Movie sequels that were worth the very long wait

Sequels have the power to inspire appreciation or disdain in viewers, especially if the movie takes a long time to hit theaters. Some of the most beloved and popular movies follow on from cinematic treasures, and it’s no surprise that such projects end up having quite a legacy to match. Audiences often yearn to reconnect with beloved characters and worlds, eagerly anticipating future episodes of their favorite movies. When a sequel takes a long time to complete, the anticipation of the finished product can be both exciting and laborious.

The highly publicized sequel to Legacy Top Gun: Maverickhas Tom Cruise reprising his iconic role as a naval aviator, premiering 36 years after his predecessor and becoming a huge blockbuster hit. After dazzling moviegoers with its groundbreaking visual effects and stunning cinematography in the 2009 sci-fi juggernaut Avatar, director James Cameron has two coveted Avatar sequels slated for release later this year and in 2024. Let’s take a closer look at some of the biggest movie sequels that were worth the very long wait.

8 Toy Story 3

Audiences around the world fell in love with the crazy antics of cowboy Woody and space ranger Buzz Lightyear in beloved 90s classics toy story and toy story 2, with the two characters serving as leaders of a group of toys that come to life when the humans aren’t around. The first follow-up to the hit franchise was released in 1999, four years after toy storyand was billed as one of the few superior sequels to the original; toy story 2 was a critical and commercial success and earned a perfect rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Related: Lightyear’s Early Reactions Praise Pixar’s Toy Story Spinoff

When Pixar announced that a new sequel was in the works after 11 years, fans of the animated films were skeptical of its ability to live up to its predecessor. Oscar winner Toy Story 3brilliantly proved the naysayers wrong in 2010, becoming a smash hit and earning over $1 billion while earning acclaim for its emotional storytelling and depth, animation, vocal performances, and moving soundtrack.

seven Rocky Balboa

16 years after the release of Rocky V, Sylvester Stallone made his highly anticipated return as the iconic boxer and former heavyweight champion in the 2006 sports drama Rocky Balboa, which follows the now-retired eponymous character as he is challenged to an exhibition bout against fierce boxer Mason Dixon. Not only did Stallone reprise his career-building role, but he also wrote the script and directed the picture, bringing back fellow stars Burt Young and Tony Burton and their counterparts Paulie Pennino and Tony “Duke” Evers.

Stallone began development on a sixth installment after expressing disappointment with the outcome of Rocky V, believing it to be a lackluster conclusion to the famed franchise. Rocky Balboa was a hit with critics and audiences alike, with Stallone earning praise for his touching performance and for the moving exploration of the character, with many calling him one of Rockythe best entries.

6 The color of money

Legendary big-screen actor Paul Newman returned as notorious pool hustler and pious Edward “Fast Eddie” Felson in the 1986 sports drama The color of money, based on Walter Tevis’ novel of the same name and serving as a sequel to his 1961 classic The scammer. Set over 25 years after the events of the original image, the follow-up focuses on a now-retired Eddie as he takes an arrogant but gifted nine-ball player (Tom Cruise) under his wing and shows him the hustling pool tricks, ultimately inspiring Eddie to get back into the game.

Revered Martin Scorsese directed the thrilling drama, with the sequel serving as his first foray into mainstream cinema; Newman personally reached out to Scorsese via a fan letter asking the director to helm the film. The movie icon’s efforts paid off as he won the Best Actor Oscar for his performance, his first win after seven nominations.

5 bad boys for life

Fans of hilarious Miami sleuths Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett couldn’t get enough of the wise-cracking duo in the Bad Boys candor, with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence dazzling viewers with their charming chemistry. After appearing in the 1995s Bad Boys and 2003 bad boys II, the comedic superstars walked away from the action-packed series for 17 years before finally giving audiences what they wanted and serving up a third episode.

In the 2020s bad boys for life, the thrilling comedy catches up with detectives as they investigate the wife and son of a Mexican crime lord as they wreak havoc on the city, while dealing with an elite young team who aid them. bad boys for life became the franchise’s highest-grossing film and was also the most well-received, with countless critics calling it a huge improvement over its predecessors.

4 jurassic world

Serve as the fourth slice of the jurassic park franchise and the first of the new trilogy, the 2015 sci-fi action film jurassic world brings the spectacular dinosaurs to the big screen after a 14-year hiatus, this time following Navy veteran and ethologist Owen Grady as he fights to protect vacationers at the titular theme park after a genetically modified dinosaur escaped confinement and terrorized the island.

Related: Chris Pratt Compares Jurassic World Dominion To The Marvel Cinematic Universe

After the gloom of 2001 Jurassic Park III, The franchise’s writers set out to incorporate three of Steven Spielberg’s ideas for a sequel: a human having a relationship with trained raptors, a dangerous human-eating dinosaur on the loose, and a fully functioning dinosaur theme park. jurassic world was a knockout blow to critics and audiences alike and launched a lucrative trilogy starring Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, and helped breathe new life into the iconic film series.

3 The Incredibles 2

Pixar’s 2004 animated superhero film The Incredibles celebrates chronicling the misadventures of the Parr family, residents of Metroville who are forced to hide their superhero abilities after the government forces the “supers” to give up all crime-fighting for good. The fun and thrilling film was a mega-hit, winning two Oscars and becoming a hit with audiences young and old; it is widely considered one of the greatest superhero films of all time.

With such high standards, talk of a sequel has been both welcomed by fans but speculated by critics due to the high bar. The Incredibles 2far exceeded moviegoers’ expectations, with the follow-up detailing the efforts of The Incredibles as they attempt to restore public faith and trust in superheroes. It went on to receive accolades for its stunning animation, script, humor, and performances, and grossed $1.2 billion at the box office.

2 Top Gun: Maverick

The essential Tom Cruise of 1986 Superior gun featured the famed Hollywood heavy hitter as Lt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, a tenacious young naval aviator who fights to be top of his class at the U.S. Navy’s Fighter Weapons School. The action flick helped cement Cruise’s status as a movie superstar and became a staple of the 1980s, with rumors of a long-awaited sequel starting to swirl in earnest around 2010.

After development problems and production hiccups, Top Gun: Maverickfinally made its world premiere at CinemaCon 2022, dominating the box office and earning critical acclaim for its jaw-dropping visuals, dynamite performances, and thrilling storyline. The film follows Mitchell, now one of the Navy’s top airmen, as he forms a group of Top Gun graduates and is forced to confront disturbing ghosts from his past. Top Gun: Maverick was deemed by many critics to be far superior to its predecessor, and was credited with reinvigorating the film industry.

1 Mad Max: Fury Road

Simultaneously serving as both a reboot and fourth installment of the post-apocalyptic action franchise madmax, the big screen show of 2015 Mad Max: Fury Road stars Tom Hardy in the famous role of Max Rockatansky, with fellow star Mel Gibson passing the baton to the actor for the adrenaline-pumping image. Director George Miller was eager to make a sequel to 1985 Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome but ran into financial difficulties and the project ultimately spent years in development hell; the film was finally greenlit in 2009, with the sequel serving as the “rebirth” of the franchise.

Mad Max: Fury Road focuses on the titular character as he teams up with Imperator Furiosa in an effort to escape the infamous cult leader Immortan Joe and his deranged army. road of fury won numerous accolades and critical acclaim for its fantastic performances, action sequences and direction, winning six Academy Awards and being heralded as one of the greatest action films of all time.

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