The originals aren’t always best. Exceptions include “The Godfather: Part II” and “Aliens.”

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The seventh installment in “The Fast and the Furious” franchise opened thisweekend in local theaters. In a fit of optimism, we dreamed up a list of sequels that are better than the originals.

‘The Godfather: Part II’

This sequel — the first ever to win an Academy Award for Best Picture — has better acting, better direction and a better story than “The Godfather,” with parallel dramas between the young Vito Corleone (Robert De Niro) and his son, Michael (Al Pacino) (1974).

‘The Empire Strikes Back’

The middle film in the original “Star Wars” trilogy takes the wide-eyed, whiz-bang wonders of its predecessor and adds character, depth and one heck of a cliffhanger (1980).

‘Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan’

Spock (the late, great Leonard Nimoy) regrets that he has but one life to give for his friends in this follow-up to “Star Trek: The Motion Picture,” while Ricardo Montalbán eats scenery as Khan (1982).

‘Aliens’

James Cameron’s 1986 sequel to “Alien” takes survivor Ellen Ripley (Oscar-nominated Sigourney Weaver), adds a group of tough Marines and puts the viewer on a roller-coaster ride that doesn’t let up until the final scene (“Get away from her you Bitch!”) (1986).

Seattle Times staff