Every week, Criticwire asks film critics a question and brings you their responses in The Criticwire Survey. We also ask each member of the poll to pick the best film currently playing in theaters. The most popular choices can be found at the bottom of this post. But first, this week's question:
Q: Inspired by this week's eloquently titled "The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia," what is the worst sequel ever made?
The critics' answers:
"I've never been angrier at a film than I was during 'Iron Man 2.' Jon Favreau's punchless sequel is devoid of all the freshness and intrigue of the original. In its place is an absolute mess of underdeveloped characters, story lines, motivation, and a gaping lack of humor. Worst of all, the once witty and fun Tony Stark came off so poorly that it took a good deal of convincing for me to check out 'The Avengers.' Though Whedon's superb film tempered my Stark-loathing, I remain dubious of the character's ability to carry his own films, a concern that seemed preposterous after 'Iron Man.'"
"It's all about context, and for that reason I'm going with Disney/Pixar's 'Cars 2.' While hardly the most popular film in Pixar's oeuvre, to me the first film is one of the studios finest, and a genuinely enlightening examination of an America lost forever; a veritable 'Last Picture Show' for minors if you will. The sequel, seemingly shot in to production solely on the basis that the property is amongst Disney's greatest merchandise-hawkers, has nothing to say about the world in which it was released (that in itself is unusual for the Emeryville gang). 'Cars' felt like a genuinely intimate tale from digi-Walt John Lasseter, and his most personal project since the Pixar bods hit the big time, while the second film is little more than a rehashed Bond parody more suited to one of the studio's lesser contemporaries than the greatest animation house of the modern age. As for that all important context, well, 'Cars 2' marked Pixar's first falter, and proved the studio fallible, a disturbance that ought not be ignored either."
"I have been trying, dear readers, to come up with a worse sequel than 1985's 'The Jewel of the Nile,' but man, that might be the Plato's Cave of awful movie follow-ups. With all the loose ends, character arcs and romantic tension wrapped up by the end of Robert Zemeckis' 'Romancing the Stone,' about as classic a romance-comedy-adventure as has ever been produced, it fell to poor Lewis Teague ('Cujo') to jumpstart the frivolity once again with that hackneyed storytelling chestnut: now Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner) and Jack Colton (Michael Douglas) are TOO happy! So they jump into a pointless, unfunny, embarrassingly plotted quest into a fictional African country to find the eponymous jewel — the identity of which is absurd — and overall embarrass everyone involved and all the fans of the original, classic movie. Honorable mention goes to 2005's 'The Legend of Zorro,' which may be one of the most annoying films ever made, and loses even more points for coming from Martin Campbell, the same director who knocked 'The Mask of the Zorro' out of the park seven years prior."
"It's low-hanging fruit, but 'Batman and Robin' really is soul-crushingly terrible. I'd go into further detail, except even contemplating that goddamn thing is painful."
"'Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous' with Sandra Bullock is so threadbare and lame-brained that it’s absolutely disgusting, and so are the costumes. The last 45 minutes in particular were among the longest 45 minutes of my life."
"This is a knee-jerk response simply because it's recent and still stings a bit to think about, but for me it's gotta be 'Taken 2.' That lukewarm mess, to put it lightly, was a supreme letdown and did everything one could possibly do wrong with a sequel. Was it the worst sequel ever made? Not quite, that would be 'Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull' (God I effing hate that movie) but 'Taken 2' sure was a kick in the teeth to anyone who fell in love with the surprisingly effective novelty of the first 'Taken.' And my second answer was a toss up between 'Spider-Man 3' and 'Spaceballs 2: The Search For More Money.' 'SM3' was atrocious but the only thing wrong with 'Spaceballs 2' is that they never made it. Crime of the century if you ask me."
"I'm sure there are worse sequels, but the one that immediately comes to mind is 'Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2.' I remember seeing it in theaters when I was 12 or 13 (I know, I'm young), and thought it was extremely shitty then, way before I started to develop a cinematic palate and 'taste' (which is still questionable at times). I think I caught it playing on TV a few years back and started watching it for nostalgia's sake, and — wow — it's incomprehensible that anyone would think making that movie was a good idea."
