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The 13 Best Movie Sequels, Ranked

From 'Finding Dory' to 'The Empire Strikes Back', here are our favorites.

Sequels often face the daunting task of living up to their much-loved predecessors. Yet some manage to not only meet, but exceed expectations. We put together our list of the best movie sequels — see if you agree with us.

13. The Godfather Part II (1974)

This sequel continues the saga of the Corleone family, focusing on Michael Corleone’s efforts to expand the family business and the early life of his father, Vito Corleone. The film is renowned for its parallel narrative structure, juxtaposing Michael’s rise to power with Vito’s early years. It stars Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, and Diane Keaton and is directed by Francis Ford Coppola.

MUST READ: ‘The Godfather Part II’ — 12 Surprising Facts About the Best Sequel of All Time

12. The Dark Knight (2008): Best movie sequels

Batman faces his greatest challenge yet when the Joker wreaks havoc on Gotham City, pushing the caped crusader to his limits. Starring Christian Bale, Heath Ledger and Aaron Eckhart. Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker earned him a posthumous Academy Award.

11. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

The Rebel Alliance is on the run from the Empire, and Luke Skywalker trains with Yoda to become a Jedi Knight. Starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher. Considered by many to be one of the greatest films of all time, it introduced iconic characters like Yoda and Lando Calrissian.

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10. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991): Best movie sequels

A cyborg identical to the one who failed to kill Sarah Connor must now protect her teenage son, John, from a more advanced and powerful Terminator. Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton and Edward Furlong, this is James Cameron at his best. The film’s groundbreaking special effects and action sequences set a new standard for the genre.

9. Toy Story 3 (2010)

Andy is heading to college, and his beloved toys face an uncertain future as they accidentally end up in a daycare center. Starring Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, and Joan Cusack. It’s rare for a third movie in a franchise to be so successful, but the plot and characters nailed it (once again). The film received both critical acclaim and commercial success and it also won an Oscar.

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8. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003): Best movie sequels

The final battle for Middle-earth begins as Frodo and Sam approach Mount Doom to destroy the One Ring. Starring: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen and Viggo Mortensen. The film won several Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Visual Effects.

7. Aliens (1986)

Ellen Ripley returns to the planet where her crew encountered the hostile alien creature, but this time she brings along a team of Marines. Starring Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn and Paul Reiser. Sigourney Weaver received an Academy Award nomination for her performance, a rarity for a sci-fi action film.

6. The Incredibles 2 (2018): Best movie sequels

The superhero family returns, with Helen (Elastigirl) in the spotlight, leaving Bob (Mr. Incredible) to handle domestic duties. Starring Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter and Sarah Vowell. The film broke numerous box office records and was praised by both critics and audiences.

5. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

In a post-apocalyptic wasteland, Max teams up with Furiosa to flee from a tyrant and his army. Starring Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron and Nicholas Hoult. Editor Margaret Sixel had roughly 470 hours of footage to edit. Watching it took three months. It was worth it. She received an Academy Award for Best Editing.

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4. Blade Runner 2049 (2017): Best movie sequels

A young blade runner discovers a long-buried secret that could plunge society into chaos, leading him to find Rick Deckard, a former blade runner. The film starred Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford and Ana de Armas. David Bowie was director Denis Villeneuve’s first choice for the role of Niander Wallace, but he died six months before the start of shooting. Instead Jared Leto landed the part.

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3. Paddington 2 (2017)

Paddington, now happily settled with the Brown family, takes on a series of odd jobs to buy a perfect gift for his Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday. Then the present is stolen. Starring the voices of  Ben Whishaw, Hugh Grant and Sally Hawkins. Paddington author Michael Bond died on the last day of filming, and six months before the release of this movie, at the age of ninety-one. Books on Paddington have sold more than thirty-five million copies throughout his career.

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2. Finding Dory (2016): Best movie sequels

Dory, the forgetful blue tang fish, sets out on a quest to find her long-lost parents, with the help of Nemo and Marlin. Starring Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks and Ed O’Neill. The film was an instant box office success.

1. Creed 2 (2018)

Adonis Johnson, the son of Apollo Creed, seeks mentorship from the legendary Rocky Balboa to follow in his father’s footsteps as a boxer. He faces off against Viktor Drago, the son of Ivan Drago.The new franchise revitalized the Rocky franchise and brought in a new, younger audience.


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