Yeah, it sucks when a sequel is by-the-numbers and totally predictable. But then, when you take a look at the utter nonsense in some sequels (or some proposed sequels), suddenly, straightforward and predictable doesn't sound so bad.
1. Hannibal Rising
Attempts to explain the origins of mysterious villains almost always fall flat. Prime example: Hannibal Rising. It's about a Nazi-hunting samurai, which sounds cool, but doesn't at all sound like a suitable background for Hannibal Lecter. Author Thomas Harris didn't even want to write the story, but a movie producer bullied him into doing it.
2. The Jetsons
The story of The Jetsons has continued in comic form. It turns out that the reason the family lives in the clouds is a meteor hit Earth and killed most of humanity. The family takes a trip down to the surface, revealing not The Flintstones but Earth's submerged ruins and millions of corpses.
3. The Exorcist III
This second Exorcist sequel was based on a book from the original Exorcist author. Sounds promising. Then comes the scene of the afterlife filled with celebrity cameos. The Angel of Death is played by Patrick Ewing. Also, there, for no apparent reason? Fabio.
4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Winter Soldier sure didn't care much about following up The Avengers. Maybe we can accept S.H.I.E.L.D.'s been run by Hydra all along, despite the gang hacking all the agency's secrets in the last movie without noticing anything amiss. But it's harder to accept Steve going rogue without allies when he has an entire gang of superpowered buddies who should willingly back him up.
5. Spider-Man: Far From Home
Tony giving Peter a satellite kill device makes very little sense from a character who gave up arms production and has been in retirement for five years. It makes even less sense when you realize that Peter was kind of himself dead as of ten minutes before Tony died and had been for years.
7. The Karate Kid Part II
This sequel reveals that Miyagi grew up in Japan. But in the first movie, he said he lived in the US during World War II and fought for America. Even though America didn't allow any immigration from Japan after 1924. Guess he was just a liar then, and that Medal of Honor he owned was a knockoff he bought at a gas station.
8. "Father of a Boy Named Sue"
The song "A Boy Named Sue" ends with Sue and his father reconciling after their fight. Shel Silverstein wrote it, and he also wrote a sequel song. It reveals that Sue dressed as a woman when confronting dad. And post-fight, the two start a relationship. A sexual relationship.
9. Still The Beaver
Incredibly, Leave It To Beaver got a revival series that lasted four seasons. Beaver Cleaver's an adult now. His wife kicks him out, and he gets fired, so he moves back home with mom, where he starts dressing like a 10-year-old again.
10. Men in Black 3
The third MIB movie explains that Earth has long had an "impenetrable shield," and a villain tries to go back in time to keep it from being installed, letting aliens invade. It's a fine enough premise for an alien movie. Unless it's a sequel to two movies where Earth had no such shield, leading to multiple alien attacks.
11. Men in Black II
At least Men in Black 3 was true to its characters, though. Unlike Men in Black II, which dragged Tommy Lee Jones' Agent K out of retirement and implied he was always ready to come out of retirement, undoing the poignant ending he earlier received.
12. Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Kingsman did the same thing but more so with Colin Firth's character. Because Harry died in the first movie. We saw him shot in the head. But they brought him back for the sequel, a move that's both disrespectful and, shall we say, logistically improbable.
13. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
14. Fight Club 2
Tyler Durden's back in the graphic novel sequel by original author Chuck Palahniuk, and now he's funding ISIS. Are you a fan of Fight Club and think this is kind of lame? Great. The book ends with Palahniuk appearing in person and getting murdered by dissatisfied Fight Club fans.
15. White Shark
Jaws the movie had its share of nutty sequels, but author Peter Benchley followed up Jaws the book with White Shark. It's more a straight remake of Jaws than a sequel. Right up to the point when it becomes clear that the shark is part-human, an Olympian spliced with a shark as part of a Nazi experiment.
16. Alien 3
In Alien 3, we learn that the Xenomorph queen from the previous movie snuck an egg onto Ripley's ship. The ship never touched down on the planet in Aliens, so it had zero shot of getting infiltrated.
17. Alien vs. Predator
Sure is cool to learn that Predators hunt Xenomorphs for sport, huh? Young Predators, in fact, as a rite of passage. But only if you ignore the original Predator, where the hunters find puny humans a challenge.
18. Home School
Any sequel to The Graduate would ruin the original story's open ending. But Charles Webb's 2007 follow-up book also makes a mockery of the iconic Mrs. Robinson by now making her into an oversexed grandma, who Ben (now a father instead of a young grad) enlists to come out of retirement and seduce a school principal.
