It has been a long-standing rule that "sequels suck". "Jaws 3", "Rocky V", "Batman & Robin", "Book of Shadows - Blair Witch 2", "Phantom Menace", "Grease 2", "Caddyshack II", "Halloween II", "Indiana Jones & The Temple of Doom", "Rambo First Blood Part 2", "MIB II", "Little Mermaid 2", "Aladdin 2"... etc., etc.
For every movie sequel that has equalled , I'm sure you can name a dozen that totally flopped. Traditionally, sequels to great movies have been quickly thrown off as half-baked afterthoughts, aimed to cheaply wring out a few more bucks from the original. They tend to flick through the cut-rate movie theaters and hit the video stores pretty quickly.
I have a little theory on this, if you're curious. Most great movies are great because they're original and creative. The mysterious magic that makes a truly great film is hard to understand, and almost impossible to reproduce. Inexplicable combinations of talent come together by chance and work something special, and then it's gone. The truly perfect moments of life cannot be created.
But there is a whole new category of modern blockbusters that aren't like that. I've got three perfect examples - "Harry Potter", "Lord of The Rings", and "Spider-Man". The magic in these movies is different. These are huge budget films made by top craftsmen. These movies are good, but not by chance, or fate. They're good because guys like Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson are given the time, money and resources to achieve their best.
We're not talking "Blair Witch", "American Beauty" or "Star Wars" here. These aren't desparate guys with a dream, or a quirky script. These are megalithic corporations with big bucks and a guaranteed hit topic. Failure is not an option. These guys have paid for three good movies in a row, and they're damned well gonna get them, or people will be waking up with horses head's in at the feet of their bed. Speaking of which, did we mention that "Godfather III" was crap too?
I've seen "Harry Potter: Chamber of Secrets", and it was every bit as good as the first. "The Two Towers" opens here in a week or so, and I've got twenty bucks says it's going to match the first in every way. And I'm going to stick my neck out here and say that while "Spider-Man 2" isn't going to have the quirky freshness that the first episode achieved, I'm sure that in terms of action, passion, special effects and snappy lines, you're not going to feel short-changed when you leave the cinema at the end of that movie either.