It’s very difficult to make lightning strike twice when it comes to releasing a follow-up to a good movie. While sequels typically help flesh out the story established in the original by introducing new characters, settings, and plots, the initial thrill that comes from the novelty of seeing something new generally fades away as the franchise ages. There are so many examples of diminishing returns when it comes to sequels, it gets taken for granted that it is actually possible for a sequel to improve upon the original. You have to do some digging to find examples, but the following sequels arguably improve upon the original films, proving that sometimes it takes a few trips to the plate to score a home run (our apologies for the baseball comparisons).
10. From Russia With Love (1963)
The James Bond film franchise works a bit differently than most when it comes to sequels, as each new installment is typically a standalone picture that doesn’t make very many direct references to the films that preceded it (although there are exceptions, such as Quantum of Solace being a direct sequel to Casino Royale). The early Bond films were more connected, as From Russia With Love‘s plot builds off the events of Dr. No, the first Bond film. Dr. No is notable for translating author Ian Fleming’s popular character to the screen with style and confidence, primarily because of Sean Connery, who embodies Bond from the very first frame. That being said, Dr. No is still a bit rough around the edges, mostly because it wasn’t clear at the time what a James Bond film should look or feel like. From Russia With Love is not only a more enjoyable film to watch, but it also establishes many now iconic Bond hallmarks, such as the opening title sequence, the introduction of Q, and cool spy gadgets. Not to mention, Dr. No has no scene that can rival From Russia With Love‘s train-car fight between Bond and Red Grant.