‘Blade Runner 2049’ Is Better Than ‘Blade Runner’ (and More of James Gunn’s Best Sequel Picks)

Gunn's list of superior sequels include Denis Villeneuve's "Blade Runner" follow-up, Nolan's "The Dark Knight," and del Toro's "Blade II."
Blade Runner 2049
"Blade Runner 2049"
Warner Bros.

James Gunn has reignited the debate over sequels that are better than their predecessors with his list of 27 second films that outdo the first. The “Guardians of the Galaxy” filmmaker published his list on social media, noting James Cameron’s “Aliens” is not included because “it’s an unarguable fact that ‘Alien’ and ‘Aliens’ are equal.” So which sequels are superior? Gunn declares Denis Villeneuve’s “Blade Runner 2049” is better than Ridley Scott’s landmark 1982 original, a controversial opinion that is sure to have its detractors. No-brainers on the list include Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” beating “Batman Begins” and “Empire Strikes Back” outdoing the original “Star Wars.”

Gunn’s list includes several superhero movies, including “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Superman II,” and Guillermo del Toro’s “Blade II.” As the director noted in a follow-up post, “You’ll notice a disproportionate amount of superhero movies on this list. The reason is origin stories are often boring and can be an extra element jammed into a story about a superhero vs. a bad guy, instead of being an organic part of the story.”

The inclusion of “T2: Judgement Day” earned Gunn at least one high profile detractor: “The Invisible Man” director Leigh Whannell. The filmmaker responded to Gunn, “I never react emotionally to Best Of lists because it’s all subjective and fun, but my body shuddered with a Conan-esque rage fire when you said ‘Terminator 2’ is better than ‘Terminator.'”

Gunn also defended keeping “Back to the Future Part II” off his list, writing, “I’m getting a lot of people saying BTTF2 is better than the original. Not even close. The original is one of the greatest pop films ever made.”

Gunn took a break from editing “The Suicide Squad” to share his best sequels list. The director revealed that he was able to set up a post-production studio in his home before Hollywood went into lockdown, so he’s not envisioning any release delay for the comic book film. Warner Bros. is set to release “The Suicide Squad” in theaters August 6, 2021. Gunn said he is editing the film now and remains on schedule, adding the only thing that might get delayed is a trailer release.

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