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The best movie sequels of all time

Friday - 6/13/2014, 6:51am  ET

What makes a good sequel?

WTOP Film Critic Jason Fraley recalls some of the all-time best.

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WASHINGTON -- It's time to train your dragon on Jump Street, as two popular sequels battle for the box office crown this weekend, both starring Jonah Hill.

In one corner, it's Dreamworks' "How to Train Your Dragon 2," where Medieval teen Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) reunites with his flying dragon Toothless for the much anticipated follow-up to the adorable 2010 hit. Hill voices the supporting character Snotlout, along with a vocal cast of Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera and Kristen Wiig.

The original "How to Train Your Dragon" could have easily won the Oscar for Best Animated Film in 2010, had it not gone up against Buzz and Woody in Pixar's "Toy Story 3."

This year's 'Dragon' sequel could very well be in the Oscar running, as well as become one of the top grossing movies of the year. Last year, three of the Top 7 grossing movies were animated, no doubt due to their family friendly combo of childlike wonder and subtle adult humor.

Meanwhile, Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum return as the sophomoric detective duo in "22 Jump Street," a follow-up to the surprise 2012 comedy hit based on the 1980s TV series.

The sequel's trailers have been admirably honest: "Nobody cared about the 'Jump Street' reboot, but you got lucky. So now this department has invested a lot of money to make sure that 'Jump Street' keeps going." Will Hill's recent controversial remarks affect ticket sales?

If it seems like we're seeing more sequels these days, you're not imagining things. Nine of the Top 12 grossing movies last year were either sequels or prequels. Another was a reboot ("Man of Steel"), leaving just two of the Top 12 original ideas: "Frozen" and "Gravity." Both of those won Oscars.

So what exactly makes a good sequel? And what's the best sequel of them all?

Check out our Best Movie Sequels gallery.

See where this film ranks in Jason's Fraley Film Guide. Follow WTOP Film Critic Jason Fraley on Twitter @JFrayWTOP, read his blog The Film Spectrum, listen Friday mornings on 103.5 FM and see a full list of his stories on our "Fraley on Film" page.

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