We were thoroughly sequel-ized this summer; just about every movie that made any money in the past coughed up a remake or a sequel. And because the target audience apparently isn't old enough to know about any movies made before 2003, it's all as good as brand new. (You'll note that few, if any, of this summer's sequels had a number attached to it, as in Rush Hour 3. All the better to fool the young-uns in the audience.) Four such sequels have tumbled down into my humble less-than-400 screen territory, so I thought I'd take a moment to discuss some of the rules of good and bad sequels.
1. If you're starting up a superhero franchise, the "origin" part in the first movie is pretty dull and takes up a lot of screen time. The second in the franchise is always better, simply because we get to dive right in without a long setup. Even a movie as terrible as Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (187 screens) improves upon its even more terrible predecessor.