A lot of work goes into making a quality film. Writing a script, production, casting, shooting, editing, etc. A lot of moving parts have to spin just right in order to get a result that’s commercially and critically praised. So it’s a damn shame when all the effort that gets put into a great movie is wiped away by gluttony, greed, lust, and whatever other deadly sins push filmmakers to make a half-assed sequel.
Here are seven of the worst sequels to great films ever made, accompanied by their Tomatometer scores. Do they completely ruin the original? Not quite, but they’ve definitely left viewers with a sour taste in their mouth that can’t be undone:
The Hangover Part II and III – 34%, 19%
We can all agree that The Hangover was a delightful surprise when it came out in summer 2009. Zach Galifianakis emerged back into the public view, and Ed Helms and Bradley Cooper were the perfect straight characters to accompany him through a crazy plot of twists, turns, and surprises. Then, most unfortunately, the gang decided to get back together and clone the exact same story onto a different wedding and setting in Bangkok. The result was painful. Hangover 3 was supposed to make up for this mistake by revisiting Vegas with a fresh storyline, but it ended up being far too serious and strange. Thus the charm and fun of the original is gone. No one wants to hear about The Hangover anymore.
Son of the Mask – 6%
The Mask was Jim Carrey at his hilarious, disturbingly odd self. It had laughs, it had an interesting plot, it even had a young Cameron Diaz—elements that composed a pretty memorable movie. Do you remember when Son of the Mask came out though? No. Of course you don’t. The 6% rating on Rotten Tomatoes can explain why: “Overly frantic, painfully unfunny, and sorely missing the presence of Jim Carrey.” Probably the biggest insult your COMEDY film can get is “painfully unfunny.” Let’s agree to never speak of it again.
Speed 2: Cruise Control – 3%
Here’s the thing. Keanu Reeves can’t act, so having him play an emotionless alien is really the only safe bet when it comes to casting. Despite that fact, he’s not all that bad in the original Speed, where he turned in several powerful lines like, “There’s a bomb on the bus” and “Yeah.” A shockingly compelling “can’t slow down the bus or it’ll blow up” premise and young Sandra Bullock masked Keanu’s trademark blank stares, and the movie ended up being a hit. Enter Speed 2: Cruise Control, sans Keanu. This time we’re on, you guessed it, a boat. I’ll save you from wasting your time: it works out.
The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions – 73%, 36%
MORE KEANU. The original Matrix is undoubtedly one of the most defining films ever made—the story, the technology, the style. So everyone was pretty excited when it was abundantly clear that the film would get not one, but two sequels. Although the respective films expanded the Matrix universe and gave us a lot more of the slow-motion fight sequences we thought we wanted, ultimately they were a disappointment. You could have just left us on the ground while you flew off into the clouds, Neo, and we would have been just fine.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull – 78%
The original Indiana Jones trilogy is an absolute classic. There’s no denying it. So everyone got pretty excited when it was announced that Indy was coming back 20 years after the end of The Last Crusade. Despite favorable reviews, turns out bringing in noted weirdo Shia LeBeouf and an extra-terrestrial plotline weren’t the best ideas. If it couldn’t hold up to the standard of the original films, it really shouldn’t have been made. Plus Harrison Ford hasn’t really aged well over the years—I think we’d all prefer to visualize Indiana Jones as the younger Harrison. Less wrinkles.
Jurassic Park III – 49%
Honestly just horrible characters. And why is everyone still screaming on the island? There are dinosaurs. They’ll fucking tear you apart. Shut up. The original Jurassic Park is a classic. The Lost World: Jurassic Park was a big step down. Jurassic Park III another. Classic Hollywood excess.
The Godfather Part III – 68%
In the words of Fat Tony, “I haven’t cried this much since I paid to see Godfather Part III.” Although 68% is still fresh on the Tomatometer, compare that score to The Godfather (100%) and The Godfather Part II (98%) and you immediately understand why this was a disappointment. Great series, great characters, but Part III is largely agreed upon as a mistake.
So there you have it. A short list of sequels that really never should have been made. Granted, there are rare examples where the sequel is better than the original (Toy Story 2 and The Dark Knight come to mind), but it’s a hard feat to pull off. God willing, Anchorman 2 won’t be deserving of horrible sequel status when it comes out later this fall. And if the Coen brothers somehow go insane and decide to make The Big Lebowski Returns one day, then I’ll just give up.
Let’s play it safe and let great movies just be what they are. Please.