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Top 10 Movie Sequels That Were Worth the Wait

VO: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Mark Sammut

Louder, bigger, and – occasionally – better. From The Incredibles 2 to Blade Runner 2049 WatchMojo is counting down the much-anticipated movie sequels that didn’t let us down.

Special thanks to our user drewbrown for suggesting this idea! https://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top%2010%20Movie%20Sequels%20That%20Were%20Worth%20the%20Wait


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Top 10 Movie Sequels That Were Worth the Wait

Louder, bigger, and – occasionally – better. Welcome to and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Movie Sequels that Were Worth the Wait.

For this list, we’re looking at long-delayed sequels that surpassed expectations. Just to be clear, these entries are not necessarily superior to the originals, but they are worth watching in their own right.

#10: “Incredibles 2” (2018)

When it comes to sequels, Pixar's track-record leaves something to be desired. Thankfully, this highly-anticipated superhero follow-up shares more in common with "Toy Story 2" than "Cars 2." Written and directed by Brad Bird, who also penned 2004's "The Incredibles," the Parr family continue to be as entertaining as ever, while Pixar remains the unquestionable kings of 3D animation. Even if the storyline lacks some of the emotional heft of its predecessor, "The Incredibles 2" packs an incredibly satisfying punch and successfully captures the original's witty sense of humor.

#9: “Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens” (2015)

Whether taken as a direct sequel to "Return of the Jedi" or "Revenge of the Sith," J.J. Abrams and Disney sparked a renewed interest in the series after a couple of missteps. Steadying the ship after the turbulent prequels, "The Force Awakens" is simultaneously a love-letter to the original "Star Wars" trilogy and a voyage into the unknown. Bolstered by an endearing new cast and returning fan favorites like Han Solo and Princess Leia, "Episode VII" doubled down on the elements of the franchise that worked. Packed with cool space dogfights and lightsaber duels, "The Force Awakens" feels like a "Star Wars" greatest hits collection.

#8: “Before Sunset” (2004) & “Before Midnight” (2013)

On paper, a trilogy dedicated to showing a singular couple walking and talking sounds rather dull, but Richard Linklater exists to prove everyone wrong. 1995's "Before Sunrise" follows Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy as a hopeful couple with conflicting ideologies on life and love. Jumping forward nine years each, the sequels take place in real time and check back into the couple's life. Examining themes like marriage, parenthood, and romance, Linklater's "Before" trilogy always stuck to its core concept and delivered a thoroughly unique experience that transcends fiction.

#7: “Dawn of The Dead” (1978)

If "Night of the Living Dead" popularized the zombie genre, the first sequel perfected the formula. Created in collaboration with another horror icon in Dario Argento, and featuring a soundtrack by "The Goblins," George A. Romero's "Dawn of the Dead" substituted the original's claustrophobic ambiance for a story with a much broader scope that saw the undead spread to airports and malls. While the legendary director filled the sequel with more than enough gory zombie mayhem, "Dawn of the Dead" also serves as a vicious critic on consumerism and contemporary society.

#6: “Creed” (2015)

Admittedly, two rock 'em sock 'em robots duking it out for two hours would be an improvement over "Rocky V," but Sylvester Stallone's franchise refused to go down for the count. After the enjoyable "Rocky Balboa," "Creed" revitalized the series with a fresh new face while remaining true to the core appeal of its predecessors. Directed by the exciting Ryan Coogler, "Creed" boasts some of the best fights in the entire franchise and Michael B. Jordan proves himself to be a worthy successor to Sylvester Stallone.

#5: “Aliens” (1986)

Sometimes, the smartest sequels are ones that do not even try to recapture lightning in a bottle. Ridley Scott's "Alien" delivered a tense and terrifying experience that etched Ripley's name into cinematic folklore. In contrast, James Cameron's follow-up ditched the horror elements for explosive action, an army of Xenomorphs, and an awesome mini-mech suit. Even though "Aliens" offers a totally different experience to Scott's classic, the film is rightfully considered a must-watch of the sci-fi genre and, for many people, showed an improvement over the original.

#4: “Blade Runner 2049” (2017)

Considering that Harrison Ford's 1982 masterpiece went through multiple edits before, eventually reaching its final form, the sequel's 35-year wait seems almost reasonable. With Ridley Scott stepping aside as the director, Denis Villeneuve of "Arrival" and "Sicario" fame took on the responsibility of expanding upon "Blade Runner's" storied universe. Featuring a returning Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling as the lead, "Blade Runner 2049" is an absurdly gorgeous sci-fi epic that pushed the franchise into new territory while expanding upon themes established in its predecessor. Engrossing, intelligent, and entertaining, "Blade Runner" is two for two.

#3: “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991)

Putting aside "Piranha II: The Spawning," James Cameron appears to be the master of sequels. Released seven years earlier, "The Terminator" established Skynet, the Connors, and Arnold Schwarzenegger as the deadly T-800. Turning villains into heroes and subverting expectations, "Judgement Day" is a feast for the eyes and ranks among the greatest action flicks of all time. While the basic premise preferred to stick close to the previous entry, Cameron expanded upon the franchise's world building and developed Linda Hamilton's Sarah Connor into even more of a badass.

#2: “Toy Story 3” (2010)

Talk about a tough act to follow! Pixar hit a double home run with the first two "Toy Story" films, so the third entry needed to be practically perfect to even come close to living up to the hype. Amazingly, "Toy Story 3" not only didn’t disappoint, but the highly-anticipated sequel presented a solid case for being the best in the trilogy. Wisely opting to age with its audience, "Toy Story 3" sees Andy heading to college and outgrowing Woody and company. Emotionally resonant and splendidly animated, "Toy Story 3" felt like the natural conclusion to the initial trilogy.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

“Jurassic World” (2015)

“Finding Dory” (2016)

“The Color of Money” (1986)

#1: “Mad Max: Fury Road” (2015)

Whether considered a direct sequel or a reimagining, at the age of 70, George Miller still makes nearly every other action director seem like an amateur. Three decades after Max's trip to the post-apocalyptic equivalent of Neverland, "Fury Road" pushed the franchise to the absolute peak of its madness. Spiritually closer to "The Road Warrior" than "Beyond Thunderdome," Mad Max's latest adventure drops any pretense of an in-depth storyline and simply delivers two hours of road rage. If any following sequels are anywhere near as good, we are more than willing to wait another thirty years!

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