In the wake of the possibility that the critically-acclaimed Joker could get a sequel, we look at five follow-ups that really weren’t necessary…
Mulan 2 (2004)
Directors: Darrell Rooney and Lynne Southerland
The first Mulan (1998) is an incredible film that tells the story of a young woman in China who must take her ailing father’s place in the war. The animation is gorgeous, the characters are charming and the music is catchy. However, the sequel doesn’t have the same magic.
Whilst the animation is good, the story is bland. The songs are basically copied from the first film, and “A Girl Worth Fighting For” is literally repeated. Whereas the first Mulan shows a strong woman who will do anything for her country, the sequel shows Mulan as a weak woman in love. Mushu is ruined as he sabotages Mulan and is essentially the villain. Mulan 2 is a cash grab for Disney, and it completely invalidates the first film that is beloved to so many.
Dumb and Dumber To (2014)
Directors: Bobby and Peter Farrelly
Dumb and Dumber (1994) showed Jim Carrey at the height of his fame and when his humour best fit society. The comedic duo of Harry and Lloyd end up getting into shenanigans, and this worked well 25 years ago. The humour of the film was never ground-breaking, but it had smart and iconic moments.
Sadly, the sequel is utterly terrible. It starred the original cast and took six writers to develop the script, but it’s just a rehash of the jokes from the first film, and they don’t translate well to a modern audience. Ironically, the prequel Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd (2003) is arguably better and it’s not even that great.
The Crow: City of Angels (1996)
Director: Tim Pope
The Crow (1994) was intended to be the first installment of a franchise. It followed a rock musician who is revived to avenge the rape and murder of his fiancée as well as his own murder. Unfortunately, the main actor of the film, Brandon Lee, was killed during the filming when a stunt went wrong with only eight days left on set.
It was finished due to the magic of Hollywood and was left as a tribute to the deceased, with great reviews that praised the emotional depths of the character and Lee’s talent. The sequel, The Crow: City of Angels, is literally the same premise repeated in a different setting that doesn’t capture the energy of the first film. It feels like bad writing and overacting, and it’s disrespectful to the first film that remembers Brandon Lee.
Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000)
Director: Joe Berlinger
The Blair Witch Project (1999) shocked audiences and changed horror films by pioneering the ‘found-footage’ film and blurring the line between fact and fiction. When the film came out, it had tricked people into thinking that it was a documentary. For years, people questioned it.
Naturally, the studio wanted a sequel, but the follow-up, Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, is nothing like the original. It is shot differently as it chooses the usual style of movie and follows a group of people obsessed with the first film and them going to where it all started. There is nothing special about this film – it’s just your typical flat horror film. The first film was an indie classic that redefined the horror genre, but this film was just a complete sell-out.
Mean Girls 2 (2011)
Director: Melanie Mayron
Mean Girls (2004) is a cult classic that has been enshrined in pop-culture. Iconic and quotable, it describes the clichés of high school and the damaging effects they have on people. It’s one of the smartest teen-comedies alongside Clueless (1995) and 10 Things I Hate About You (1999).
Mean Girls 2 isn’t the worst film of all time, but it’s a sequel that shouldn’t have been made or had the Mean Girls name attached to it. As a standalone film, it’s mediocre. Compared to the first film, it’s a train-wreck. The sequel is a diluted, family-friendly version of the first film with bad writing and even worse acting. It’s what you’d expect for a TV movie and shouldn’t have ever been associated with Mean Girls.
By Charlie Vogelsang