destruction, a rousing speech by Bill Pullman, and Will Smith punching said aliens in the face. Two decades later, "Independence Day: Resurgence" tried to recreate the formula, sans Smith. While the sequel had more advanced CGI, it lacked the original's heart and humor. Rotten Tomatoes wasn't kind to this alien invasion either, slapping it with a meager 29% rating.
12. "Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2" (2015)
Kevin James' "Paul Blart: Mall Cop" (2009) was a lighthearted comedy about an overzealous mall cop stumbling upon a heist plot. Despite the film's surprising success, "Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2" felt like an unnecessary return to the Segway. This time around, Blart finds himself foiling a Vegas heist, but the sequel's over-the-top slapstick failed to resonate with audiences and critics alike, landing a dismal 6% on Rotten Tomatoes.
13. "Zoolander 2" (2016)
2001's "Zoolander" was a satirical jab at the fashion industry that developed a cult following thanks to Ben Stiller's hysterically dim-witted model character, Derek Zoolander. "Zoolander 2," released 15 years later, however, felt like reheated leftovers. The film relied heavily on cameos and repeated jokes from the original, failing to bring anything new to the catwalk. At the box office, the film only grossed $56 million, a disappointment compared to the original's $60.8 million.
14. "The Last Exorcism Part II" (2013)
"The Last Exorcism" (2010) was a refreshing take on the exorcism genre, effectively utilizing the found footage style. The sequel, however, dropped the found footage angle and served us a pretty standard exorcism plot that didn't offer anything particularly new or scary. Despite the title implying the finality of the original, "The Last Exorcism Part II" felt like an unnecessary addendum that failed to deliver the chills of its predecessor.
15. "Taken 2" (2012)
"Taken" (2008) gave us Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson), a former CIA agent with "a particular set of skills" and a daughter kidnapped in Paris. The sequel, "Taken 2," while successful at the box office, offered nothing new, essentially being a rehash of the first film, but this time, in Istanbul. While Neeson's performance was solid, the plot's familiarity and lack of freshness made it a less thrilling ride.