What do you think of movie sequels? Apparently, Kevin Costner doesn’t like them. In a recent interview, he expressed his belief that the writing often suffers when a follow up film is introduced. Because the screenplay is what attracts Costner to a movie, he has the tendency to pass on such projects.
Many of us don’t have such a specific reason for disliking sequels. Instead, we will resort to the general line of “the sequel is never better than the original” when discrediting a film that has a roman numeral after it. However, I try not to be so dismissive.
In my opinion, I think a sequel can oftentimes be better than its predecessor. If a movie is so good that it deserves a second (or third, fourth, etc.) part, then chances are that the new film is going to receive more resources to make it. That means a bigger budget. A bigger budget means better technology and better talent. It also means a larger contingent of writers or, in the case of Mr. Costner’s apprehension to participate in sequel projects, original writers who are even more motivated to produce a better screenplay because they are getting paid more.
But besides a fatter budget to make a movie, I enjoy sequels simply because they will always be more updated and modern than the original. This goes beyond the technology aspect I mentioned above. Movies that are made later more closely mirror the current reality we all live in. In other words, we can relate to them more. What’s not to like?
As long as a sequel is not rushed in production, I truly think it can be just as good or better than the original. I think many of us suffer from a psychological bias in that we have been told so much that the original is always better than the sequel that we blindly assume it to be true every time.
However, to be fair, I think there is another bias that makes us favor sequels. If we watch a sequel first and then watch the original, from my experiences, we are likely to declare that the second movie is better than the first. Just like with our tendency to give the original the nod over the sequel based simply on an old adage, this thinking also dismisses objective thinking.
Sequels have a place in cinema. However, I think they will always face an uphill battle from a critical standpoint. Now, should I end this blog post with a few sequels I think are better than their originals? Okay! In my opinion, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II (being serious here), The Birds II, Poltergeist 2, and Rocky II are all way better than thei first films. Do you have a favorite sequel? Let me know! Don’t Blink.