6. The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride
Okay, hear us out. Never mind “Hakuna Matata” or these breathless rants about what Mufasa, Scar, and Simba rEpReSenT (feudalism, fascism, and capitalism, respectively). Let’s talk about the fact that “Not One of Us” is one of the coldest villain origin songs of all time.
5. Spider-Man 2
Sam Raimi’s sequel to the original thrills of Spidey versus Green Goblin is possibly the best villain story in the Spider-Man film canon. Alfred Molina blows the Dr. Octopus role outta the deep sea, seeking vengeance in Spidey simply because the webslanga was present for his wife’s horrific death. The scientist’s turn to trife life evokes Walter White vibes. No speed here, just sheer adrenaline hooked directly into our veins.
4. House Party 2
The house is bigger, the hair more bangin’, and with a noticeably beefed-up budget, Kid ’n Play got into their duffle on this one. Pajama parties > high school parties any day of the damn week.
3. The Godfather Part II
Many of us weren’t even abstractions in our parents’ subconscious when this shit basically invented gangster movies in the 1970s. Something else it invented? White fratricide. Michael Corleone is a baaaad man.
2. The Empire Strikes Back
This film was made for kids with daddy wounds—and best believe some of ours ached the first time we watched. Imagine not only that your father left, but that he became a crucial cog in a galactic genocidal machine. Like, how could Luke Skywalker think of anything else besides that?
1. The Dark Knight
There’s some dissent within the LEVEL squad around the legacy of some Batman films (justice for Batman Forever!). But, like the rest of the world, we’re completely aligned on The Dark Knight as the real deal Caped Crusader sequel. There’s iconic performance after iconic performance (Heath Ledger’s role of a lifetime as Joker) — not to mention that setpiece with the flipped 18-wheeler that birthed a generation of action-flick sons.
Read more: The 5 Worst Batman Movies, Ranked