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Is Spider-Man 2 Better? 8 Sequels and Remakes That Outdo the Originals

We complain about sequels, remakes, and reboots all the time. And for good reason. A majority of them are absolutely terrible. Was anybody really clamoring for a “Robocop” remake or three “Jaws” sequels? No, but the studios keep making them.

Here’s the thing: we complain about the bad ones because they’re bad. But sometimes a sequel or remake surpasses the original so much that we forget it was based on something else, to begin with. In honor of the sequels and remakes that got it right, we’re listing our favorites thanks to a recent Reddit thread that went viral this week.

There are a lot to choose from, so we can’t promise your picks will be on our list. However, if you’re looking to watch or revisit some of the best sequels and remakes out there, this is a good place to start.

Spider-Man 2 (Sequel)

When Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” first hit theaters in 2002, it took the superhero movie genre to a whole new level. After “X-Men” in 2000, viewers and critics alike were finally starting to see the potential of superhero movies as legitimate entertainment.

“Spider-Man” was able to take that idea even further, offering a film that was both technically impressive and a hit with audiences. That is, of course, until “Spider-Man 2” blew that all out of the water. Picking up a year or so after the first film, “Spider-Man 2” is the definition of what a great sequel should be.

More action, more heart, more character development. Basically, more of everything without it feeling like too much (we’re looking at you, “Spider-Man 3”). The Doctor Octopus arc is one for the books and the train fight sequence is still one of the greatest movie scenes of all time.

The Wizard of Oz (Remake)

You might not know it because the 1939 version has become the definitive one, but “The Wizard of Oz” is actually a remake. By the time “The Wizard of Oz” hit theaters in 1939, multiple filmmakers had already tried and failed to bring L. Frank Baum’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” to the big screen.

It took time for moviemaking technology to catch up with Hollywood’s ambition to offer a definitive adaptation of Baum’s original novel. But when it all clicked in the late 30s, the result was an instant classic. The film went on to win two Oscars and currently ranks as the sixth-best movie of all time according to the American Film Institute.

The Dark Knight (Sequel)

No list of great sequels is complete without Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight.” The 2008 sequel to “Batman Begins” is arguably the greatest superhero movie ever made (besides “Spider-Man 2”) and just generally one of the best movies of all time.

Heath Ledger, who passed away a few months before the film premiered, won a posthumous Oscar for his portrayal of the Joker. Not only that, the film offers viewers a complex and morally ambiguous story about what is right, what is wrong, and the grey area in between.

“You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain,” is one of the most iconic movie quotes of all time. Also, when your movie starts with one of the greatest heist scenes ever, you know you’ve got a gem on your hands.

Evil Dead 2 (Sequel and Remake)

Another Sam Raimi sequel that surpasses the original, “Evil Dead 2” is a special case in that it’s both a sequel and a remake. See, Raimi was able to make the first “Evil Dead” movie in 1981 with basically no budget. However, when Raimi had a chance to do a sequel in 1987, he opted to more or less remake the original the way he intended to from the very start.

It’s fascinating to see a filmmaker return to their previous work in any capacity. But when it comes to something like “Evil Dead 2,” awesome feels like a more appropriate word. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as seeing a great director fulfill their vision. That’s exactly what “Evil Dead 2” is and why it continues to be popular today.

The Suicide Squad (Reboot/Sequel/Remake/Whatever)

Even more confusing than “Evil Dead 2” is James Gunn’s “The Suicide Squad,” a film that essentially retcons the 2016 original in favor of something much better. David Ayer’s first attempt at a Suicide Squad movie was universally panned by critics and fans alike. Literally, nobody liked this movie, not even the people who made it.

As a second attempt, “The Suicide Squad” is a major success. But it also struggles to fit in with the rest of the DC Extended Universe of superhero movies, which is already a mess to begin with.

It features some of the same actors playing the same characters while new actors sub in for the missing members of the original. It acknowledges the original film to some degree but also seems to exist in a timeline where that movie never happened. Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter because “The Suicide Squad” is easily the best DCEU movie to date.

The Thing (Remake)

John Carpenter’s 1982 remake of “The Thing” is so good, most people don’t even know it’s a remake. Much like David Cronenberg’s “The Fly” from 1986, “The Thing” is a hardcore, ultraviolent remake of a tame and goofy 1950s sci-fi film. 1951’s “The Thing from Another World” more or less has the same premise.

But where the original is a decently schlocky creature feature, Carpenter’s remake is one of the scariest and most disgusting movies of the 1980s…which is saying a lot if you know much about horror in the 80s. The story follows a group of researchers at a remote Arctic base who find themselves chasing a shape-shifting monster that’s hunting them down one by one.

40 years later, the blood test scene is still pure nightmare fuel. “The Thing” is a definitive work by one of horror’s greatest storytellers.

Shrek 2 (Sequel)

Shrek” is a classic, we know this. We also know that “Shrek the Third” and “Shrek Forever After” are, let’s say, less than stellar. But “Shrek 2” is arguably the best of them all. The 2004 sequel takes elements of the 2001 original and develops them in fresh and unexpected ways.

Where the first “Shrek” movie’s best moments rely on recognizing fairy tale characters we’ve known since childhood, “Shrek 2” takes those characters and incorporates them into something more than the sum of their parts. With all the setup out of the way, “Shrek 2” is able to explore its own universe in the way it deserves.

Additionally, the characters have much more to do, thanks to a screenplay that balances a fast-paced story with a large ensemble of fairies, dragons, princes, princesses, and talking mice. If that weren’t enough, the musical numbers are top notch.

Ocean’s Eleven (Remake)

Finally, we have Steven Soderbergh’s “Ocean’s Eleven,” a movie that is superior to the 1960 original in just about every way possible. Although it stars the original Rat Pack, the original “Ocean’s Eleven” is really not a good movie. The 2001 remake, on the other hand, is regarded as one of the best heist movies ever.

With an incredible ensemble comprised of George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts, Casey Affleck, and Don Cheadle, among others, “Ocean’s Eleven” has something for everyone. It’s charming, witty, exciting, and cool as hell.

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