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The 10 worst movie sequels of all time, ranked

There is nothing better than a great sequel. Because sequels are so often so highly anticipated, they can often disappoint, so it’s all the sweeter when they don’t. Over the years, we’ve seen a number of sequels that met or even exceeded what the first film was capable of.

For every great sequel that gets made, though, there’s also one that’s terrible. This list chronicles those titles, from the ill-advised to the outright offensive. Many of the movies on this list never needed sequels to begin with, but they got them, and now we’re here, detailing the many ways they disappoint.

10. Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)

10. Transformers: Age of Extinction
Science Fiction, Action, Adventure
Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Nicola Peltz
Directed by
Michael Bay
Watch on Paramount+

Sometimes, a terrible sequel can be almost so bad that it’s enjoyable, and Age of Extinction almost gets there. Unfortunately, this soft reboot of the franchise that features a new roster of human characters is too long and digressive to be any fun on a rewatch.

The action in this Michael Bay sequel is turgid and impossible to follow, and Mark Wahlberg is horribly cast as a small-time inventor. The movie, which is also loaded with product placement, made plenty of money, and was not the final nail in this franchise’s coffin, even if it probably should have been.

Transformers: Age of Extinction Official Trailer #1 (2014) - Michael Bay Movie HD

9. Zoolander 2 (2016)

9. Zoolander 2
Comedy, Adventure, Action
Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell
Directed by
Ben Stiller
Watch on Paramount+
Another sequel delayed entirely too long to be relevant, Zoolander 2 is terrible in all the ways that the original manages to avoid. The idea of Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson playing vain models being forced to deal with their own irrelevance was one worth pursuing, but basically every decision they made was the wrong one. The first Zoolander was a smart look at what had happened to the fashion industry. Its sequel is basically just two old men yelling at clouds for two hours.
Zoolander 2 Trailer (2016) - Paramount Pictures

8. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)

8. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
Drama, Crime
Michael Douglas, Shia LaBeouf, Josh Brolin
Directed by
Oliver Stone
Watch on Amazon
There’s nothing all that horrendous in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, but it very much feels like the kind of movie that has no reason for existing. Following Gordon Gekko after he’s released from prison and is determined to destroy those who wronged him, the movie feels wrongheaded and convoluted. Coming decades after the first film helped define the capitalism of the 1980s, Money Never Sleeps is never as punchy or smart as it should be. Instead, it falls completely flat.
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps | Official Teaser Trailer (HD) | 20th Century FOX

7. The Sting II (1983)

7. The Sting II
Comedy, Crime
Jackie Gleason, Mac Davis, Teri Garr
Directed by
Jeremy Kagan
Watch on Amazon

Most of these movies are bad enough that you want to study them, but The Sting II is so bad, and so boring, that forgetting it completely is the only acceptable course of action. The first Sting won Best Picture, and cemented Robert Redford and Paul Newman as one of the iconic movie duos in cinema history.

Its sequel proved just how rare the magic of that first film was, but in the most uninteresting way possible. The plotting is bad, the performances are rough, and the whole thing feels entirely uninspired from the jump.

The Sting II trailer

6. Blues Brothers 2000 (1998)

6. Blues Brothers 2000
Music, Action, Comedy, Crime
Dan Aykroyd, John Goodman, Joe Morton
Directed by
John Landis
Watch on YouTube

How do you make a Blues Brothers movie without John Belushi? Not well, apparently. Blues Brothers 2000 at least features some solid music, but nothing else about the movie is able to re-capture what made the first film so special.

Elwood’s sidekick is as terrible as every other kid sidekick you’ve ever seen in a movie, and most of the jokes don’t really land either. John Belushi’s death should have made any future Blues Brothers movies impossible, but Dan Aykroyd and company insisted on trying anyway.

Blues Brothers 2000 (1998) Trailer #1 | Movieclips Classic Trailers

5. Jaws: The Revenge (1987)

5. Jaws: The Revenge
Adventure, Thriller, Horror
Lorraine Gary, Lance Guest, Mario Van Peebles
Directed by
Joseph Sargent
Watch on Amazon

If ever a movie existed that shouldn’t have become a franchise, it was Jaws. Even so, Jaws: The Revenge exists, and purports to be the story of a family being hunted by a shark out for revenge.

The reasons for that revenge are never entirely clear, and it is a plot point in the movie that the shark will travel to the Bahamas from the coast of Massachusetts to kill its prey. That’s a determined shark. Jaws: The Revenge is utterly ludicrous, and everything that the original Jaws managed to avoid in telling its own shark-infested horror story.

Jaws: The Revenge Official Trailer #1 - Michael Caine Movie (1987) HD

4. Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)

4. Independence Day: Resurgence
Action, Adventure, Science Fiction
Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Goldblum, Jessie T. Usher
Directed by
Roland Emmerich
Watch on Amazon

Independence Day is far from perfect, but it does have many of the qualities that help a movie stand the test of time. The effects still look solid, it has some great performances, and one incredibly memorable monologue.

Resurgence has almost none of that, and is almost entirely forgettable as a result. There’s no charisma coming from the young actors at the movie’s center, and the stakes feel too high for anything to really matter. It’s remarkably unremarkable, and filled with goopy CGI to boot.

Independence Day: Resurgence | Official Trailer [HD] | 20th Century FOX

3. Basic Instinct 2 (2006)

3. Basic Instinct 2
Crime, Mystery, Thriller
Sharon Stone, David Morrissey, Charlotte Rampling
Directed by
Michael Caton-Jones
Watch on tubi

Sharon Stone created an iconic character in Basic Instinct, and she brings much of that same raw sex appeal to the sequel. Unfortunately, the rest of Basic Instinct 2 is far too canned and corny to keep up with her.

Instead of a compelling Michael Douglas, Stone’s Catherine is now facing off against the much less interesting David Morrissey. She puts in a truly Herculean effort to make the movie the least bit compelling, but she doesn’t come close to saving a project that seems doomed from the moment anyone suggested they make it.

Official Trailer: Basic Instinct 2 (2006)

2. Caddyshack II (1988)

2. Caddyshack II
Jackie Mason, Robert Stack, Dyan Cannon
Directed by
Allan Arkush
Watch on HBO Max

The first Caddyshack is a genuine comedy classic, and the less said about its sequel the better. If you want to know precisely how bad Caddyshack II is, ask the movie’s director, who gave it a one-star review on Letterboxd along with the text: “I should never have made this movie!! What was I thinking?”

Rodney Dangerfield penned the screenplay for this sequel, but hated it so much that he quit before production began. The result is a movie that feels so unfunny it makes you wonder whether it’s even possible that the first one was as funny as you remember it being.

Caddyshack II - Trailer #1

1. Space Jam: A New Legacy (2021)

1. Space Jam: A New Legacy
Family, Animation, Comedy, Science Fiction
LeBron James, Don Cheadle, Cedric Joe
Directed by
Malcolm D. Lee
Watch on Amazon

The first Space Jam feels like something of a marketing ploy for everyone involved, but it’s got nothing on A New Legacy. The film is crammed with so much Warner Bros. IP that it feels almost absurd, and the movie tries to get around this by having Warner Bros. act as the movie’s meta-villain.

LeBron James is not bad at the center of this cinematic re-heat, but not much else about the movie works. It’s a sequel without a purpose other than brand extension, and it’s not even very good on that front.

Space Jam: A New Legacy – Trailer 1

Editors' Recommendations

Movie images and data from:
Joe Allen
Joe Allen is a freelance writer based in upstate New York focused on movies and TV.
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