1. The Dark Knight
Batman Begins made Batman fans take notice of director Christopher Nolan. The Dark Knight made fans a little afraid of Nolan. This dark exploration of the mind of a psychopathic Joker takes viewers into a world of violence and insanity not soon forgotten. Christian Bale’s portrayal of Batman beats the efforts of all the other actors who came before him.
2. The Godfather Part 2 (1974)
The story of how Michael Corleone rose to the position of Godfather while his son sank to the depths of immorality captivated audiences. This drama picks up where the Godfather leaves off while going back in time for a look at the early life of this powerful family.
3. The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
The Empire Strikes Back, the 5th movie of the Star Wars epic, left audiences needing more. Han Solo’s (Harrison Ford) life was left in the unknown and the saga had to continue. Just like movie serials of the 1950s; you had to wait for the next picture show to find out the fate of the hero.
4. Spiderman 2 (2004)
Peter Parker (Tobey Maquire) tries to balance college, work, Jane (Kirsten Dunst) and crime fighting. The pressure and guilt he feels after his best friend, Harry (James Franco) blames Spiderman for the death of his father, Lex Luther, prompts him to quit crime fighting. But not for long when a new bad guy comes to town.
5. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
The Terminator introduced a killing machine from the future that comes to the present to kill his maker’s unborn son. Terminator 2 comes to protect that same son from a more technologically advanced killing machine. The second Terminator showed the fun side of the Terminator and the buff side of Linda Hamilton.
6. From Russia with Love (1963)
Sean Connery plays 007 in the second James Bond film, which really defines the rest of the Bond movies. The formula for action, romance and suspense makes From Russia with Love the true beginning of the Bond era. With gadgets, beautiful women and a fast car James Bond was born.
7. The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Boris Karloff returns as Frankenstein’s monster in this horror sequel. This time the morbid scientist builds a woman. She’s alive and repulsed by her boyfriend. After much disgust and screaming, Frankenstein’s monster realizes his arranged wife-to-be hates him. The moral of the story: Creation works best the old-fashioned way.
8. Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)
The Road Warrior, starring a very young Mel Gibson, was filmed in the Australian outback. The director, George Miller, sets a post-apocalyptic world full of warring factions who live in a vast desert. Oil has become the most precious commodity in the world. The brilliant stunt work, filmed at amazing speeds, makes Mad Max 2 standout from the original.
9. For a Few Dollars More (1965)
Sergio Leone directed this spaghetti western starring Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef and Gian Maria. Eastwood, his character had no name, plays a bounty hunter in the second of three “Dollar” movies. The first, A Fistful of Dollars, began the bloody trilogy without giving reason for the violence. For a Few Dollars More the audience finds out why “The Man With no Name” kills without conscious or mercy.
10. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
The third movie in the Indiana Jones series broke records at the box office by taking in over $50-million the week of its release. With George Lucas and Steven Spielberg as directors and an all-star cast, the Last Crusade was a big budget hit. River Phoenix played the young Indiana Jones and Sean Connery played Indie’s dad who disappears while searching for the Holy Grail.
11. Aliens (1986)
Suspense fueled Alien while bloodthirsty revenge fires-up the sequel, Aliens. The plot of Aliens puts the crew in full action mode to destroy the extraterrestrial stowaway on board. The entire production of Aliens was bigger and more aggressive than the first with the cast ready to annihilate any unknown they encountered.
12. Lethal Weapon 2 (1989)
Lethal Weapon and Lethal Weapon 2 both stand out as great buddy films. What makes the second episode stand out: Danny Glover sitting on a booby-trapped toilet. Mel Gibson and Danny Glover play together in this movie and it is fun, more even when Joe Pesci comes to play too.
13. National Lampoons Christmas Vacation (1989)
Chevy Chase hit the National Lampoon high point in this third Griswald family movie. Clark tries to make a happy Christmas for his family but, in the Griswald way, nothing goes as planned. Christmas Vacation brings fun back to the Vacation series.
14. Shrek 2 (2004)
Just when you thought nothing could beat an exploding blue bird, here comes Puss in Boots with his big sad eyes, knee length boots and cute little sword. Shrek 2 edges its predecessor by a cat’s hair as the best of the Shrek series so far.
15. Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
The Wrath of Khan tops the list of best Star Trek movies on many lists. With Ricardo Montalbon playing Kohn, this film has action and adventure along with the easy banter between Kirk, Spock, Bones and the rest of the crew.
16. Despicable Me 2 (2013)
Steve Carell and Russell Brand lend their voices to the 3D Despicable Me 2. The animated feature brings a little naughty and nice to kids and parents. State of the art 3D animation and a funny adventurous plot nudges this sequel ahead of its predecessor. Watch the popping yellow things with goggles come off the screen to sit in your lap.
17. Hostel: Part 2 (2007)
Three American students set out to explore Europe on their own when a model invites them to a hostel for a weekend of relaxation and rest. The sequel to the Hostel invites audiences to an even more sadistic world where death and torture amuse the rich.
18. Friday the 13th Part 2
Wes Craven’s worse nightmare got better in the second Freddy Kruger romp across the big screen. The nightmare invading psychopath scared girls into their boyfriend’s laps in theaters everywhere and Friday the 13th Part 2 beats the first nightmare by a scratch.
19. Toy Story 2 (1999)
The toys must save Woody in this adventure. The beautiful animation sets Toy Story 2 apart from the prequel. It pops from the screen in bright computer generated colors with flawless fluidity. The storyline keeps kids and adults interested and laughing.
20. X2: The X-Men United (2003)
A new threat to the mutant population forces the X-Men to side with their enemy in battle. Deeper characters and the struggles they have encountered in a world not ready to embrace mutants make X2 darker than the first movie. The action and introduction of new characters like Lady Deathstrike, whose powers equal Wolverines, keep the excitement from fading.
21. Superman II (1980)
Superman loses his powers when he asks Lois Lane to marry him. This happens just as three villains from Krypton decide to take over the world. Can Superman defeat the horrible trio without his super powers? Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder and Gene Hackman star in this romantic, tragic sequel.
22. 28 Weeks Later (2007)
The rage virus has returned. It returns ready to destroy anyone in its way and if you thought the first movie was filled with heartless violence, you will think it was a heartfelt love story after watching the sequel.
23. Die Hard With a Vengeance (1995)
Bruce Willis once again saves the world when the airport his wife’s flight will land at becomes a terrorist’s strong hold. No planes can land; including the one Willis’s wife is on. The sequel outdoes the first movie in size and one-liners.
24. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
The third Harry Potter installment overshadows the first two with director Alfonso Cuaron taking over to bring audiences a fine adventure the fans appreciated. The movie stayed closer to the plot in the book and was nominated for 2 Oscars.
25. Hot Shots! Part Deux (1993)
Fluffy Bunny Slippers returns to action as a Rambo wannabe after his superior officer, played by Richard Crenna, becomes a hostage in Iraq. More sight gags and inane humor by a buff Charlie Sheen give the movie a laugh over the prequel.