Best Movie Sequels

Opinion posted February 7, 2023 in CommRadio, Arts & Entertainment by CommRadio Arts and Entertainment department

“Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back”

Following up the original “Star Wars” was always going to be a massive undertaking with the overwhelming success of the film.

However, George Lucas and director Irvin Kershner managed to create something even better with "The Empire Strikes Back”.

Everything you want in a sequel and so much more was delivered by the Lucasfilm crew.

From an amazing and iconic new character in Yoda, still quoted countlessly in modern pop culture, to a battle scene better than anything offered in the first film with the fight on Hoth.

Best of all, Lucas and company followed up the triumphant storyline of the original film with a tragedy in “The Empire Strikes Back”.

Each of the main three characters is thrown into the fire with new and exciting challenges that they simply cannot overcome.

Princess Leia and her rebellion are in pieces after another rebel base is outed and destroyed and Han Solo is hunted by bounty hunters and is betrayed by an old friend leading to him being frozen in carbonite.

But best of all is Luke Skywalker. The farm boy-turned-Jedi hero fails to complete his training before meeting his destiny where the greatest plot twist in cinema history is executed.

“No, I am your father,” is all I have to say. - Mac Young

"The Godfather Part II"

Simply put, “The Godfather Part II” is the greatest sequel of all time. Some may say it’s “The Godfather” of all sequels…

Oftentimes, sequels have as much commercial success or better box office outcomes as their predecessor but very rarely do they see the same critical acclaim, especially if the first film was considered a masterpiece.

In 1972, Francis Ford Coppola and Paramount released “The Godfather”, an Italian-American crime family epic.

The film won three Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Actor for Marlon Brando’s iconic performance as the Don, Vito Corleone.

In 1974, “The Godfather Part II” was released and became the first sequel to ever win Best Picture at the Academy Awards.

It also took home five more: Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Art Direction, Best Original Dramatic Score, and Best Supporting Actor for Robert DeNiro, who had the impossible task of portraying a younger version of Brando’s character.

DeNiro’s win made him and Brando the first pair of actors to win Oscars for portraying the same character.

The story picks up with Michael Corleone (Al Pacino at his best) fully engulfed in the business after he takes over for his father at the end of the first film. Michael builds his empire and rises to ruthless power, while In a parallel plot, young Vito Corleone escapes from Sicily to New York where he gradually rises to prominence with help from Peter Clemenza and Salvatore Tessio.

The film is rounded out by excellent supporting performances from Robert Duvall, John Cazale, Diane Keaton, Michael V. Gazzo, and Lee Strasberg. - Nick LaRosa

“Cheaper by the Dozen 2” 

“Cheaper by the Dozen 2” takes that cake for being a sequel that is better than the original.

The film follows the Baker family preparing to go on vacation for the last time before the younger of their twelve kids become busy during the summer months, and before some of the older ones move away to pursue careers.

This vacation is filled with hilarious hygienics between the Bakers and the neighboring family on the lake: the Murtaughs. The kids in each family become friends while the fathers rival and end up making the families compete in the labor day cup.

Steve Martin and Eugene Levy play the fathers of the two star-studded families. There are several familiar stars playing the children, like Hilary Duff, Alyson Stoner, Liliana Mumy and Taylor Lautner.

The original “Cheaper by the Dozen” is a heartwarming nostalgic classic, but it has a more serious feel and plot. While “Cheaper by the Dozen 2” is more whimsical and laughable making it better than the original. - Savannah Swartz

“Spider-Man 2”

“The power of the sun…in the palm of my hand.” That’s how it feels to hold the “Spider-Man 2” DVD.

One of the greatest superhero films ever made and arguably the best Spider-Man movie, “Spider-Man 2” starring Tobey Maguire, Alfred Molina, and Kirsten Dunst is the prime example of a sequel outdoing its predecessor.

The film was released in 2004, four years before Marvel Studios rose to power and started churning out superhero flicks every couple of months.

“Spider-Man 2” introduced the world to one of the most iconic comic book villains of all time, Doctor Octopus.

There is an underrated simplicity to the action sequences between Spidey and Doc Oc, with his metal “tentacle” arms being an actual prop instead of computer generated.

“Spider-Man 2” includes all of the best aspects of the Spider-Man comic books, delivering action with the bank and train scenes, romance with the unrequited love Peter feels for Mary Jane and a special nostalgia that makes the film feel like home. - Kaitlyn Murphy

“Terminator 2: Judgment Day”

“Terminator 2” is one of the only sequels better than its original.

The film, directed by James Cameron, stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as the titular T-800 with Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor, Robert Patrick as the T-1000 and Edward Furlong as John Connor.

The sequel follows the storyline of the first, but the T-800 is sent back in time to protect John instead of killing Sarah. The T-800 and the T-1000 fight for the future multiple times in the film.

The T-800 and the Connors go on the run and protect themselves while trying to prevent ultimate destruction (once again) in the future.

“Terminator 2” is another great classic Arnold film, with explosions, one-liners, motorcycles, rock n’ roll music and machine guns.

The actor’s draw brought audiences back for the highest-grossing film of 1991, and Linda Hamilton’s portrayal finally brought a strong female protagonist to the action scene. - Adrianna Gallucci

Maclain Young is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email 

Nick LaRosa is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email

Savannah Swartz is a second-year communications major. To contact her, email

Kaitlyn Murphy is a first-year majoring in digital and print journalism. To contact her, email

Adrianna Gallucci is a first-year student majoring in journalism. To contact her, please email

About the Contributors

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Mac Young

Second Year / Broadcast Journalism

Maclain Young is a third-year student from Ocean City, New Jersey majoring in broadcast journalism at Penn State. He writes articles weekly for CommRadio’s sports department ranging across all five major sports. Maclain also contributes with play-by-play coverage, beat writes, board ops, and has even helped new members by producing State High Calls. Maclain usually goes by “Mac” and enjoys writing about the Philadelphia sports teams, which he follows vigorously. To contact him, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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Savannah Swartz

Second-year / Advertising and Public Relations

Savannah Swartz is a second-year communications major, focusing on advertising and public relations. She is a member of the arts department.

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Adrianna Gallucci

Sophomore /

Adrianna Gallucci is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism and is one of CommRadio’s New Member Coordinators. She is also a broadcaster, journalist, podcaster and talk show guest. In addition, Adrianna is also a part of PSSN, TDAY Sports and AWSM. She hosts her own independent podcast, She’s All Bat: A New York Mets podcast. She is a huge Mets and Rangers fan and will always talk about pro wrestling. Adrianna wants to work in MLB, NHL or WWE as a journalist or an anchor. You can find her on Twitter at @agallucci17 or email her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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Kaitlyn Murphy

Freshman /

Kaitlyn Murphy is a first-year student at Penn State majoring in digital and print journalism. She is a member of the Arts and Entertainment Department of CommRadio and is passionate about reviewing films, television shows, and music. Follow her on twitter at @kaitlynmurph and email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) with any inquiries.

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Nick LaRosa