"My answer is one I know not to be true, however I'll write it anyway as it was the first film that popped into my head when I read the question: 'Ocean's Twelve.' A terrible mess of a film that completely lacks everything that made the original such a delight. Aside from Vincent Cassel dancing his way through laser beams, everything else in this film was an embarrassing, incoherent, and self-indulgent mess. Perhaps expectations and my love for the first has contributed to a stance that may be more extreme than others, however while I may ultimately backtrack on 'worst,' it was absolutely one of the most disappointing."
"Forget worst sequels. The director who single-handedly killed two thriving franchises was Brett Ratner. 'X-Men: The Last Stand' ground the Marvel Comics franchise to a screeching halt, inexplicably killing two of the series leads and overstuffing the film with new mutants. Both decisions robbed the audience of anyone to identify with outside of Anna Paquin's underused Rogue and Hugh Jackman's Wolverine, who jumped ship to his own spinoff franchise. (That original franchise director Singer is offering a kind of corrective in the upcoming sequel to the 'X-Men: First Class' reboot is welcome news.) Four years earlier, Ratner helmed 'Red Dragon,' a naked attempt at cashing in on the popularity of Anthony Hopkins' Hannibal Lecter after he had been used with great effectiveness in 'Silence of the Lambs' and the lesser but still vastly underrated 'Hannibal,' Ridley Scott's operatic hagiography. Assigning 'Red Dragon' to Ratner was an ill-advised move considering whose footsteps he'd be following: Scott, Jonathan Demme, and Michael Mann, director of 'Red Dragon''s first iteration, 'Manhunter.'"
"I know we all like to joke about sequels and prequels so bad that we try not to even acknowledge them in a franchise or series' canon, if for no other reason than it's too painful to remember sitting through something so horrendous that was a part of something we once had a great deal of affection for. That's why I've got to go with 'Superman IV: The Quest For Peace.' Remember how the first one made you believe a mean could fly? Then they followed it up with one of best comic book movies ever made – 'Superman II' – whichever cut you prefer, producing one of the greatest villains we've seen in a superhero flick, Terrence Stamp's General Zod, and introducing an identity crisis within the Man of Steel. Then, it got worse, introducing Richard Pryor into the Superman universe, and we thought we'd hit rock bottom. That is, until 'Superman IV.' Why is 'Superman IV' the worst? Two words: Lenny Luthor. Okay, how about two more words? Nuclear Man. And two more words should do the trick: radioactive fingernails. Okay, no more. Just recalling those elements is too painful. Christopher Reeve deserved a hell of a lot better than to go out with this as his final film donning the cape."
"So many possibilities — 'Caddyshack II,' any of the 'Police Academy' follow-ups — but I'll go with 'Beyond the Poseidon Adventure,' a tacky, low-budget rip-off of the classic original, where the inside of the ship suddenly becomes badly lit and unconvincingly leaky. An even worse pairing of Michael Caine and Sally Field than the subsequent Cannon Films rom-com 'Surrender.'"
