Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Superior Sequels: Do they exist?
I think they do...
..but not in the fashion put to me by friends and film aficionados over the years.
"Empire's wayyyy better than Star Wars.."
"Spider-Man is twice as good as part one..."
"Superman's boring ...I like #2 more.."
I don't think a film that relies on the existence of another is superior. If Spidey 2 introduced the character we'd have been disappointed ...no Uncle Ben ...no origin...
Technical, I know, but these aren't better - might be a more enjoyable adventure - maybe better written, maybe even a better film, which is the case with Star Wars for sure... buuuuut, if you have to have seen the previous story, it's like saying you prefer the second floor of a cool building - sure, but that first floor matters a bit more.
The Exceptions or what I consider to be the only 2 "superior" sequels ever made:
#1 is Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan ...better look, script, better film, annnnd, had this been the intro to the film incarnations of Kirk and Spock, it would still be better, and perhaps moreso as a film sequel to the TV series. We all love Khan.
In fact, Star Trek as a franchise may have two "superior sequels". The new film, with only one cast member of the original characters, may work just as well as STII in that it's a sequel to the TV series. I'm willing to bet you could jump from the 60's show to J.J.Abrams Trek #11 and see it as "better". The film is genius, and one of the best of the past decade. Not bad for a franchise that lived in the shadow of Star Wars for far too long.
#2 is Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom ...as a prequel, I think this'd be a perfect intro to Indy, especially with his "fortune and glory" stuff that obviously belongs to a younger version of the character. Watch Doom then Raiders and tell me it doesn't feel like Indy is about five years older in Raiders. I happen to like Temple more(just a personal thing, but I have great reasons) and anyone who does can easily see it as "better" than it's Oscar-nominated predecessor. I truly believe Spielberg's disdain for Temple affected it's place in pop-culture. I just don't see Nazi's as "lighter" than grinning maniacal over-the-top cult leaders. The whole film is too light to see as "too dark" ...the script is funny, an action movie's timing, and the 'hero's journey" is clearest and coolest in this one of all four.
If anyone ever reads this and disagrees, please comment - I love this stuff.