You have heard it a million times, and quite often it is true-The sequel to x isn't nearly as good as the first one. I have another fine example.
I sat down and watched Swedish movie "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" and was very impressed. DAMN good movie. You learn more and more about the two main characters as the movie unfolds. They aren't just cliche personalities you see so often in Hollywood thrillers. The movie makes you CARE about them and want to learn more with each tidbit that the film maker doles out. Lisbeth Salandar is a very damaged woman, possibly with asperger's, who still manages to be ridiculously strong despite the crap heap that was her childhood. On top of it, the mystery the two characters are working on is intriguing and keeps you guessing as to just what happened.
I liked Tattoo so much, right away I decided "What the heck, I'll watch the next one" So I queued up "The Girl Who Played With Fire". While not a bad movie it is nowhere as interesting as the first film. It seems the new director was just content to let the established characters go through the motions in a story that wasn't nearly as interesting. It relied on plot twists that began to border on the absurd. Granted there where a few parts that had me grinning and muttering "kick ass", but they were highlights in a far less engaging whole. I haven't read any of the books, so I cannot say how close either of these movies was to the source material-maybe the second book was a big letdown as well.
Hollywood is currently making an American version of "Tattoo". I can't say I have high hopes. I just can't see this American version trusting its viewers to have the patience to let a story and its characters unfold slowly over two hours. I expect they will try to spice it up by upping the action quotient. That would be a bad plan.