19. The Dark Knight Rises
This movie tells us that police have been on the lookout for the fugitive Batman for years. Guess no one remembers that scene in The Dark Knight, where a Wayne Enterprises employee announced that he knew Batman's identity. Nobody thinks to question him?
20. Buffy The Vampire Slayer
21. RoboCop 2
Our robotic hero retained his humanity at the end of RoboCop, no matter what he'd been built to be. Until RoboCop 2, that is, when he claims he's not Murphy at all, and even his face is just a synthetic copy. Weirder, it's revealed that his inner strength comes not from his humanity but from ... his Catholicism?
22. Cheech And Chong Meet Jason
This movie was pitched by Tom McLoughlin, director of Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives. Those old Abbott and Costello movies had the comedy duo cross over with monsters, so why not do a similar thing again? The studio didn't go for it, and they eventually got the rights to cross Jason with someone more suitable: Freddy Krueger.
23. Nightmare On Elm Street 1969
This proposed movie in the series would have shown a series of hippie murders, ending with the neighborhood's parents catching Freddy Krueger for them and burning him alive. Then, in a twist, it would be revealed that the culprit wasn't Freddy after all. The murderer was Charles Manson.
24. Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian
"Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian" isn't our scathing summary of the tone of some hypothetical Beetlejuice sequel. That was the actual title. It would take place in Hawaii, where Lydia summons Beetlejuice to scare her family off their island. Said Kevin Smith, on being asked to help with the script, "Didn't we say all we needed to say in the first Beetlejuice?"
25. Rambo: First Blood Part II
"Rambo" has become so synonymous with "badass" that it's easy to forget that the original movie was strongly antiwar. Rambo suffers from PTSD, the movie ends with him being arrested while sobbing, and the book is even bleaker, with him killing himself. Part II and beyond? He's an unstoppable killing machine.
26. 3001: The Final Odyssey
The novel 2001: A Space Odyssey (written alongside the film) was followed by two sequels, set in 2010 and 2061. But for the fourth book, Arthur C. Clarke jumped ahead a thousand years. Poole, a character who died in 2001, has his frozen body revived, somehow. It's Futurama, but written a couple years earlier and played seriously.
27. Starlight Barking
Godzilla began as a critique of militarism -- American militarism, specifically American nuclear weapons. In the new movies? The American military are absolute heroes, and Godzilla helps them fight the bad monsters.
29. King Kong Lives
A Kong sequel could go back to Skull Island and find another gorilla, and this 1986 one does just that. But it ALSO reveals that Kong survived dying at the end of the first movie. Then he and the new gorilla mate, and Kong dies again, and the new gorilla gives birth ... to a child that, given the timeline, sadly cannot be Kong's.
30. Hero Mama League
Power Rangers began as a Japanese show called Super Sentai. The show came back in 2018, with the original characters now moms. Of course, this necessitates the inclusion of a baby with a sword ...
31. Gump and Co.
The author of the Forrest Gump book wrote a sequel, though he's stubbornly resisted it becoming a film. That might be for the best. Forrest's forays into the '90s would have had him continue bumping against famous figures, but the magic of the '60s and the '70s would be gone. Instead, Gump would accidentally tear down the Berlin Wall and escape prison with O.J. Simpson.
Casablanca's ending works so well because Rick lets his love fly away and stays back to fight Nazis despite having been a thoroughly selfish bastard up till this point in his life. But the sequel that Warner Bros. tried to put out next would have revealed that all Rick's drinking and arms dealing was just a cover. He was secretly a spy for the U.S. all along!
33. As Time Goes By
Then Warner Bros. went and hired an author to pen an authorized sequel to Casablanca in novel form. As Time Goes By throws away the original's movie's classic ending by having Rick chase Ilsa to Lisbon after all and start an affair with her behind her husband's back.
34. Honey, I Blew Up the Kid
35. E.T. 2: Nocturnal Fears
E.T. got no sequel, impressive for a film that grossed that much. But Spielberg and the original writer did get started on one. It would have started with evil aliens coming to Earth (the very premise E.T. teased before shifting to something more hopeful), who would immediately kidnap the original film's kids and physically torture them for info about E.T.
36. Doctor Sleep
In the film (though not in the book), Danny Torrance faces off with the big villain by driving to the old Overlook Hotel in the winter. But the Overlook is completely inaccessible by road in the winter, even before it closed down. That's why Dick had to rent a Snowcat to get there in The Shining.
37. Dexter In The Dark
If the TV show Dexter seemed rudderless after the first few seasons, maybe it's because they didn't dare adapt the sequels to the source material. The third book in the Dexter series reveals that the "dark passenger" that makes the man kill isn't an impulse but a demon possessing him. He has to visit a cult to defeat it.
