Fans love a good sequel. There’s something about seeing the number 2 next to any title that forces us to see whatever drivel the studios want us to. Seriously, 15 of the top 20 highest grossing films of all time are sequels. Frozen, Avatar and the first Harry Potter are the only non-sequels to end a year as the box office leader since the new millennium started.
With all the success these movies see, fans and producers ignore how dangerous making a sequel can be. Nothing kills a franchise faster than a bad continuation. Between all the high grossing and epic sequels that today’s fans have been treated to, there are even more that bomb, and more that don’t even get noticed. Forcing a movie to have a number 2 often leads to bad movies, but the promise of a spot on the ever-changing list of top grossing movies has studios mouths watering. Here is the list of 10 sequels that shouldn’t have been put on screen.
10. Ghost Rider: The Spirit of Vengeance
Ghost Rider was made in a time when superhero movies weren’t that great, also known as 2007. This was a year before Iron Man flew in and saved the genre. While it wasn’t a great movie, it was decent when measured up against movies like The Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Because these horrible failures came out at the same time, opinions of Ghost Rider are slightly better than they should be. So why would they release a very bad, very unplanned sequel 5 years after everyone forgot and Marvel was back at the top?
In 2012, The Dark Knight Rises and The Avengers were both released in theaters along with The Amazing Spider-Man. The theory is that Columbia Pictures knew that if Spider-Man was the “bad superhero movie” of that summer, there would be no bouncing back, so they released Nicolas Cage back into the world. Ghost Rider was able to absorb the title and Columbia was able to cash in on one more Spider-Man movie before calling it quits. Because of this, Ghost Rider may never see a movie screen again.
9. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
This franchise really sank after the first Pirates. Captain Sparrow might be one of the most beloved characters ever invented, but that is no excuse for creating movies like this. On Stranger Tides feels like someone took a couple of established stories and threw in random characters, which is exactly what they did. They found a book to work as a plotline, but by the end it really only lent the movie its name.
Disagreements on which characters would star and contract disputes led to hundreds of rewrites. No one seemed to agree on a single plot line, so they just included everything they could. Critic Bill Goodykoontz described it as “a series of distractions tossed together in the hopes that they will come together in a coherent story.” The film was still a commercial success and a fifth installment of the franchise will be coming out in 2017.
8. Batman & Robin
Bat-nipples. Who thought Batman would ever be seen with nipples outlined on the bat suit? Forgetting the horrible costume choices, this is still one of the worst sequels ever. Everyone likes to knock George Clooney and Chris O’Donnell when this movie comes up, but it was the villains who ruined it.
Batman villains are some of the most interesting characters in comics, and the selection from Batman and Robin is genius on paper. If they were to stay with what DC gave them, the movie could have been decent; instead they decided to make Bane a mindless drone, and Mr. Freeze an oversized pun machine. We fully support a writer making an established character in a different mold than we normally see, but why chose to just make everyone annoying? All in all we have to thank this movie, because without it, the Christopher Nolan reboot might have never happened, and that’s just not a reality I could live in.
7. Spider-Man 3
Remember how Ghost Rider: The Spirit of Vengeance made sure Columbia could make The Amazing Spider-Man 2? Well, Spider-Man 3 was so bad that Columbia was able to make Ghost Rider: The Spirit of Vengeance.
It’s hard to say exactly where this movie went wrong because the whole thing was terrible. When you think Spider-Man, you shouldn’t think emo Peter Parker dance scenes, but that’s all anyone remembers about Spider-Man 3. The movie was full of bad dialogue and plot lines stolen from soap operas. The most horrendous part of it all is that it ended Tobey Maguire’s time as the webslinger. Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 were both very good and partially responsible for the rebirth of super heroes in pop culture. Now we are forced to watch a third attempt at Peter Parker’s origin story, which is a shame because no one will ever match J.K. Simmons’ J. Jonah Jameson.
