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10 Worst Movie Sequels of All Time, Ranked

Animated LeBron James in Space Jam: A New Legacy

When you love a movie so much it becomes part of your soul, your heart may plummet upon learning it’s getting a sequel. Why? Well, because a lot of sequels just plain aren’t very good. Some are great, sure! But when it comes to movies like the ones on this list, at best they’re a cheap cash-grab, and at worst they ruin the original beyond repair.

Here’s a list of ten of the most infamous sequels of all time, ranked from least awful to absolute worst. If you’re a Hollywood producer reading this, now you know what not to do.

10. Speed 2: Cruise Control

Sandra Bullock and Willem Dafoe aboard a boat in Speed 2: Cruise Control (20th Century Fox)
(20th Century Fox)

Keanu Reeves is a man who makes good decisions, and one of his best ones was opting not to appear in this sequel to Speed. Sandra Bullock came back for it, though, and she hates that she did. She said in a 2022 interview that she was “still embarrassed” to have starred in it, and quipped that the plot, “makes no sense: slow boat, slowly going towards an island.” Fair enough. However, Daniel Radcliffe, who was being interviewed at the same time, did point out that the movie has a “quiet” cult following. If you’re a member of that following … maybe never mention that to Sandra Bullock.

9. Grease 2

Maxwell Caulfield and Michelle Pfeiffer in Grease 2 (Paramount)

The first Grease isn’t the best film ever made or anything, but it’s definitely better than Grease 2, a movie so bad that only Michelle Pfeiffer survived it. And even then she almost didn’t! Apparently, Brian De Palma had to be convinced by a producer to hire her for the role of Elvira Hancock in Scarface, such was the state of her career after this terrible sequel. Still, at least everything worked out for her from there. Every actor’s done a movie they’d rather forget.

8. Independence Day: Resurgence

William Fichtner, Jeff Goldblum and Brent Spiner in Independence Day: Resurgence (20th Century Fox)
(20th Century Fox)

Hey, guess what, those pesky aliens didn’t leave Earth alone after all! That is the plot of the Will Smith-less sequel to Independence Day, which dropped twenty years after the original. Smith’s absence from the film is explained away as his character having died in a training accident, which is kind of a bummer. Then some forgettable things happen involving Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Goldblum is there, important characters are treated like afterthoughts, and the aliens are defeated again. As everyone knew they would be. Yeah … Smith was right to sit this one out.

7. Space Jam: A New Legacy

LeBron James and Bugs Bunny in Space Jam: A New Legacy (Warner Bros.)
(Warner Bros.)

Was Space Jam really a movie that needed a sequel? Really? Well, someone at Warner Bros. thought so and the result is this bizarre brightly-colored fever dream. It’s not really a movie so much as a series of adverts for WB properties—Game of Thrones, Rick and Morty, and even frickin’ A Clockwork Orange are all in there—and it was rightly slaughtered by critics for being so. The original Space Jam isn’t exactly Shakespeare but at least it had charm. The sequel has absolutely none.

6. Star Trek: Into Darkness

Benedict Cumberbatch and Karl Urban in Star Trek: Into Darkness (Paramount)

The first J.J. Abrams Star Trek movie was good! And then its inevitable sequel came along and … well. The first thing they did was whitewash the character of Khan, and the second thing they did was a gratuitous underwear scene involving Carol Marcus. So not great, guys. It did a lot better critically and financially than some of the other films on this list, but Abrams himself said in 2015, “I feel like it didn’t work as well as it could have had I made some better decisions before we started shooting.”

5. Pacific Rim: Uprising

John Boyega in Pacific Rim: Uprising (Universal Pictures)
(Universal Pictures)

Hopes were so high for Uprising before it actually came out. It sounded so good! Some of the most beloved members of the original cast were returning, although admittedly not all, and John Boyega was the new main character! What could possibly go wrong? Well … just about everything, as it turned out. Uprising managed to take away almost everything people loved about the first film, including Mako Mori, and then left audiences hanging with the promise of a third movie that never happened in the end.

4. Highlander II: The Quickening

Virginia Madsen and Christopher Lambert in Highlander II: The Quickening (Davis-Panzer Productions)
(Davis-Panzer Productions)

Roger Ebert said it best: “Highlander 2: The Quickening is the most hilariously incomprehensible movie I’ve seen in many a long day—a movie almost awesome in its badness. Wherever science fiction fans gather, in decades and generations to come, this film will be remembered in hushed tones as one of the immortal low points of the genre.” And he was absolutely correct! Not only did The Quickening ruin the first movie, it remains to this day a stain on the entire franchise. Still … guess we’ll see what happens with the planned Henry Cavill-starring reboot?

3. Wonder Woman 1984

Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman 1984 (Warner Bros.)
(Warner Bros.)

How to do a second Wonder Woman movie? Well, how about making the main character obsessed with a man she knew for a short time decades ago and have all her character development revolve around him? For bonus points, why not give Kristen Wiig a thankless role as a CGI cat lady? And don’t forget the sexual assault plot. Just, a total mess of a movie that will make you baffled as to how the first one turned out so good. The only bright spot in the whole thing was the internet’s boyfriend Pedro Pascal doing what he does best and playing a dad.

2. American Psycho 2: All American Girl

Mila Kunis in American Psycho II: All American Girl (Lionsgate)

Okay, raise your hand if you didn’t know there was an American Psycho sequel at all, let alone one starring Mila Kunis? But there was, and it’s notoriously bad. So bad, in fact, it holds a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Kunis herself said in 2005 that the film was originally meant to be a different project, and it was re-edited (badly) to be an American Psycho sequel. She also begged audiences to never allow an American Psycho 3.

1. Son of the Mask

Alan Cumming and Bob Hoskins in Son of the Mask (New Line)
(New Line)

Not just one of the worst sequels of all time but one of the worst movies of all time, period. It has been almost twenty years since it came out and I have never, ever heard anyone say a positive word about it. Alan Cumming, Bob Hoskins, what possessed you to sign onto this?! But even they couldn’t save it. Anyway, if you want a movie featuring the god of mischief Loki there are so many better options, and none of them include vomit jokes or a baby fighting a dog.

(featured image: Warner Bros.)

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Sarah Barrett (she/her) is a freelance writer with The Mary Sue who has been working in journalism since 2014. She loves to write about movies, even the bad ones. (Especially the bad ones.) The Raimi Spider-Man trilogy and the Star Wars prequels changed her life in many interesting ways. She lives in one of the very, very few good parts of England.