After a month of debate, there were really only two movies that were ever in contention for the title of “Greatest Sequel of All-Time”, and over the last two weeks The Empire Strikes Back distanced itself from The Dark Knight to triumph as the Killing Time community’s pick as greatest sequel.
The only film that gave Empire any competition was 2008’s The Dark Knight; Chris Nolan’s brilliant follow-up to Batman Begins. Finishing in third place is the only sequel still to ever win the Academy Award for Best Picture: The Godfather Part II. I thought it would be a three-way race between these films, but Godfather didn’t put up nearly the numbers I thought it might. Empire was my vote as well. The Star Wars Universe as we know it really began with the second film in the saga. Taking a fairly simple, linear story like A New Hope and adding new locations, iconic characters, and perhaps the greatest plot twist of all-time, blew the possibilities for the space opera wide-open (something we’re still enjoying the benefits of this weekend as fans gather in London for the annual Star Wars Fan Celebration).
Though many people prefer the second act of The Godfather to the first, I prefer the original film, whereas there’s no arguing that Empire and The Dark Knight surpassed their predecessors. That’s not to take anything away from Coppola’s crime epic. It’s a brilliant film; one of the best of all-time, but it’s a sequel on par with the original while the top two finishers are exponentially better than their original film. With three exceptions (no love for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Skyfall, or Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) every other nominated film received at least one vote. I think the next two on my list would probably be Terminator 2 and Aliens (though voters would swap Aliens for Mad Max: Fury Road) to round out a top 5 list. Thanks to everyone who voted, shame OH SHAME upon those who did not, and we’ll have a new poll up sometime next week!