6. Grease 2
Grease is a cute little story about John Travolta hooking up in high school. It’s got fun music and loose morals, kinda like Britney Spears in the ‘90s. Grease 2 is more like Britney from the mid-2000s: insane and in need of a shower.
Some highlights from the movie include high school biker gangs trying to murder each other in a bowling alley, some kid tricking his girlfriend into sleeping with him by convincing her the world ended, and a substitute teacher telling a bunch of high school girls to have sex. Grease 2 is the coming of age tale about a foreign exchange student who wants to sleep with Michelle Pfeiffer (something along those lines). He spends the entire movie being told he’s not cool enough, so he pretends to be someone else entirely. If that ain’t a great message for the kids watching, I don’t know what else is.
5. Son of the Mask
This is the worst movie on the list. There is actually no reason to watch it. If you’ve been forced to watch it, I feel for you and hope for a speedy recovery. Jamie Kennedy is such a far cry from Jim Carrey that it is actually shocking someone ever let him near the camera. It’s a painful movie with unfunny jokes and a very stupid plotline. The worst part about it all is that no one wanted it. I don’t know anyone who was hoping for more of The Mask. When Jim Carrey backed out of the sequel in 1995, that should have been enough to get it scrapped for good. Nope, 10 years later we got this piece of garbage.
4. Anchorman 2
While no one was asking for a sequel to The Mask, everyone wanted a sequel to Anchorman. The film that catapulted Will Ferrell from star to superstar is often regarded as one of the funniest movies ever. Then the sequel was announced and everyone though “what could go wrong?”
Turns out the movie is just a couple hours of Will Ferrell making stuff up as he went along. Scenes include Mr. Ferrell going blind due to an ice skating accident, then raising a baby shark, and a scene where Steve Carell and Kristen Wiig get it on at a laundromat. Watching really makes the audience think things like, “did anyone ever actually write this down?” I applaud and encourage comedians getting together and making movies with their friends, but this just missed on every mark.
3. Terminator Genisys
Someone else making this list could put The Terminator franchise on this list 3 times and each time would be valid. Salvation and Rise of the Machines both failed to create a watchable movie; the difference is that they didn’t completely derail the franchise. Genisys was supposed to be a trilogy, and the production team was so confident in it that future release dates had already been chosen and Arnold Schwarzenegger was inked to be in at least one of the sequels. Then the movie came out and everything went to s***. Genisys changed the already complicated timeline and relied on a ridiculous amount of unrealistic plot devices to do so. The film failed to break even and after being put on an indefinite hold, the sequels were canceled early in 2016. Salvation and Rise of the Machines had their flaws, but Genisys brought the series to a screeching halt.
2. The Matrix Revolutions
Normally when you create a sequel to a movie it comes out two or three years after the first. Revolutions was released 6 months after its predecessor, The Matrix Reloaded. Because of this odd release schedule, it’s very difficult to mention one without the other, and makes Revolutions an unforgivable disaster. Both movies were bad, but it was almost like Revolutions forgot to address that Reloaded even happened.
Attempting a sequel to one of the most interesting movie universes is not something I’d fault the Wachowskis for trying, but why not actually try to create something good? Something different that fits into the storyline that has already been established? Why couldn’t they have spent just a little more time on the writing? If they didn’t rush this movie into theaters, Revolutions could have been a decent movie. Instead it was so bad that it didn’t only ruin Reloaded, but any future on the big screen.
1. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Here it is. The epitome of a sequel that should have never been made. Everything in the movie was dumb. From the aluminum refrigerator to the greaser sidekick who happens to be an expert swordsman (played by Shia LeBeouf, which was a disaster in itself) this movie missed on so many marks. We get that it was a bad movie, nothing more needs to be said about that, but there are much worse. This movie was made not because of some inspiration that fell from the sky or because Harrison Ford missed the character too much, it was made 100% purely for money. It just sucks to know that there are a lot of people out there that will take something as great as this and let it be destroyed for a couple of bucks. No one associated with this movie needed the money, yet they still would rather the paper in their pocket than have the respect of their fans. Thanks for being a jerk, George Lucas.