Sunday, 12 May 2013

The Five Best Superhero Sequels of All Time

Hollywood is full of pointless cash-in sequels that ruin everything that was great about a series in the first place, but I think that superhero sequels can be the exception to this. Often, it is the first film in a superhero franchise that turns out to be the weakest because so much of the plot has to be devoted to introducing the character and their origin story. Once that's all out of the way though, the sequels are then given free reign to take the character's development to the next level. That's why 'The Avengers' worked so well; each of the heroes had already been introduced to audiences in each of their previous solo films.

To celebrate the fact that 'Iron Man 3' is a thousand times better than either of its predecessors  let's take a look back at the five best superhero sequels of all time. Just remind me to update this post when 'The Avengers 2' comes out ok?

5. Hellboy 2: The Golden Army (2008)

At number five, we have the highly underrated sequel to 'Hellboy', which was directed by 'Pan Labyrinth's' Guillermo Del Toro. From its stunning animated opening to the epic action sequences, 'Hellboy 2' improved upon the original in every way. With its increased budget, Del Toro was able to expand Hellboy's supernatural world with some of the most striking character designs I have ever seen and yet throughout it all, Ron Perlman's portrayal of the gruff anti-hero remains true to the original Dark Horse comics. And Selma Blair's in it. You know, the one from Cruel Intentions who slobbered over Sarah Michelle Gellar. 

4. Spiderman 2 (2004)

I know it's hard, but we must all try to forgive Sam Raimi for the monstrosity that was 'Spiderman 3'. You know what will help? Cast your mind back to a few years before, when Spiderman 2 amped up the action of the original with a phenomenal performance from Alfred Molina as Doctor Octopus. With the origin story out of the way, Raimi brought his comic horror sensibilities to the superhero genre and was able to successfully create the definitive cinematic version of our favourite webbed wonder. Now if only Andrew Garfield had been old enough to play Peter Parker...

3. Batman Returns (1992)

Do you remember when Tim Burton was actually a good director? In a world of sequels which all promise to be 'darker' than the last, Burton was the first to actually deliver on this promise, populating his twisted version of Gotham City with an assortment of deranged characters all out to destroy Batman in the most insane way possible. Jack Nicholson's Joker was brilliant in the first film but with 'Batman Returns', Burton upped his game with the one-two hit of Danny Devito's Penguin and Michelle Pfeiffer's 'Catwoman'. Both villains perfectly captured the essence of their comic book counterparts and fascinated audiences with their bizarrely twisted obsession with the caped crusader. And yes, Michelle Pfeiffer would kick Halle Berry's ass. In a heartbeat. "Meow".

2. The Dark Knight (2008)

I love Batman and Christian Bale did a great job in Christopher Nolan's acclaimed trilogy but with a rogues gallery so strong, it's always the villains who steal the show in a Batman film and no one did it better than Heath Ledger. Even if he were alive today, Ledger's portrayal of the Joker would still be forever remembered as one of the most incredible roles in the history of cinema. 'The Dark Knight' set the bar so high that not even Nolan himself could compete with its follow up. It's the perfect superhero film - no question- so why haven't I placed it at number one?

1. X-Men 2 (2003)

Now assuming that anyone a) actually reads this things and b) actually cares about superhero films, I'm guessing that there may be some outrage at my number one choice and yes you're right; 'The Dark Knight' probably should be at number one. Despite that though, I couldn't bring myself to put 'X-Men 2' anywhere except the top spot. I remember being a comic book obsessed kid who only had a few old live action films and cartoon shows to satiate my love of superheroes on screen. When 'X-Men' came out, it just blew my mind to see the characters I loved in the cinema for the first time but I also knew it wasn't perfect. Then Bryan Singer created the sequel, 'X-Men 2', and from Nightcrawler's opening scene in The White House, I was hooked. Ensemble films are hard at the best of times but upon its release 'X-Men 2' was the pinnacle of superhero films and it will always hold a special place in my heart.

So what do you think of my five favourite superhero sequels? Do you agree with who's on the top spot? And are there any sequels that you think were more worthy than these choices? Let me know by commenting, liking and sharing below. And remember to come back next week to find out my five WORST superhero sequels. They're all horrendous, guaranteed! 

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