"The list of truly egregious sequels is long, of course, but I think for something truly, historically abysmal it has to be a sequel that in some ways actually retroactively makes the film that it's proceeding worse. Thankfully, this kind of time-traveling black magic is a rare occurrence, but some flicks try hard to kill the legacy of what came before. 'Blues Brothers 2000' comes far closer than it should to sullying the magnificence of the original, and 'Staying Alive' does make some of the more genuinely interesting cinematic moments in 'Saturday Night Fever' seem more dumb than they should be. Forget the usually whipping boys, I'll gladly defend 'Phantom Menace' and 'Godfather Part III' for being decent on their own terms, despite much public protest about both. If I'm to choose one awful sequel above (below?) all it'll be the film that to this day still annoys the hell out of me. 'Jaws: The Revenge' is a film I haven't seen it for decades, but it's likely the one work that really opened my eyes fully to the callous nature of the needless sequel. Bonus demerits for being among a line of sequels that blithely pretend that previous sequels didn't happen (i.e. 'Jaws 3D') while adding its own, almost unimaginably stupid additions to the franchise. Here's a hint, if your lead character is a mom who things a shark is targeting her family, try moving the family to Idaho next time, not the goddamn Bahamas. Gosh, I haven't seen it since the late '80s and it still makes me angry just typing about it. It manages to poison (if only slightly) the deliberate menace of Spielberg's brilliant original, poisoning the water just enough that it becomes a kind of aesthetic crime. The fact that both these films occupy the same ocean, both literal and metaphoric, is reason enough to wish for a world where we could go back in time and remove this blight from the history of cinema. 'Jaws: The Revenge' doesn't deserve to be called 'Jaws.' Hell, it doesn't even deserve to be called a film."
"I haven't seen all that many truly bad films, but the one sequel I was most disappointed in was 'The Hangover Part II.' The film is funny. And it does some interesting things. But the idea that it takes nearly the exact same narrative and does it again feels cheap when you are actually watching the film. I was a supporter of the idea of doing the same thing again when the simple premise was first revealed. If you can make me laugh by doing a single joke, why not give me another similar one? Well, that just doesn't work for a film, at least in this execution. There are so many interesting dynamics in play within the Wolfpack that just were never explored and instead the film devolved into ultimately finding Doug. The first film felt fresh, funny, and hip."
"I've seen few films more hateful than 'The Hangover Part II,' but I've never seen a sequel that actively decimated the legacy of the first film quite like 'Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.' I could have forgiven its utter lack of structure, its painful script, its boring performances, its multitude of horrifically on-the-nose visual symbolism — all of these things could have made it simply another terrible sequel. However, it boggles my mind that no one was able to stop Oliver Stone from actively castrating his most iconic character at the film's end, in which the legendary Gordon Gekko donates all of his money to a progressive cause and becomes a generous loving grandfather. Even writing these words, I'm in utter disbelief, and I revisited my old review to make sure I wasn't misremembering it. It's those final twenty minutes that earn 'WS:$NS' the worst sequel of all time."
"Horror films aren't really known for their stellar sequels, but even in this checkered genre one film stands above (or maybe far below) the rest: 'Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2.' With none of the creative minds from the first entry returning, the film comes off as a poorly executed market grab by someone who probably never saw the original movie. Never ever watch this thing."
"I tend to be extremely first person in these Criticwire Surveys and I see no reason to stop now. My answer is a film that, who the heck knows, might actually be good. All I can tell you is that when I saw it I had a little bit of my innocence shattered. That film is Wim Wenders' 'Faraway, So Close!' When I was a young lad my parents, condemning me to a life of personal satisfaction but chronic insolvency, sent me away to Boston University's 'film camp.' It was there where my inchoate cineaste tendencies hit overdrive, and I gobbled up a number of arthouse and cult classics. Among them, Wim Wenders' 'Wings of Desire.' The film floored me, and this was a gateway drug to Wenders' back catalogue as well as others' in the German New Wave (and the deadpan humor of Jim Jarmusch and some of the early Queer cinema, but that connection would be too involved to explain and you aren't paying me for this). Anyway, I came back to high school with a VHS dub of 'WOD' and forced it on everyone. My then girlfriend feigned interest but I let that slide because she was willing to hold my hand at the mall. Time moved on (and 'Until the End of the World' was released) and I made my way to NYU's Film Program (oh, again, the poor parents who should have forced me to go to law school). There, an announcement: Wim Wenders was coming to the (now long gone) Loeb Student Center and bringing his new movie with him. A sequel! A sequel to 'Wings of Desire!' I was first on line and many of my young art house chums were with me. Then we saw the film.
