10 Movie Franchises Where the Second Film Is the Worst

Recently a Redditor confessed, “Watching the Mission Impossible Franchise, I can say the second movie is a bit of a step back in quality from the first. I still enjoy it but in a stylized “gun-fu” way. However, the rest of the franchise is pretty solid.”

They continued, “It seems weird for a franchise to have the first sequel (second movie) completely outshined by every other film in the same franchise. I'm sure there are other examples. What are they?” Reddit responded to deliver this list. 

10. A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985)

Image from the movie Nightmare on Elm Street
Image Credit: New Line Cinema.

Redditor bejipo nominated “A Nightmare on Elm Street. I love these movies for how wacky they are, and for me, the second one is the dullest and the one I always skip.” Another user agreed, “Nightmare on Elm Street 2, the third installment of Dream Warriors, is far superior in my mind.”

Finally, Baalthulhu said, “A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge. As bad as Dream Child or Freddy's Dead might be, nothing is as terrible as Freddy's Revenge.”

9. Die Hard 2 (1990)

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Image Credit: 20th Century Fox

Many Redditors shared the sentiment that we don't count Die Hard 5 as part of the franchise. Even four was a stretch for some. One user said, “If you don't count the weird, pretty much direct to DVD Die Hard 5, the 2nd Die Hard is terrible compared to the first, third and fourth.” Another Redditor answered, “Die Hard 2 is the only movie in the series I consider bad.”

Finally, Punchable_Hair agreed, “Die Hard is the Christmas classic that we all know and love. Die Hard 3 has an excellent revenge plot and Samuel L. Jackson. But Die Hard 2 is just a re-make of Die Hard set at an airport, and the bad guy is Oliver North. Not a bad action movie, but not as compelling as the other two (and for this discussion, there are only two others).”

8. Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

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Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

HellaWavy suggested, “Out of the Star Trek Kelvin Timeline movies, I'd say that Into Darkness is the weakest entry for several reasons. It feels bloated and like a watered-down version of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. User bluebird added, “I preferred Beyond over Into Darkness. It felt like the Kelvin Trek was finally free from having to live up to the old Shatner stuff.”

7. State of the Union (2005)

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Image Courtesy of Prostock-studio and Shutterstock

RegHater76 stated, “The sequel with Ice Cube was horrible, and it's not exactly like and Return of Xander Cage were masterpieces.” Another user replied, ” should have been a one-off. It wasn't a masterpiece but a perfectly entertaining action movie. Two and three were straight garbage.”

Finally, ih8meandu added, “Vin Diesel's become a franchise movie star. Since 2000, he's only been in four or five movies that weren't Fast and the Furious, MCU as Groot, Riddick, or movies.”

6. The Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977)

The Exorcist II
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

TalkingHead77 nominated “The Exorcist II: The Heretic. Though I think it's a little underrated. It has a strong and surprising advocate in the form of Martin Scorsese.” Redditor Matlockga added, “Exorcist II is terrible, but the third one somehow delivers.” Finally, a user stated, “The third one is based on the author's novel sequel to The Exorcist, Legion (1983), and directed by the author.”

7. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018)

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Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Dear-Bandicoot7087 exclaimed, “FANTASTIC BEASTS! I can't believe no one else has mentioned this yet! The first movie was good. The second one, Crimes of Grindelwald, was one of the worst movies I've ever seen. And the third, Secrets of Dumbledore, was a vast improvement. It was shocking how utterly terrible the second film in the franchise was.”

They continued, “It had a hopelessly convoluted script, a nonsensical story, too many irrelevant side characters, and a dozen subplots that served no purpose other than to confuse the viewer. Johnny Depp was a cartoonish and absurd Grindelwald. He had to wear an earpiece throughout filming because he refused to learn his lines—a dumpster fire of a movie.”

6. Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002)

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Image Credit: 20th Century Fox

SettingVegetable9090 volunteered, “Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones in the prequel trilogy.” Another user said, “The fun of the prequels is that everyone has their own opinion of which is the worst one, and no one can be wrong either.”

DYGTD added, “It's weird because Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace offends the senses with every scene, but Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones is just so dull. I could watch it a hundred times and not be able to give even a cursory plot summary.” Finally, Mubadger summarized, “Nothing happens for 2 hours, then Yoda has a lightsaber fight.”

5. Ocean's Twelve (2004)

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Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

One user answered, “I didn't care about Oceans 12. The only thing I liked about that movie was that laser breakdance scene.” Another Redditor agreed, “Ocean's 12 is the perfect answer. Ocean's 12 was an excuse for that cast to have fun in Italy on someone else's dime. Ocean's 13 was to make up for Ocean's 12

4. John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)

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Image Credit: Lionsgate

Redditor Trylobyte answered, “I thought John Wick: Chapter 2 was the weakest. Magicgoathead agreed, “Two was my least favorite, I believe… but I enjoyed the hell out of all of them, so maybe I need a rewatch to be more critical. The first one is probably the best cause of the story. After that, the only reason I think three might be better than two is the knife store fight.”

They continued, “I have no idea why, but out of the entire trilogy, that fight is the one I remember the most. Three probably gave away more info about the criminal underground scene and such, but the action was top-notch, and I have a trash brain, and that's why I watch those movies.”

3. Thor: The Dark World (2013)

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Courtesy of Marvel Studios.

Redditor Bluebirdgm agreed, “Thor: The Dark World is the least memorable MCU movie EVER to me. And I know it for only two things: the absolute waste of Christopher Eccleston's talent and how it was an early attempt to tie the MCU to “Agents of SHIELD.”

Several people quickly argued that Thor: Love and Thunder was the worst film in the Thor franchise. However, more agreed with ajorjoe23, “I know people aren't crazy about Thor: Love and Thunder, but Thor: The Dark World is infinitely more boring.” Finally, a user suggested, “The Thor franchise made an excellent recovery after part two sucked so bad.”

2. Cars 2 (2011)

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Image Credit: Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures

Bootzilla_Rembrant stated, “Disney Pixar‘s Cars and Cars 3 are hardly masterpieces, but Cars 2 is utter garbage. Low-Cantaloupe9426 added, “Cars 3 should have been the Cars sequel. Cars 2 should have been a Mater spinoff movie.” Another user replied, “Cars 2 – why don't we have some cars get murdered? Sburban_Player agreed, “I can't believe they had that dude get tortured to death in a Pixar movie.”

1. Highlander II: The Quickening (1991)

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Image Credit: InterStar

Typh1osion- admitted, “Highlander II: The Quickening might be one of the worst movies I've ever seen.” Furtherthanfurther asked, “But are the other Highlander movies better or just another low point?”

KRYPTO-86 agreed but added, “Highlander: Endgame is my guilty pleasure sequel. Donnie Yen is excellent, and the fight scenes in Endgame were a lot of fun. Bruce Payne as Jacob Kell is just an enjoyable, fun villain too.”

Honorable Mentions: Caddyshack II, Jurassic Park: The Lost World, and Dumb and Dumberer. We hope you enjoyed this Reddit pick list of film franchises with terrible second movies. Check out these horror film franchises that started out great but got much worse!

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.