Entertainment Geekly is a weekly column that examines contemporary pop culture through a geek lens and simultaneously examines contemporary geek culture through a pop lens. So many lenses!
In decades past, the movie sequel was a frowned-upon concept, something that implied unoriginality or laziness. There were exceptions (The Godfather Part II), and if you were a genre head in the ’80s, then you witnessed the birth of the Sequel-As-Perfected-Original (Wrath of Khan and Road Warrior and Empire Strikes Back and maybe Aliens), although that in turn led to the birth of the Threequel-As-Bloated-Mess (Search for Spock and Beyond Thunderdome and Return of the Jedi and Alien 3). Sequels as a cultural idea belonged to beefcake action heroes and cut-rate horror franchises.
At this point, though, complaining about sequels feels a bit archaic — the equivalent of the parents in Bye Bye Birdie complaining about rock and roll. Sequels are essentially the business of the mainstream Hollywood studios. The five top-grossing movies of 2013 are sequels that outperformed their predecessors, and there’s every reason to think Thor: The Dark World and Catching Fire will join that list soon.
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