Top 7 Animated Sequels of This Century!

The original masterpieces from Disney, Sony, and Dreamworks may hold a special place in our hearts, but their sequels don’t miss a beat! Here are 7 of the Top Animated Sequels that came out this century!

It is hard to replicate the magic and emotion of an original animated film. There is a commonality that normally stands when it comes to sequels, where it can never top the original. Though this is common, there are worthy sequels out there! Some would even dare to argue that some sequels can surpass the original premise!

Toy Story 3

Released in 2010, Toy Story 3 graced the screens of those who grew up with Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and pals! When these iconic toys are mistakenly delivered to a day-care center, Woody must convince the others to return home! Facing the strawberry-scented teddy bear, Lots-o’ and other daycare toys, the gang must plan their great escape! 

Toy Story 3 is a critically acclaimed sequel with many fans claiming that this might lead the franchise entirely! This classic holds a 98% Tomatometer score and the highest Pixar rated film to date with a 92 Metacritic Universal Acclaim! Though it is hard to beat the adventures through Al’s Toy Barn in Toy Story 2, or the classic Sid adventures in Toy Story, Toy Story 3 gives these Pixar masterpieces a run for their money!

Finding Dory 

Following the original childhood classic Disney Pixar’s Finding Nemo is a tough act to follow, yet Finding Dory seemingly retained the winning formula from its predecessor! Through this beautifully animated feature released in 2016, we adventure as Dory begins to search for her long-lost parents! Traveling land and sea, this fish must learn who to trust and the real meaning of family along the way!

Finding Dory shattered box office records in its opening weekend with a $136.2 million opening, setting a new high-water mark for an animated film debut! Compared to Finding Nemo’s release in 2003 collecting $70.2 million, Finding Dory nearly doubled it’s original’s box office earnings!

The Incredibles 2

Picking right up where The Incredibles left off in 2004, Disney Pixar’s The Incredibles 2 follows the infamous Parr family as their family dynamics change! When Elastigirl, Helen Parr, goes out to save the world,signing a collective with Devtech, Helen begins to unravel the mystery of who holds malicious designs of the world! All the while Mr. Incredible, Bob Parr, must manage the house, work, and rambunctious Jack Jack! Can this super family once again save the world? 

The Incredibles 2 released in 2018, a whopping 14 years after the original! Though it was over a decade later, this sequel absolutely smashed the box office! This super family broke the record for the biggest opening of all time for an animated film! The Incredibles 2 also holds an 80 Metacritic score, with critic Drew Taylor stating, “It would have been a relief if, 14 years later, Incredibles 2 had simply met expectations. Instead, it exceeds them.”

How to Train Your Dragon 2

How to Train Your Dragon 2 starts off five years after the original, How to Train Your Dragon leaves off uniting the dragons and Vikings of Berk! Toothless and Hiccup now spend their time exploring new lands and happen upon a secret cave that houses hundreds of wild dragons, and a mysterious dragon rider. When a power hungry warrior discovers these untamed dragons, Hiccup and Toothless find themselves necessary in order to protect their home, Berk.

Currently Holding a 92% Tomatometer Score and a 90% Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes, How to Train Your Dragon 2’s release in 2014 was astounding compared to its previous release How to Train Your Dragon. Though the heart warming story of Toothless and Hiccup shall never be topped, How To Train Your Dragon 2 does an exquisite job at deepening the backstory and wonder of this world! It was also the biggest-grossing animated feature of 2014 topping movies like Big Hero 6, The Lego Movie, and The Book of Life, with a worldwide cumulative of $618 million!

Shrek 2

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, will this franchise ever cease to amaze us!? Shrek 2 follows up an absolute banger in the original Shrek! After returning from their honeymoon, Fiona’s parents hear that she has married her true love and invite them to their kingdom of Far Far Away. Unfortunately for them they were unaware of Fiona’s curse and assumed that Shrek was not a 700 pound green ogre! This causes a bit of confusion and tomfoolery which is perfect for a Shrek movie! 

After Shrek 2’s release twenty years ago in 2004, Dreamworks has followed up this franchise with two more releases: Shrek the Third and Shrek Forever After! There is online discourse debating on what Shrek movie is the best, and let’s just say Shrek 2 has won the hearts of millions around the world! Cosmopolitan even goes on to say, “ we’re going to spell it out anyway, that Shrek 2 is easily the best movie within the Shrek universe.”

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

Though the Puss in Boots is a spinoff of the Dreamworks Shrek franchise, it has more than gained its footing in the animation world! Puss in Boots: The Last Wish’s release in 2022, pushes the boundaries of animation as we once again heed our leche-loving feline, Puss in Boots. As Puss discovers that his livelihood has taken a toll and he is clutching to the last of his 9 lives, he must come to ask for assistance from his former partner Kitty Soft Paws. In their quest they face other story book foes in search of the same Wishing Star, Puss must out maneuver death whilst learning to trust those around him. 

This movie moved people in so many ways, using mature and relatable emotions while cleverly showing us a story of love and friendship. It’s commonly hard for an animated movie to be taken seriously in the eyes of critics due to the characterization and art style, yet critic MissSimonetta on IMDb found herself moved by the existential crisis of this cartoon cat. She states, “It works on so many levels: as a high-speed comedy, all the jokes land, but as a story about mortality and the meaning of life, this film is oddly compelling and mature. The plot literally involves Puss running from the personification of death, hoping to cling to his life. In between the funny scenes, I was actually moved by the existential crisis of this cartoon cat. That’s no small feat.”

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

If you have been paying any attention to the world of superheroes, animation, or even music, then you know about Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse! Released just this past year in 2023 the much awaited sequel Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, shocked the world and internet with its vibrant and creative style. Following hero Miles Morales as he faces the Multiverse to join forces with Gwen Stacy and its infinite Spider-People! Though Miles isn’t accepted by Miguel O-Hara, they must turn to face a villain more powerful than anything they have encountered before! 

Again this film has been everywhere since its release and we are not denying its impact! Currently this film holds a 95% Tomatometer score, an 86 Universal Acclaim score on Metacritic, and an 8.6 on IMDb! No one is denying that this film is nothing but spectacular, and we can wait for its counterpart Spider-Man: Beyond The Spider-Verse to tie up the giant cliff hangers Sony Animation left us with! 

About the Author

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Elizabeth "Ellie" Davis

Elizabeth “Ellie” Davis, a junior at Loyola Marymount University, is majoring in animation and minoring in interactive gaming & immersive media. On top of her studies, Ellie competes as a part of the Lions on the NCAA Beach Volleyball Team and is currently a media intern at AfterBuzz TV. She is passionate about creating and telling stories one pixel at a time.