THUD. Holy crap, what foolishness. A totally pointless film. Not engaging, not funny, not original. And we called him a sellout. Instead of Nick Cave there was Lou Reed (who does basically nothing.) Instead of Peter Falk (and, my God, is that not the greatest bit of casting every) there's Willem Dafoe speeding around on a motorcycle as some inexplicable, otherworldly being. Frankly, I don't remember too many facts about the movie. I just remember my disappointment, and my surprise that the director of 'Alice in the Cities' could be convinced to do something so low as to cash-in on a sequel to his most important film (note: I am aware of how ridiculous the conceit is of any Wim Wenders film being considered as 'cashing in'). I should probably see the movie again, but that night really made an impression on me. So much that it took me a year before I made a cassette dub of my friend's copy of the soundtrack."
"Worst sequel ever? Gotta be 'Blair Witch 2,' which went out of its way to debunk and destroy the careful myth-spinning of the original. Way to smother a franchise in its cradle, guys!"
"It might be a little to familiar and obvious with all the news lately, but is there any other answer besides 'Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace?' No other movie in history had the sort of religious anticipation pre-release that one did, and no other movie in history let so many people down once it came out. It made tons of money since people had to go back just to make sure what they saw wasn't actually that bad, but unfortunately it was. Judging by the shear reactions you get from 'Star Wars' fanboys when you mention the prequels, I'd say it is a lock for the worst sequel ever."
"As far as 'why was this made' I'd go 'The Two Jakes' or 'A Christmas Story 2' (the first one as well as the second one). But it's probably one of those 'Starship Troopers' straight-to-DVD sequels."
"'Universal Soldier 4.'"
"I'm going to answer this a little differently in a way that'll probably upset people. I think Martin Scorsese's 'The Color of Money' is a pretty good and well-made flick, but in terms of it being a sequel to 'The Hustler,' it is probably one of the strangest and misguided films ever made. The opening 10 minutes of the film sets up a perfect set of dice for the rest of the movie, as well as the relaxed energy that Scorsese brings so fluidly with his camera. But that is not Fast Eddie Felson on screen, even if it is Paul Newman playing him. The ending to 'The Hustler' suggests a mournful and melancholic lament for a man finally realizing his own lies that he's sold himself. Even as Felson wins, he's losing in every way except in his own dignity. To imagine him going off to run a bar and teach an ace kid how to be his old self never fits with the character Newman made iconic. It seems only a name relation than anything else. Sequels don't have to necessarily follow the themes or styles of their predecessors (see the 'Alien' and 'Mission: Impossible' franchise), but there has to be something that ties them together, and 'The Color of Money' in no way resembles the world and environment of 'The Hustler.'"
"The Worst Sequel Ever Made? And I have to narrow it down to one? So many times have producers gone back to the well, hoping to mine any leftover gold when they have produced a hit; most often, their sequels are mere shadows of what inspired them. But then there's 'Staying Alive,' a total misstep of a follow up to the engaging tale of yearning (with a great soundtrack), 'Saturday Night Fever.' Who could forget John Travolta strutting down that Brooklyn Avenue, or striking a pose on the dance floor in his snappy white suit? Well, Sylvester Stallone did, when he helmed this follow up. Oh sure, 'Staying Alive' picks up the storyline of our Tony, now a few years older and still desperate to make it as a professional dancer. But, buffed to a gloss, both the star and the attitude here feel more bulked up than meaningful. All the charm and affecting angst of the original disappear under a muscle-fed series of ordinary scenes and worse musical numbers. Most sequels come across as unnecessary; this one, just all wrong. So I guess, by its faults, 'Staying Alive,' is my winner."
"I have to say 'Grease 2,' even though I love it and know every word and every song. I can't even tell you how many times I watched it as a kid — I feel like it was constantly on cable one summer. Michelle Pfeiffer singing and dancing to 'Cool Rider' is deliciously terrible but a lot of the songs — like 'Score Tonight' and 'Girl for All Seasons' — are really rather catchy. In retrospect I realize that it's clunky, stiff and unfunny, and an example of the worst kind of sequel: a shameless attempt to cash in on a phenomenon a second time. But I still can't resist."
