Popular opinion says the original is always better than the sequel. But here are 6 controversial exceptions to the rule. Change my mind.

The sequel is usually better than the original if the original's purpose is to pave way for the sequel and in some cases a third movie.
Sometimes the sequel is better because the original is the first act and the sequel is the second act of the same story. Steve Troughton flickr.com

I’m normally the first to point out when a sequel is just an attempt at cashing in on a great movie. But sometimes those great movies are just one part of a complete vision. Other times a good movie opens up the opportunity to make an even better sequel with characters the audience already knows.

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

As revolutionary as the first Star Wars film was, Star War: The Empire Strikes Back gave audiences so many of the saga’s classic moments. Leia tells Han she loves him and he responds, “I know.” Vader tells Luke, “I am your father.” Yoda was a puppet! The sequel gave the audience a deeper connection to the characters than the original.

Star Wars sequel was better than the original Star Wars because our heroes lost. In a trilogy, the original will often  have an open ending. The sequel will end with the villains on top.
In a trilogy the sequel is often better than the original because the stakes grow higher. William Warby flickr.com

Star Trek Into Darkness

Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto came into their own as Kirk and Spock in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek. But they show more growth in their friendship and make sacrifices for each other in the sequel. Ultimately, Star Trek Into Darkness has more emotional impact than Abrams’ original Star Trek. Star Trek Into Darkness shows Spock’s growing humanity. It’s an obvious yet powerful character transformation.

The original Star Trek TV show had multiple spin-off shows and several film adaptations. J.J. Abrams' Star Trek reintroduced the original characters.
The original Kirk and Spock were characters portrayed for the Star Trek TV program by actors William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy. commons.wikimedia.com

Spider-Man 2

We all love an origin story, but the more conflict a story has, the more it draws in the audience. Spider-Man 2 is a sequel full of drama. Peter’s best friend wants revenge against him. His love is marrying someone else. Aunt May’s life is in danger. And Doc Oc is a sympathetic villain, not just for audiences but for Peter too. As strong as the original was, it’s the sequel we remember when we think of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man.

A sequel doesn't require the same time spent on character development as the original does.
Sam Raimi’s original Spider-Man opened doors for superhero movies. It’s still one of the better Marvel comic adaptations. Even so, the sequel was better than the original. Bagogames flickr.com

X2: X-Men United

Speaking of superhero movies, the X-Men sequel is also better than the original. It’s the first to dive into Logan’s story, a fan-favorite. The sequel highlights the team as educators and not just superheroes. This adds more drama when audiences feel the personal connection between the heroes and those they protect.

The original requires requires a lot of character development. This allows the sequel to explore more character growth.
The X-Men sequel did a better job humanizing the mutants than the original. es.m.wikipedia.org

The Godfather: Part II

It’s called rising action for a reason, it increases. The Godfather Parts I & II are really two parts of a whole story. Naturally the second half of a story has more tension. Like other good sequels the pacing in Part II is better because the audience already knows the characters. In Part II we see Michael’s values switch when he goes to extremes to protect the family.

The Godfather is not really a case of an original and a sequel. They are two parts of a whole story. Though the "sequel" is better.
In the original Godfather Michael doesn’t want to be involved with the family. In the sequel he kills for them. drmvm1 flickr.com

Terminator 2: Judgement Day

The Terminator is another controversial pick. The original is a gritty, low-budget thriller. It doesn’t try to be anything else than a woman running for her life from a futuristic killer robot. But the sequel capitalized on Schwarzenegger’s likability by making him a protector. The spectacle of the sequel is also more indicative of the style that made James Cameron the huge success he is today.

This sequel completely flipped the script from the original. Audiences still loved it. And this writer argues the sequel is better than the original.
The terminator sequel was a true-to-form sequel, meant to cash in on the popularity of the original. But this sequel’s success opened up the possibility of a Terminator franchise. Insomnia Cured Here flickr.com

Disagree? If you think the original was better than the sequel on any of these six tell us in the comments why we’re wrong.

Did we miss any? Tell us your favorite example of when a sequel was better than the original.