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OMD's Pop-culture corner: Sequels abounding

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How do you feel about the latest batch of sequels? Which ones worked for you?

When stunt casting works.
When stunt casting works.
Jason Merritt/Getty Images

With the rash of sequels that have hit these past couple months, it was interesting to me that there were a couple that worked pretty well, and a few more that didn't. Obviously in this new age in which we find ourselves, the studios are playing it safe, pouring their money into known quantities in the form of remakes, adaptations from books or television, and sequels to previous box office successes.

While this means fewer and fewer films are made based on original concepts, that hasn't necessarily meant that revisiting our old friends has not been fruitful. Furious 7 delivered on all of the bombast of its immediate predecessors in the Fast & Furious series, and Mad Max: Fury Road showed the full force of what can happen when an auteur is given all of the money to actually realize his vision. It's breathtaking.

Of course, both of those films worked because they never lost sight of what worked in the first place while cranking it to 11. In the case of something like Avengers: Age of Ultron, the studio's need to use the film as a platform to launch a second phase meant that the film was unfocused and ultimately unsatisfying. For Pitch Perfect 2, the legitimate question as to whether this rag-tag bunch of female a cappella singers could be thrust into another story that would be as charming and engaging as the first one was answered with a resounding thud as the music still worked but much of the rest of the film dragged or missed its mark.

And then there's Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2.

What sequels worked for you, and why?