"This is a tough one — so many to choose from. 'Highlander 2' is perhaps the best example of showing a breathtaking disregard for fans of the original. It completely rewrote the first film’s mythology, which may have been forgivable if the makers hadn’t created such a woefully inept alternative premise, which rendered the sequel completely unwatchable. Just horrible. 'Batman and Robin' takes the top spot, though. A monumental failure on every conceivable level. No wonder Nolan scored big with 'Batman Begins.' The pressure he felt having to relaunch the franchise following that calamity must have been minuscule."
"There have been some truly wretched sequels, and while I have a somewhat soft spot for 'Caddyshack II' (Matt can forward the hate mail to me), I definitely don't for 'Batman and Robin,' which is rather atrocious. When George Clooney consistently is apologizing for being in your sequel, you know you've done something extremely wrong. Any sequel than can make you long for the days of 'Batman Forever' is pretty bad in my book."
"I wrote a whole answer to this question where I referenced 'Wayne's World 2,' 'City Slickers: the Legend of Curly's Gold' (comedy sequels are terrible, almost as a rule), 'The Matrix Reloaded,' and 'Ocean's Twelve' (specifically for the scene where the character played by Julia Roberts gets mistaken for Julia Roberts). But then I erased it all when I remembered 'Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.' Holy hell was that terrible. Some of the most illustrative moments: 'I know it sounds like 'Star Wars,' love, but… this could be your chance to be Captain America!' 'He can't just take his ball and go home. He has to piss on the whole game first.' The article Carey Mulligan writes entitled 'Laser Fusion: The Future of the Sun's Power and the Power of My Son's Future.' 'Wall Street 2' is so mind-blowingly awful I'm convinced Oliver Stone must've had an aneurysm halfway through production. As did any critic who recommended it (*cough*) Ebert! (*cough, cough*)."
"When I first read this question, a lot of the obvious choices came immediately to mind: 'Grease 2,' 'Caddyshack II,' 'Staying Alive,' etc. I can't pick any of those, though, because I at least understand them on some level. They are sequels to classic films; who wouldn't want to try to capture lightning in a bottle twice? For my money, it's harder to forgive a sequel to a movie that wasn't so hot to begin with, and so I am going to choose 'The Whole Ten Yards.' When it was released in 2000, 'The Whole Nine Yards' was a mid-level hit ($57 million at the box office) and, at best, a mildly amusing comedy. Certainly nothing to write home about. For some unknown reason, four years later, a sequel was released. There was nowhere for the story to go after the original, so the filmmakers engaged in some of the worst contrivances ever to bring all the characters back together again. Even the title is desperate. In addition to the listless, idiotic plot, there was nary a laugh to be found anywhere, so unformed was the material. Stars Matthew Perry and Bruce Willis performed as though their agents were right off camera, holding up the contracts that legally obligated them to appear in this sorry sequel. Why does 'The Whole Ten Yards' even exist? Is there anyone anywhere who came out of the first one clamoring for more? This thoroughly unnecessary and unwanted sequel remains one of the most excruciating movie-watching experiences I've ever had. And I sat through 'Freddy Got Fingered' and 'Movie 43.'"
"Hollywood has produced more bad sequels than good ones, but only a truly wretched sequel can make it more difficult to enjoy the original film it was based on. And since prequels seem to fall outside the scope of this question — consider yourself lucky, George Lucas — I'll cast my vote for the near-incomprehensible theatrical cut of 'Highlander 2: The Quickening.' 'Highlander 2''s sins are legion, but worst by far is the revelation that the series' immortals were actually aliens from the planet Zeist — a revelation so nonsensical (and potentially) franchise-ruining that the film was recut into the marginally better 'Renegade Version,' which eliminated all references to aliens, just four years after its release. But even if the original version of 'Highlander 2' was retconned into oblivion more than 15 years ago, I still can't watch the first 'Highlander' movie without some irritating part of my brain going, 'aliens aliens aliens' every time Christopher Lambert or Sean Connery is on screen."
