Sequels crowd the summer multiplexes

Sequels are all the rage in theaters this summer. Yea right, tell me something I don't know. If only these very sequels had the attitude of giving a fuck about quality and perception of character, then maybe we wouldn't be complaining so much about how it's business as usual. A sequel isn't necessarily always a bad thing, check out my list of the 10 greatest sequels below and you will change your mind about it. The problem is that MOST of these follow-up films are just another reason for stars to sign up to low rates screenplay to get a big fat paycheck, case in point; The Hangover Part 3  (★)  . Director Todd Phillips is back and so are his stars -Bradley Cooper,, Zach Galafanakis and Ed Helms. The result is a disaster, a screenplay that is lazy and completely devoid of the humor that made the first film so damn good. Ah yes, the good times. Remember when we discovered the original film in the summer of 2009? It was funny, sexy, original and had a freshness that the other two films sadly lacked. That was then, this is now. In The Hangover Part 3 our cast is threatened by John Goodman's gangster who has a grudge against the gang's buddy/criminal underlord Mr.Chow funnily played by the always reliable Ken Jeong in a portrayal filled with racial stereotypes.

No need for me to go much into detail about the plot but suffice to say this is a movie that goes nowhere. It's dead on arrival and has not much to recommend. Safe for Galafanakis' goofy, deliberately mean spirited Alan and the scene stealing Jeong as Mr. Chow, the rest of the cast looks like they don't even want to be there. Not too long after his Oscar nominated turn in Silver linings Playbook and his role in The Place Beyond The Pines, Cooper crushes all the street cred he might have garnered with those movies and shows us just how low an actor can go for a big fat paycheck - but after all this, what I really learned from The Hangover Part 3 is to never get your hopes up for a film franchise that started off on a high but has sheepishly stooped into a low, all that really matters for big studios is how much money will be made and not how good the story can be.

I'm not done. The sixth -yes sixth- Fast And The Furious movie is out in theaters and I did drag my ass to it because 2011's Fast Five delivered surprising jolts in a rio-infused testosterone blast of a blockbuster. Listen, I'm just like you. I do want to be entertained and escape for 2 hours but I also don't want to be cheapened out by watching a product disguised as a movie. The Fast And The Furious 6 (★) is not crap but it's not good either. It's just that. A film with no brain and no heart that delivers relentless action without ever thinking about a story. That's what made Fast Five such a half assed guilty treat, there was actually a plot. Here it just feels like an excuse of a plot stuffed with car chases, cheesy one liners and a dead character from the past -Michelle Rodriguez's Ledi- coming back to life! Don't ask, it's just an excuse to have an extra cast member and to bring more ridiculousness to the story. The film isn't boring, it's just there. It moves sporadically but doesn't have the energy to warrant a 2 hour plus running time. In fact, just like any sequel I've seen this past summer, the movie is just there. Yea, I know I'm repeating myself here but I kind of like that description, it explains my feeling towards most sequels. Just being there, on the screen, flat and not all that exciting.

People know how rare it is to have a sequel that is better than the original film, yet they still go out in droves to see these mega-blockbusters. Is it because they are filled with blind hope that it will be better than the original? Here's the thing, a mainstream audience likes comfortability. They are too lazy to discover new and better things and would rather go with familiarity. That's why sequels, remakes, reboots and comic book movies are all the rage these days. They triumph over the artistic process. People depend on a safe, familiar formula to get their entertainment. It's a real shame and long gone is the era of the 70's film where creating a movie from an original idea was all the rage. Now if only sequels could have followed the lead of the ten movies below, these films reinvented themselves the second -or third- time around and were complimented by care in the product. It wasn't just about money with these films, they aimed to outdo the original and make art out of the process.

(1) The Godfather Part 2
(2) The Return Of The King
(3) The Dark Knight
(4) Toy Story 2
(5) Spider Man 2
(6) Before Sunset
(7) Terminator 2
(8) Superman 2
(9) Toy Story 3
(10) The Empire Strikes Back