38. Beethoven's Christmas Adventure
Beethoven had a bunch of sequels, and each was terrible in its own special way. But the Christmas movie had the dog suddenly able to talk, without explanation. That's just to let our guard down, presumably, so we don't think it's dumb when he ends up meeting Santa's elves.
39. Son Of Rosemary
It took 30 years for the author of Rosemary's Baby to write a sequel. The devil's spawn is a celebrity here and is trying to resist the pull of evil. Satan shows up in person to drag Rosemary to hell. Then she wakes up. Because this was all a dream. The events of this book AND of the original Rosemary's Baby.
40. Jurassic World
The Jurassic Park movies chide humans for thinking they can control nature. They are not subtle about this. But come Jurassic World, and opening a dinosaur park does end poorly as expected, and yet the film is absolutely about dominating nature. They successfully control raptors for a bit, and they guide a T. Rex in the final scene.
41. The Matrix Reloaded
Loop is the third book in the series that inspired The Ring. It starts out weird enough, with scientists studying a type of cancer caused by the Ring virus. These scientists are working on a virtual reality project, and then it turns out that the events of the original movie were actually just a virtual reality simulation.
43. Halloween 666: The Origin
VR horror was a whole trend once, apparently. The proposed sixth entry in the Halloween franchise would have used a VR device to send a character back in time to witness Michael's cult origins. Also, it's specified that Michael Myers is now homeless. Prompting the question: Is he not usually homeless?
44. Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows
The final Potter movies delve into the subject of "secret keepers," revealing that characters can assign themselves to keep their own secrets. Fine, except that the whole series kicked off because Harry's parents chose a treacherous secret keeper who betrayed them. So, this whole saga could have been avoided?
Spore was a game when you design a cartoony alien and evolve it from a cell to an astronaut. It didn't quite live up to marketing, but fans were eager for more. The sequel turned out to be a gritty hack-and-slash game, which is most notable today for being the first single-player game that completely stopped being playable once the studio shut down the servers.
46. Psycho II
The original Psycho novel got a sequel, in which Norman Bates escapes the hospital dressed as a nun. Setting him up to start killing again, you might assume? Nope, he dies. The novel does have time, though, to try satirizing Hollywood, with a bunch of celeb lookalikes having a gay orgy.
47. American Psycho 2
This sequel also starts with an iconic villain dying. The new killer, played by Mila Kunis, disposes of Patrick Bateman with little fanfare. This doesn't have much to do with the rest of the movie, which is about her character trying to work for the FBI. Turns out this wasn't even supposed to be a sequel, but then it reached the editing room.
48. Anacondas: The Hunt For The Blood Orchid
49. Return To Labyrinth
There are talks now about doing a sequel to Labyrinth, without the late David Bowie. This means it'll have to take a different route than this four-volume manga, in which Jareth follows the boy Toby in school, disguising himself as a guidance counselor. This story spans 800 pages.
50. Terminator: Dark Fate
Very little makes sense about Arnold's character growing old and living a peaceful life in this movie. For starters, it seems the screenwriters forgot T2, where police made the connection between the guy at the mall shootout and the murderer who tore his way through a police station back in '84. Everyone should be on the lookout for him by now.
51. The Birds II: Land's End
The Birds got a sequel in 1994. This time, the birds are punishing humans for hurting the environment (note: every horror movie with this premise is bad). This sequel lacks Hitchcock's touch, but it does have a bunch of explosions. Also, the return of Tippi Hedren, who bizarrely plays a different character this time -- one who also lived through the first movie.
52. I Am Legend 2
It wasn't easy to write a sequel to I Am Legend after killing off the original's only character. An early idea was to do a prequel about Will Smith's pre-pandemic life, but that seemed too dull. So then came the sequel idea: Smith was cloned and resurrected. Thankfully, the movie was never greenlit.
53. Rocky III
Some Rocky movies have had to deal with Rocky's shift from an underdog to a champion to someone over the hill. But Rocky III handled this the strangest way by revealing that the World Heavyweight Champion just sucks again -- and Mickey's been feeding him weaklings to fake his wins.
54. Gladiator 2
The single weirdest abandoned sequel to a movie has to be Gladiator 2 by Nick Cave. Russell Crowe hired Cave personally, hoping to resurrect his character, who had died in the original Oscar-winning film. This film would have had Maximum fighting gods in the afterlife, getting reincarnated and gaining immortality, then ending with him working for the Pentagon.
55. Dark Phoenix