"Warner Bros. must have been drunk when they green-lit 'The Hangover Part II,' or at least so wasted that they forgot what made the first flick a hit. Instead of the original's sense of loopy danger, the second tries for shocks, but is really just beat-by-beat mimicry — trading Vegas for Thailand and subbing out the baby for a monkey doesn't make up for the oppressive torture porn of watching Ed Helms suffer through anotherfacial disfigurement. (Or worse, that his ultra-passive Asian fiancee is, like, totally cool that he shows up to their wedding with Mike Tyson's tattoo.) There's only one way the sequel could have worked: If clingy Zach Galifianakis had become an evil Jigsaw-like mastermind determined to repeat the best weekend of his life. Seriously, imagine him as the villain and the whole flick could almost make sense. Then again, since 'The Hangover Part II' made even more money than the first, it pains me to say that it kinda worked after all."
"I have to go with 'Escape From L.A.' for the simple reason of the absolute love and admiration I have for 'Escape From New York.' So much of this movie sounds cool on paper; Pam Grier as a transexual gang leader and a Disneyland-esque (before 'Escape From Tomorrow') showdown with a character named Cuervo Jones. But none of it works, and at the end of the day 'Escape From L.A.' is just another disappointing post-'They Live' entry in John Carpenter's filmography."
"There are so many lazy, cash-grabbing sequels to choose from. While I'm tempted to lambast something like 'Caddyshack II,' 'Weekend at Bernie's 2,' 'Blues Brothers 2000' or any of the pointless sequels that tried to capitalize on one-off, successful comedies from the early- to mid-80s, I think the most offensively bad sequel I've ever seen is 'The Whole Ten Years,' a putrid follow-up to the already dim Bruce Willis-Matthew Perry pairing that nobody asked for. For some reason, 'Ten' decides to be mean in all of the places that a comedy usually goes for funny, and the lack of a plot only gives Willis, Kevin Pollak and Amada Peet more rope with which to riff vile punchlines. 'Ten,' at the very least, killed the concept of Perry as a viable movie star, but it still ranks as the worst sequel I can recall having to endure."
"You're really reaping the whirlwind, aren't you? So many to choose from. Okay, for today, I'll say 'Batman and Robin,' the sequel that not only destroyed a franchise, but a directorial career as well."
"Sam Raimi's 'Spider-Man 3' might not be the worst sequel ever made, but it's certainly one of the most disappointing. 'Spider-Man 2' is one of the rare sequels that is actually better than the original, and is quite arguably one of the better superhero films ever made. This third entry is missing everything that made the second film great. It's unfocused, convoluted, has way too many characters (especially villains) and is missing the charm from the first two films. The action sequences are fine but I can never forgive the 'Emo' Parker dance montage. I just can't. Usually, it's when a new filmmaker takes over a franchise where you see a decline in quality or a complete change of tone, but 'Spider-Man 3' really feels like Raimi was becoming bored with the material, and the quality of the final product shows."
"This opens up a lot of possibility. Just last year, you had two sequels that were completely awful but in different ways: 'Wrath of the Titans' was just an empty nothing that couldn't even deliver the visceral hatred its predecessor generated, and 'Silent Hill: Revelation' was quite deliberate in jettisoning everything that made the original film interesting and enduring. But as for the very worst sequel ever — it's got to be 'Zombie 5: Killing Birds.' The title is wrong in four different ways, which is almost impressive."
"There are so many choices, sadly, and I’m sure I won’t be alone in mine: 'Batman and Robin.' I haven’t seen the film since 2008, when it was shown on TNT to tie into the release of 'The Dark Knight,' and yet I still remember being gobsmacked anew at its cringing awfulness. Arnold Schwarzenegger, as Mr. Freeze, is almost so bad he’s brilliant with all the howlingly bad one-liners in the script. But the whole film is just so painful to watch, from Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy to Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl to George Clooney — who I imagine would love to destroy each copy of this film if he could, a la George Lucas and the 'Star Wars Holiday Special' — as the new Batman. Considering how people got so annoyed that Sony rebooted the Spider-Man series only five years after 'Spider-Man 3,' it’s worth noting that no one was nearly as vociferous when Warner Bros. did so with Batman. Everyone rightly wanted to forget about this atrocious excuse for a movie."
