25 movie sequels that are actually better than the originals

15. Evil Dead II (1987)

The movie: Ash has to deal with more possessed going-ons in a spooky cabin as a dark force picks off his acquaintances one by one in increasingly outlandish fashion - and even ends up losing his hand in the process.

Why it’s better than the original: Groovy, baby. Evil Dead 2 is the perfect mishmash of horror and goofiness sandwiched in-between two entries that go too far in either direction. And it has chainsaws.  

14. Spider-Man 2 (2004)

The movie: Peter Parker is growing up, but that also means the criminal underworld has progressed along with it, as Doc Ock looks to be the bane of Spidey’s fledgling life, who threatens everything he’s ever cared about.

Why it’s better than the original: The first Spider-Man movie may have been a by-the-numbers origin story, but this Spidey sequel just gets the webhead. 

13. Rocky III (1982)

The movie: Up-and-comer Apollo Creed thinks he can take down the champ, a certain Rocky Balboa. What follows is a pulsating, crunching fight between someone who is slowly becoming over-the-hill and a bright upstart.

Why it’s better than the original: It’s got it all: Eye of the Tiger, Mr. T, Hulk Hogan, and one of the greatest movie endings in history.  

12. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

(Image credit: Marvel)

The movie: Cap goes rogue (with the Winter Soldier stalking him at every turn) once it’s revealed S.H.I.E.L.D. isn’t quite what it seems to be. Helping him along the way is new recruit Falcon and a returning Black Widow and Nick Fury.

Why it’s better than the original: A spy thriller masquerading in the MCU, this is a real modern classic and easily one of the best superhero movies of the past decade. 

11. The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

The movie: Frodo’s journey continues, but it’s the politicking and battles across the rest of Middle-Earth that come to the fore in the sequel, while the king of Rohan is struggling to fight Saruman’s dark spell.

Why it’s better than the original: The Two Towers marked the watershed moment between Lord of the Rings being a pretty faithful adaptation to an astounding, cinematic series. 

10. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)

The movie: An old nemesis pays Captain James T. Kirk a faithful visit that he won’t soon forget in this spacefaring adventure. The stakes are higher than ever in this Trek adventure as Kirk loses much more than just his temper.

Why it’s better than the original: KHAAAAAN. This, for many Trekkies, is the epitome of Star Trek. A smart, balanced story with a villain that will live long in the memory. And don’t forget William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy delivering the best performances of their careers as Spock slowly dies. 

9. Toy Story 2 (2004)

The movie: A tale about toys and growing up, with Woody desperately trying to find exactly where he came from, with the motley crew of toys helping him along the way. A kids’ movie that will make adults cry about their lost childhood.

Why it’s better than the original: Everything here is bigger, better, and more likely tell your kids that you’re definitely not crying. Arguably the definitive Pixar movie, and definitely its best sequel. 

8. The Dark Knight (2008)

The movie: Batman faces his toughest test yet, taking down the anarchic Joker who threatens Gotham and new ally Harvey Dent but - one problem - Batman is at the heart of the escalation. A familiar Batman tale given a gritty new spoon.

Why it’s better than the original: The most iconic comic book villain ever shows up, whilst Christian Bale gives a performance that crystalises why he’s the best Bats to wear the cowl. 

7. Aliens (1986)

The movie: Ripley wakes up from cryo-sleep to find the world has moved on, including her all-grown-up daughter. Things quickly go south on the USS Sulaco, as a mission to exterminate the Xenomorphs goes very, very wrong. Part family drama, part action romp. All terrifying. 

Why it’s better than the original: Aliens shows Ripley at her most badass, with James Cameron superbly meshing action and horror to create a high-octane thrill ride that never relents. 

6. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

The movie: Rookie FBI trainee Clarice Starling recruits the help of the infamous Hannibal (famously not on-screen for long) to track down serial killer Buffalo Bill, who enjoys skinning his victims. There’s plenty of delectable dishes too, if you’re that way inclined.

Why it’s better than the original: The movie that made you never want to drink chianti again. Sir Anthony Hopkins is never better than he is here as Hannibal Lecter, and there’s a very good reason you’ve never heard of the first Hannibal movie (hint: this one is a million times better). 

Bradley Russell

I'm the Senior Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.