7. Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)

Arnold Schwarzenegger as T-800 in Terminator 2: Judgement Day

Sequel to: The Terminator (1984)

The Terminator franchise makes for a fascinating example of how movie franchises can fall apart upon modernization. When the titular time-traveling death-dealing robot was first introduced back in 1984, the film was a huge success, and that was followed up seven years later with a sequel. Terminator 2: Judgment Day saw not just the return of Schwarzenegger as the T-800, but also the introduction of a new and more powerful Terminator sent to kill young John Connor.

In practically every way, Terminator 2 upped the stakes. It introduced more of the backstory of the Terminators and Skynet, it saw a child’s life hang in the balance rather than an adult woman’s, and it made the action even bigger, better, and more impressive. It maintained the same sense of high-paced action as the first film, but Terminator 2 managed to deliver even more of what the original film so successful. It even delivered one of the most unexpectedly upsetting movie scenes of all time, making the audience care about a robot who was once programmed to assassinate an innocent woman.

In what has since proved to be an example of how to make a near-perfect sequel, Terminator 2 recycled elements of the original film while updating them, simultaneously exploring similar themes further down the narrative track. Terminator 2 is more than just classic sci-fi action, it’s an utterly iconic movie in its own right, and the consensus is that it outshines its predecessor by a considerable margin. Terminator 2: Judgement Day shaped the entire Terminator franchise, and no film has yet recaptured its success.