10 Movie Sequels That Completely Changed Genres

When we look at some of the biggest sequels cinema has to offer – like The Godfather Part II, The black Knight, The Empire Strikes Back, etc. — we often celebrate the creative ingenuity and audacity they have shown. We highlight their ability to honour, recall and simultaneously expand upon the themes, ideas and story established in the films they succeeded. But some suites have gone even further in order to differentiate themselves.


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Whether it’s a pursuit of individualism, a change of vision from a new creative team, or simply the natural progression of the story, these follow-up films have gone so far as to rock a any other kind. Whether it’s Ellen Ripley taking on hundreds of xenomorphs or the God of Thunder being played for laughs, these sequels have stuck with us because of their defining dramatic genre shifts.

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10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

Many sequels try to go further and better than their predecessors, and this is especially true in horror, but 2016 10 Cloverfield Lane did the opposite. Following Cloverfield — an acclaimed monster flick that spans New York City — this sequel downplayed the film’s scope and upped the stakes.

Installed in the enclosure of a bunker, a young woman (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) wakes up after a car accident and is informed that the outside world has been attacked. The mistrust between the three main characters builds perfectly as more information about each is revealed, making for a heart-pounding psychological thriller loaded with jaw-dropping suspense and plenty of twists.

Joker: Madness for Two (2024)

It’s rare for a sequel to such a successful film to completely change genres, but it’s even rarer for the change to be so heavily publicized from the get-go. Joker: Madness for two raised a lot of eyebrows with the announcement that it will further explore the story of Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) as a musical drama.

2019 Joker was, in its own right, a significant genre shift in the realm of superhero movies as grueling psychological drama and unyielding character study. Scheduled for release in 2024, Joker: Madness for two will begin production in December with Todd Phillips back to writing and directing.

Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)

With five films in the franchise, the Rambo the films have become one of the hallmark action franchises in entertainment, though they weren’t always meant to be. 1982 first blood had good doses of action, but the film itself – as well as the book it was based on – was equally preoccupied with the dramatic rhythms of the story and the fractured psyches of many post-war Vietnam veterans.

Rambo: First Blood Part II regresses as an offering of pure action violence, which has become the series’ trend. While it consistently delivers thrilling action sequences, it lacks the engrossing character-driven drama that so effectively sets first blood to be a simple action movie.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 (1986)

While some genre changes have been more drastic than that, few have been so flawless. The darkest of black comedies, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 spoofs the original, which remains one of the most renowned horror films of all time.

Unsurprisingly, this jarring change in tone drew mixed reviews, with some loving the comedy while others lamented the lack of sheer terror that defined the first film. While many horror franchises have since dabbled in comedy in later films, none have done so with the conviction of this particular sequel.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Even with its ability to blend action, war, and sci-fi elements, Captain America: The First Avenger was a relatively common superhero origin story, while Captain America: Tthe winter soldier turned out to be something boldly different for the MCU. Letting go of the past and taking a seat in building the future, this sequel saw Captain America (Chris Evans) fighting conspiracies and espionage in its ranks.

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Although he spared no action, winter soldier offered a story closer to a political thriller than a superhero blockbuster. The end result was praised for its boldness and is considered one of Marvel’s best films to date.

The Chronicles of Riddick (2004)

When it comes to low-budget survival thrillers, David Twoyit is field black was a pleasant surprise, with an underlying tinge of sci-fi horror keeping things interesting. Armed with a greatly increased budget, The Chronicles of Riddick set out to be an epic, bombastic action follow-up, a genre shift that didn’t sit well with the franchise.

field blackThe claustrophobic tension of has all but disappeared with the higher stakes and vast scope. In 2013, Riddick was released as the third entry in the series, and it thankfully returned to the kind of confined survival thriller that made the first film so compelling.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

Not unlike The Chronicles of Riddick, Terminator 2: Judgment Day offered an expansive, sprawling, action-packed epic to follow up on a low-budget survival thriller. The biggest difference, however, is that this sequel did so incredibly well and was hailed as one of the greatest action movies of all time.

The action sequences are as good today as they were on release, Linda Hamilton commands the film as one of the best female badasses in cinema, and the redeployment of Arnold SchwarzeneggerThe T-800 as a hero proved to be an inspired decision giving us one of the most iconic characters ever to appear on screen. The Terminator was a great sci-fi slasher, but it struggles to compete with the action masterpiece that followed it.

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

After two financially successful but ultimately forgettable action-adventures movies, the Thor The franchise was the MCU’s most vanilla property. That changed drastically when the comedy sensation Taika Waititi was named director of the third installment of the series, Thor: Ragnarok.

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Embracing the levity of being a goofy comedy, Thor’s (Chris Hemsworth) the story didn’t just change genres; he eventually found a unique identity that allowed the character to exist as something fresh and original. The gamble paid off with Thor: Ragnarok considered by many to be the crowning achievement of the MCU due to its shifting tone, vibrant aesthetic, and fun and playful take on the story.

“The Army of Darkness” (1992)

Sam Raimiit is evil Dead trilogy was such a rollercoaster that the two evil death 2 and army of darkness are remarkable genre-changing sequels. It was army of darkness although it really broke away from the horror tropes that made 1981s evil Dead such an iconic success.

More of a fantasy adventure, army of darkness was the perfect dose of bold, goofy awkwardness to wrap up Raimi’s trilogy, as evil Dead is defined by its horror and hilarity. Bruce Campbell commanded the film with its charismatic comedy that kept the entire trilogy intact, giving it consistency despite its intense genre leaps.

‘Aliens’ (1986)

aliens is universally hailed as one of the greatest movie sequels of all time as well as one of the most thrilling action movies ever made. Both of these accomplishments are all the more impressive considering its predecessor is one of the most influential and acclaimed horror films in the world.

The strong sci-fi overtones remain entirely intact and horror elements are still prevalent, but aliens defines itself by its spectacle as an action blockbuster of the highest caliber. Sigourney WeaverRipley’s performance deserves credit for this, as she embodied gender change with aplomb, becoming one of the iconic action heroes in the process.

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Movie sequels that surpassed their predecessor

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