Summer 2016: Which movie sequels sucked the least?
Summer 2016 is coming to a close -- the blockbuster portion of it, that is. After the release of Suicide Squad this Friday, Aug. 5, there just isn't much else of mega-box-office caliber gracing our theaters. We'll have a slow few weeks before September, when the Oscar grind begins. And so, with summer 2016 mostly behind us, let's consider: What sequels sucked the least this season?
Because let's be frank: This was the summer of the inescapable sequel. They were EVERYWHERE. They were action, they were animated, they were thrillers, they were superheroes, they were in space. And, also to be frank, a lot of them were terrible.
Just HOW terrible? Let's judge them! (A quick note on criteria: I'm counting the summer movie season as beginning in May, because that's when colleges let out and the official summer break begins for at least somebody. Those lucky jerks.)
X-Men Apocalypse (full review here)
Pros: Scruffy Michael Fassbender in flannel; some nicely destructive action sequences
Cons: Jennifer Lawrence's obvious boredom; Oscar Isaac being hidden beneath layers of makeup and prosthetics
Did This Sequel Need to Be Made? To keep James McAvoy, Fassbender, and Lawrence all in their contracts, sure, and seeing another slow-motion-Quicksilver scene was great. But overall, does this advance the story much? ... Eh.
Will There Be Future Sequels? Yeah, probably, but it's been rumored for a long time that Fassbender and Lawrence both want out of their contracts. We'll see. But for wasting Oscar Isaac's beauty alone, this movie hurts me deeply.
Alice Through the Looking Glass (full review here)
Pros: It eventually ended
Cons: Everything else
Did This Sequel Need to Be Made? Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland SOMEHOW made $1 billion internationally, and really sparked Disney's live-action-remake craze. I'm sure the studio thought this was a good idea, but why adapt so little of the actual text of Through the Looking Glass? Weird.
Will There Be Future Sequels? For the most part the movie ignored its original source material, so maybe there could have been sequels of other madeup adventures if the movie had done well. Thankfully, it tanked. Peace out from my life forever, Johnny Depp's terrible Mad Hatter.
Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising
Pros: Some low-level, but still appreciated, attempts at feminist themes, even if they were as simplistic as "girls should be able to party too, duhhh"; Zac Efron's fine ass; Rose Byrne being Rose Byrne and failing to spell "sorority" correctly
Cons: Too much Seth Rogen is exhausting; not enough of Efron's literally fine ass
Did This Sequel Need to Be Made? Flipping the gender focus of the first film was a smart move, and even though the film goes only surface-level with its take on feminism, it still did it. We need more films about female experiences, period, and at least Neighbors 2 went there.
Will There Be Future Sequels? Not sure where else the franchise can go, since the couple played by Byrne/Rogen move out to the suburbs and Efron's character begins a successful career as a gay wedding planner. But, I wouldn't be mad at it.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (full review here)
Pros: Stephen Amell's forearms; the movie has a sense of humor this time around; Bebop and Rocksteady are hilarious
Cons: Amell's voice (I'm sorry, I just don't like it!); Megan Fox's immobile face; the movie's totally forgettable storyline, which I truly cannot remember at all
Did This Sequel Need to Be Made? To keep selling TMNT merchandise, sure, and at least the sequel taps into some of the nostalgia for the original films. But did you even remember this movie existed? There's your answer about whether Out of the Shadows was necessary.
Will There Be Future Sequels? Probably. Doesn't Michael Bay always get what he wants?
Now You See Me 2 (full review here)
Pros: Lizzy Caplan's zany energy; Daniel Radcliffe continues to move away from his Harry Potter legacy by playing an excellent weirdo; Mark Ruffalo's crazy eyes
Cons: The unbelievably stupid plot; the continued overexplaining of "magic"; the film's refusal to decide whether "magic" is real or not
Did This Sequel Need to Be Made? WHO WANTED TO KNOW WHAT THE FOUR HORSEMEN DID NEXT? Just because a movie does reasonably well does not mean it always needs a sequel, goddammit!
Will There Be Future Sequels? It didn't do great at the box office and that cast, with Morgan Freeman, Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, and Ruffalo can't be cheap. Although I think I read that a Now You See Me 3 is already in the works, because nothing makes sense anymore.
Finding Dory (full review here)
Pros: Beautifully animated; will tap into all your feelings; great voicework from Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, and Ed O'Neill
Cons: You will sob forever; the story is ultimately a barely tweaked version of Finding Nemo
Did This Sequel Need to Be Made? Not really; it's been a decade since Finding Nemo. But Finding Dory is at least more along the lines of Toy Story 2/3 than Cars 2, so that's a good thing.
Will There Be Future Sequels? Hopefully not. Start making original stuff again, Pixar!
Independence Day: Resurgence (full review here)
Cons: Too many to list
Did This Sequel Need to Be Made? Don't make me answer this.
Will There Be Future Sequels? Please, holy crap, no.
Ice Age: Collision Course (full review here)
Pros: Gloriously colorful depictions of space; Simon Pegg bizarrely voices a swashbuckling, dinosaur-fighting weasel
Cons: So many poop jokes, all the poop jokes, an exhausting amount of poop jokes
Did This Sequel Need to Be Made? In the same way that TMNT constantly sells merchandise to stay relevant, I suppose Ice Age needed another installment to get kids to buy themed lunchboxes, school supplies, and other crap before the new school year starts. But "need"? No.
Will There Be Future Sequels? We are already five films into this franchise, and although the film didn't make much stateside, it made a bajillion dollars internationally. So yeah, we'll probably get more of these films. Thanks a lot, not-America.
Star Trek Beyond
Pros: Chris Pine's face; Chris Pine's body; actually everyone's face and body because this cast is ridiculously attractive; "Sabotage"; an attempt at a deeper commentary about personal purpose and work/life balance; space is pretty
Cons: Anton Yelchin's last role (still so sad); Idris Elba gets the Oscar Isaac treatment in X-Men: Apocalypse treatment; Zoe Saldana and John Cho both have little to do, but at least he gets a bad-ass moment that she doesn't
Did This Sequel Need to Be Made? Star Trek is obviously the kind of property that can tell as many one-off stories as it wants, and Beyond is no different; it gets the job done effectively enough. Plus, Justin Lin adding his Fast/Furious flair is a welcome energy boost to the franchise so far.
Will There Be Future Sequels? There's already one confirmed that brings back Chris Hemsworth as Chris Pine's dad. Get at me, hot Kirk family!
Jason Bourne (full review here)
Pros: A great supporting cast with Alicia Vikander, Riz Ahmed, and Vincent Cassel; Julia Stiles lights a computer on fire with a bottle of vodka like a boss; Matt Damon riding a motorcycle is still pretty invigorating, all these years later
Cons: A plot that goes basically nowhere; another narrative about personal privacy vs. government security; Vikander's very weird faux-American accent
Did This Sequel Need to Be Made? Before The Martian came out, I would have said yes -- Damon had been in Elysium and a couple of other clunkers, and although he's a well-liked actor, it seemed like he was making some bad choices, so coming back to the beloved Bourne franchise could have been a good jumpstart for him. But then The Martian came out and everyone lost their shit over him and he got that Oscar nomination, so why go back to a franchise that you left a decade ago? Doesn't make sense from Damon's perspective. The Bourne Legacy could have quietly let the franchise fade away, but instead, we got Jason Bourne.
Will There Be Future Sequels? Damon made $25 million for saying a couple dozen lines of dialogue. So if he can secure another payday, probably, yeah. Unfortunately.