Kung Fu Panda 2: Broth continued to run through Po’s veins in this thump of a sequel as the Dragon Warrior set about destroying the wily peacock and also finding his own “inner peace”. With superior animation and an incredible voice cast, Kung Fu Panda 2 not only satisfied fans of the first film but brought in new followers to the lipsmacking clan.
The Godfather: Part II: The beauty of Francis Ford Coppola’s follow-up to The Godfather was how he brought about a harmony in the parallel telling of the rise to power of two men — Vito Corleone and son Michael Corleone — at two different stages of their mafia career. Robert De Niro and Al Pacino did the rest.
Aliens: The New York Times in its review called it “a flaming, flashing, crashing, crackling blow-’em-up show”. Director James Cameron took over from Ridley Scott and turned the sequel into one of the greatest sci-fi movies ever. While the film itself was a rollercoaster ride replete with thrills and chills, in Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley we were witness to one of the greatest on-screen lady warriors.
Aparajito: Yes Pather Panchali was the masterpiece but Aparajito was no less brilliant. It is a fitting sequel and a fabulous standalone film. Because it is in this one that director Satyajit Ray shifted the observer Apu to the participant Apu with history writ large on the protagonist’s face and actions. Coming of age has never been bettered on celluloid.
Before Sunset: The best thing about a great sequel is that it makes the original film better. Before Sunrise is a fine film but it’s deep-seated emotions really find full flow in Before Sunset. The Richard Linklater gem (part three Before Midnight is ready) is as much about great writing as it is about the two stunning leads — Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy.
Lage Raho Munnabhai: The best Bollywood sequel ever. Writer-director Rajkumar Hirani used the two loveable characters from Munnabhai MBBS — Munna and Circuit — and sparked off a new chemical locha altogether. Bhaigiri met Gandhigiri and Papa didn’t preach to beautifully put the message across.
Terminator 2: In the biggest celluloid googly ever, director James Cameron flipped the Terminator cyborgs and Arnie became the good guy and Robert Patrick the advanced space-shifting baddie. Then came visual effects-laden set pieces that blows minds to this day. And lines that we still speak. “Hasta la vista, baby!”
The Bourne Ultimatum: To be able to lay down new rules in one of the oldest movie games and keep playing by them with elan across three full films is a rare feat. Director Paul Greengrass didn’t just do that but kept getting better with every sequel. This closure to Matt Damon’s amnesiac assassin turned out to be the best of the franchise — in action set-pieces as well as in emotional resonance.
The Dark Knight: Chris Nolan must have had the entire trilogy in mind when he made Batman Begins. After all that investment in the heavy first film, the writer-director simply let it rip in this glorious second part by shifting the spotlight to the Joker. And with Heath Ledger constructing one of the greatest screen villains of all time, it was always going to be one of the greatest sequels of all time.
Kill Bill Vol. 2: Originally meant to be one single film, writer-director Quentin Tarantino had to splice the film into two at the behest of friend-distributor Harvey Weinstein. The result was strange but sumptuous. Because while Vol. 1 was a bloody visceral experience, the sequel was more talk but what beautiful talk. Emotionally satisfying and yet trademark cool.
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back: The sequel that turned the original film on its head and turned the franchise into a mythical legend strong enough to sustain its popularity for the next three decades. Yoda was introduced and that one-of-a-kind father-son confrontation between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader was epic.
Joi Baba Felunath: As with many other films on this list, it’s a great villain which makes a great sequel. We know how Feluda’s mogojastro can work, how Topshe can contribute and how Jatayu can spice it up but it is Maganlal’s machinations that make this second Feluda film by Ray so charming. And, of course, that knife-throwing scene. Nazuk, nazuk!
Toy Story 2: Pixar’s best film, this one not only takes off from where it left off in the first film but improves upon it by adding depth and emotion to each of the characters while keeping the fun feel intact. With a terrific voice cast, led by Tom Hanks, and exquisite animation, this is the ultimate screen triumph of talent and technology.
harry potter and the prisoner of azkaban: With this dark and delicious third film, Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron made the Rowling adaptations switch from strictly a children’s film series to a franchise which even adults can enjoy. That we cared for the characters for eight films had a lot to do with the emotional depth of this one.
Dhoom:2: One of the cardinal rules of making a great sequel is to up the stakes. Dhoom:2 did just that by widening the canvas, bringing in a sexier villain and improving the action setpieces. Hrithik Roshan in his first anti-hero outing was sumptuous from start to finish and Aishwarya Rai as his arm candy has never looked hotter. Two thumbs way up!