Not all sequels have subtitles or creative names. The second Back to the Future is simply called “Back to the Future Part II.” The second Ride Along is just “Ride Along 2.” This suffices, I suppose, but there is no art to these titles. Now, I am not enough a connoisseur of the history of film to create a power rankings of the best movie sequel titles of all time, as I would undoubtedly leave a few out. However, I would just like to share a bunch of my favorites, and why exactly they’re so great.
It’s important to note that in my opinion, any change or subtitle is preferable to no change or subtitle at all. A lot of these objectively suck, but upon reflection, are amazing.
• Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel
I would be perfectly okay if every sequel from now until the end of time had the subtitle “The Squeakquel.” It makes me smile just thinking about it. I have never seen Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (while I have seen the original — a discussion for another time), but I can tell you for certain that its title goes for it. It makes no bones about how much squeaking is going to happen in this movie. Also, let this first entry set the tone of the fact that I have not seen a great deal of these films.
• Speed 2: Cruise Control
When I pitched the idea for this entry to my suitemate Nick, this was the first one he came up with. And for good reason. Not only is “cruise control” a common phrase, it is also the plot of the film. They are literally trying to control a cruise ship. In just 4 words, I get that this is a sequel to Speed and that they will be controlling a cruise. I sure hope that the title was not the reason Keanu chose not to return, or else I’ve lost serious respect for the man.
• Die Hard with a Vengeance
There are plenty of great sequel titles to choose from in the Die Hard franchise, and if I run out of steam before reaching my goal of — I don’t know — 50,000 words, I might add them to this list, but this one has got to be my favorite. Like many others, it just lets you know the plot from the get-go. What is this one about? Someone is taking vengeance, you can discern from the title. And wouldn’t you know it, the villain in this one is the villain from the first one’s brother! The added stakes both make the film (which I quite enjoy) and the title that much better.
• Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention a film that is only known by me and most people because of its incredible subheading. I have no earthly idea what the movie is about, nor do I want to know. There is no way it can hold up to the joy that the words “Electric Boogaloo” bring to my soul. Not to mention the fact that they rhyme with “Breakin’ 2.” Truly masterful work.
You might think I’m crazy for honoring a title that literally just added one letter onto the original, but think about how it raises the stakes. You thought shit was crazy when there was one of these guys? Now there are multiple. You know Sigourney and company are in trouble. It’s also great because of how confusing it makes it to talk about the films. Like, if you mishear one syllable, the whole conversation goes to hell and handbasket, which is the real goal of any serious filmmaker.
• Rocky Balboa
Don’t kill me, but I must confess I’ve never watched a Rocky movie in its entirety. With that out of the way, let me say I love the power move of calling the sixth movie in your series the full name of the main character, despite his first name being the title of the first five. Because, in many ways, it’s like hitting the reset button, rather than going to six, but it also retains the essence of the series, and it is by no means a spin-off. Let’s move on, because I feel myself getting too sincere about why I like this one.
• The Final Destination
Another power move. You know that word they were using in all of the other titles to refer to something else? Well now, it refers to the fact that this is the last film in the franchise because of the word “The” in front of it. Isn’t it nuts how English works sometimes?
• Babe: Pig in the City
I don’t know why, but this one just brings a smile to my face. It’s a freakin’ pig… in the city! It just gets me excited. Additionally, and you might know this already, but this film, believe it or not, was co-written and directed by none other than George Miller, A.K.A. the guy who made all of the Mad Max movies. Speaking of which, a few of those have good sequel titles, so Mr. Miller may be making a reappearance. And I’m not being coy. I honestly don’t know what’s coming next, as it’s not like I plan ahead or anything.
• Analyze That
I know so little about the series of Analyze This and Analyze That except that their titles, when put together, are movie-making magic. Despite being made like a decade apart, they manage to have a conversation with each other, which is all we’re really trying to do in this life, right? Like others, this sequel title only works in relation to the original, which is not a knock on it. In fact, I think it makes it all the more special.
• Magic Mike XXL
The sequel to the highly-successful Magic Mike doesn’t shy away from what made the first one successful. What viewers want out of the sequel is not just another one, as “2” would signal, but they want it to be bigger, both from a figurative standpoint, and in regards to the size of the main cast’s packages. Many sequels say they go bigger in advertisements and whatnot, but this one promises it.
• Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
It is no secret that I am a sucker for replacing the word “to” with the number “2,” and this film does it well. Especially because the original, Journey to the Center of the Earth, used the word “to” in its usual form. This does get docked some points because, quite frankly, I don’t care how mysterious the island is, it can’t beat the center of the Earth. Thank god the Hunger Games happened or Josh Hutcherson’s career might have been best known for this vehicle.
• Teen Wolf Too
My love of misusing all of the forms of “to” goes all directions. This one works great because, in the film’s universe, the main character really is a teen wolf as well. His cousin, M.J. Fox’s character from the original was the first Teen Wolf, so, naturally, he’s a Teen Wolf Too. Great title, great marketing, and, as far as I can tell without seeing it, horrible film.
• For a Few Dollars More
This is of course, a classic western that I have never seen, as I would rather eat one of those solid tires that comes on forklifts than sit through a western, but boy does it have a good title. The first is called A Fistful of Dollars, so naturally, in the sequel, they go for a few dollars more.
• 2 Fast 2 Furious
If you thought they were fast or furious in the first installment, wait until you see this one. They are too fast and too furious this time. One thing sequels do really well — or poorly, depending on how you enjoy movies — is be more excessive than their predecessor. This movie lets you know from the title that it will be doing it. Those things you love about the original (namely the fastness and furiousness) will overwhelm you in this one. Good call, guys.
Those are all of the ones I can think of off the top of my head, but of course, if you have any others in mind, let me know in the comment section. Follow this blog for more, stupid pop culture shit just like this.