"While answering this, I realized that I haven't actually seen most of the usual 'worst sequel ever' contenders. For some reason I've just never been able to work 'Speed 2' or 'Blues Brothers 2000' into my schedule. However, I have seen a lot of godawful slasher sequels, and for my money the godawfulest of them all is Ronny Yu's 'Freddy vs. Jason.' The title teases fans, then the movie spits in their collective face; yes, it's the final word in 'be careful what you wish for' filmmaking. It's just as ugly or incoherent as any of the 17 movies that preceded it, but without a shred of their low-rent charm. I can't decide which of the film's sins is most egregious: Jason's sudden fear of water, which flies in the face of every other 'Friday the 13th' movie, or Freddy's metamorphosis into a caterpillar via some truly reprehensible CGI. Or maybe it's the sheer temerity of being the worst entry in two different franchises with equally spotty records. Pointedly ephemeral, pointlessly convoluted, 'Freddy vs. Jason' deserves to be shamed until the end of time. (Sliding narrowly into second place: 'Halloween: Resurrection.')"
"I'm still pissed at how bad 'Cocoon: The Return' was. Not only did it have no reason to exist, but in existing, it ruined the happy ending of the first one."
"Speaking of ghosts: I remember my very first bitter disappointment in a sequel that must have made me suspicious of them ever since. As a child, on TV in the 80s, I had seen 'Topper,' the spirited 1937 comedy directed by Norman Z. McLeod, with Cary Grant and Constance Bennett as devil-may-care ghosts playing tricks on a puzzled Roland Young as Mr. Topper, and loved it. 'Topper Returns' with Roland Young, directed by Roy Del Ruth, was released in 1941 but shown on my TV only a week later. To great dismay, there was no Cary Grant, no Constance Bennett, and a much more subdued kind of fun. The world was at war, and reckless ghosts in evening gowns sipping cocktails were no longer appropriate. Clearly for me, the first 'worst sequel ever made,' 'Topper Returns' at least left an impact. Something I cannot say about most of them."
"Well, for a film to be a bad sequel you have to take into account how good the first film is. There's plenty of bad movies that have even worse sequels. Then you have totally unnecessary sequels ('Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows,' 'American Psycho 2,' 'S. Darko'). However, for a film that's genuinely and widely accepted as good to have a bad sequel, that's a different list all together. For my money, something like 'Jaws: The Revenge,' 'The Lost World: Jurassic Park,' and/or 'Jurassic Park III' (coincidentally all sequels to Steven Spielberg movies… which he directed one of) would be prime examples of bad sequels to good movies. Now, if they had only added 'Electric Boogaloo' to the end of the title on all those films."
"'Grown Ups 2.'"
"Wow. So many good answers, plus I haven't seen such notoriously bad sequels as 'Troll 2' and 'Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2.' In the end I'll pick 'The Crow: City of Angels,' directed by Tim Pope and starring Vincent Perez. Alex Proyas' 'The Crow' hasn't aged well, but it has a distinctive look, competent action scenes, and a magnetic performance from the late Brandon Lee (who died during filming after being accidentally shot with a live round). The sequel has a stunning lack of action for an action movie, and what action we do get is filmed cheaper than a syndicated television series. Perez's thick French accent hinders all attempts to deliver real emotion. Worst of all, Proyas' gritty Gothic Detroit is replaced by a Los Angeles that is drenched in orange and yellow light, giving the impression that Miramax took the first movie and literally urinated all over it. I'm a glutton for bad movie punishment, but this remains the only film that I've ever walked out of."