I don't think I had seen Scream 2 since it originally came out in theaters, and I was a little shocked at how clearly I remembered it. There are movies I watched just last week that I have a fuzzier memory of. I liked it back when it came out, but I think it might actually be a little better than I realized. Although I think it shows some tell-tale signs of being rushed into production (a little structural sloppiness, a little too much fat) I was very much tickled by how, in true sequel fashion, it takes everything you liked about the original and kicks it up several notches. The meta elements in particular; there's a movie within the movie about the first movie that imitates and satirizes scenes from the original, there are constant discussions about how sequels are always worse than the original, etc.
Yeah, it most definitely is a step down from the original. But like the Halloween and Stepfather sequels I recently watched, it's more entertaining than it has any right to be. Scream 2 succeeds because of Wes Craven's deft handling of the set pieces, because it retains the humor of the first film, and because it's the rare sequel (along with Gremlins 2 and Escape from LA) that seems to exist mainly to mock its very existence.