One of my favorite sequels of all time is Machete Kills. By no means is it an award winning masterpiece or even in my top ten films – but as a sequel, it really hits the nail on the head.
Machete is a film that starts off semi-realist – with Machete (yes that’s his name) taking a contract to kill a corrupt US senator – but by the end it’s just starting to go off its rockers. Machete Kills starts almost where the previous one left off – allowing you to get back into the feel of the movie – before ramping up the nonsense and delivering a ludicrous plot line with a trailer at the end that sees him jet off into space (insert lightsaber esque machetes!)
It might seem like a crazy idea, but it’s obvious as to why they’ve done this: if you didn’t like the first one, you’re not going to see the second one. Why dilute your creativity to a market that’s not coming?
Matthew Vaughn said something similar about Kingsman: The Golden Circle (if someone could find the reference, that would be really handy) and it’s true. Your first film needs to be a little broader to engage a wider audience, get people interested in it and introduce its name to the world. Whilst the sequel should really be focused on rewarding those that left the first movie wanting more.
Another great example is The Raid. A fairly straight forward (if a little gory) fighting film whose sequel goes full Tarantino by the end.
And it’s true across the board:
Like Star Wars, here’s Empire Strikes Back. An in depth look at all those characters you met before, a small green Jedi master and more lightsaber stuff than you can shake a gaffi stick at.
Like Alien, here’s Aliens. A look at what would happen if there were more than one of the critters, the humans had space weapons and how to cope with PTSD.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 didn’t do this for me last year. All it did was match the levels of the first one, which – because the first one is so good – is fine. Maybe being placed inside of a cinematic universe can hamper creative edges? Maybe it’s just that the first one was so out there, it left itself no more room for expansion?
Moving onto a spoiler free look at Deadpool 2 – a film that shouldn’t care about cinematic universe continuity and with a whole bunch of potential scope – it does the same thing. They even repeat a lot of the jokes from the first film. But now they’ve got more money, they can visualise it instead of relying on witty dialogue.
There is so much potential for absolute absurdity in this movie that it just never reaches through one reason or another. Just breaking the fourth wall nowadays isn’t all it used to be after The Lego Batman Movie 100% nailed it.
And so, I’m left feeling the same way about it as its predecessor. If you like the first one, you’ll like this just as much. Personally I was left wanting more from Deadpool, more that Deadpool 2 never gave me. It just doesn’t seem to run now that it’s learnt to walk… it just carries on walking.