We’ve seen more sequels released the last few years than we have in a long time. While 2015 seems to continue that trend, last year showed that we shouldn’t automatically write off a film just because it’s a sequel. I’ve seen so many good sequels last year that it was finally time to designate an entire list to them. Sure I could write about 2014’s best actors or scenes, but I think it’s important to celebrate a sequel that gets it right.
Since we’re going to get so many more from here on out, let’s hope that future sequels will be as good as the five presented here.
Without further ado, here are my picks for The Top 5 Sequels of 2014.
Honorable Mentions: How to Train Your Dragon 2, The Raid 2: Berandal, Captain America: The Winter Soldier
5. X-Men: Days of Future Past
The X-Men series was in quite the pickle. As the seventh film in the ailing series, it had quite a bit to prove. Doing something I’ve never seen before, DoFP went and actively rebooted (as in, made “rebooting” a key plot to the newest film) the series in order to fix all of the issues fans have had with it. Not only pleasing comic book fans, but even casual moviegoers as it brought back all of the headliners and never once felt like the confusing mess it could have been. An interesting, and most importantly, successful experiment that showed off what comic book movies could truly be capable of.
Read our review of X-Men: Days of Future Past here.
4. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
The Hunger Games films have been steadily getting better at handling their themes, and it came to fruition with Part 1. Finally capitalizing on the promise of the series, Part 1 introduced many teenage movie fans to conflicting political ideologies, smaller facets of yellow journalism, and all while having the confidence to talk about things a bit. There hasn’t been any room in the series for conversation thus far, and that’s weird considering the books are nothing but Katniss talking to herself. This was a sequel that was willing to breathe for a bit and wallow in the messed up situation they’re in. It’s definitely the first film in which the Capitol seemed like an actual threat.
Read our review of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 here.
3. 22 Jump Street
Comedy sequels are a dime or dozen. For every 22 Jump Street we got in 2014, we also got Dumb and Dumber To, Horrible Bosses 2, and A Haunted House 2. While those lesser films tried to recreate the film that got them there, 22 Jump Street did that and made fun of themselves while doing it. Not once did they lie to their audience and say that the sequel was made for something other than money, or that it should exist at all. It was like saying “Hey we’re doing this, so let’s all just have some fun!” and that’s all I could ever want from a sequel, really.
And those title cards during the credits? Perfection.
Read our review of 22 Jump Street here.
2. The Purge: Anarchy
You know what makes a good sequel? Take a film that I wasn’t interested in before and completely reinvent the wheel to make it far more entertaining. By changing the direction of the series, from house invader horror to cheesy action thriller, adding Frank Grillo, and throwing a fine layer of hamfisted sociopolitical messages, you’ve got the best Grillo’d Cheese sandwich. For the first time in a long time, I find myself a lot more interested in annual sequels. Give me one every year this interesting, and I’ll never speak ill will toward #CrimeDay again.
Read our review of The Purge: Anarchy here.
1. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
“Apes. Together. Awesome” was the subtitle I used for my Dawn of the Planet of the Apes review, and it’s still one of my favorite things I’ve ever written. Dawn also happens to be my favorite movie of the Summer. It was thrilling, had several nice action bits, and looked amazing. Fixed most of the issues I had with Rise, and brought more Ape on Ape action. I ended up shouting “APEEEEEEEES” for several days after. I do not hate every ape I see, from chimpan-a to chimpanzee.
Hope the next film has Dr. Zaius.
Read our review of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes here.
What are your favorite sequels of 2014? Agree or disagree? Leave a comment below or hit me up on Twitter! Stay tuned through the rest of the week for more “Best Of” lists!