Still, Prey is far from the first movie to do a period piece prequel. After all, a movie builds its world. With that world, comes its unique history. These prequels might answer questions the fans always had about their favorite movies. Most of the time though, it's just cool to see beloved characters and lore in an old-timey setting.
The Underworld was the mainstay vampire franchise of the mid-2000s that didn't involve sparkly "teen" vampires. Instead, it was a franchise full of schlocky and fun vampire action. Underworld: Rise of the Lycans takes the premise away from the modern setting and into the medieval dark ages.
Despite vampires being around for centuries, it's quite rare to see movies about them in that period past flashbacks. It was a really fun time for audiences seeing knights fight vampires and werewolves. Each faction's rise to power was also fascinating to see.
Captain America: The First Avenger was chronologically the earliest of the Avengers movies. Though future movies would flash back to times earlier than this, only Cap had a whole period piece movie set during the height of WWII.
This movie establishes the beginning of metahumans in the public consciousness. Captain America is an American icon, and his part in winning the war is remembered fondly even in the modern day. The retro sci-fi aesthetic is always cool to look at too.
Some people might raise an eyebrow at this, but the 80s were over 40 years ago. Therefore, Bumblebee ends up being a fun and subtle period piece of that time. Gone are the modern conveniences of smartphones and the internet. It makes the movie strangely nostalgic.
It also establishes the fact that Bumblebee was indeed the first contact with Earth in this universe. Granted, that does kind of retcon most of The Last Knight, but box office returns on that showed people didn't care much anyway.
Fear Street Part Three: 1666 best fits the definition of "period piece" in the trilogy. The trilogy is unique because it's essentially set in reverse chronological order. Set in Puritan times at the height of religious paranoia, this movie recreates the tensions present in small town settlements. Bigotry, ignorance, and death were commonplace in 1666.
This movie showcases how awful moral standards were back in the day. It also establishes how hate is often the fuel for evil in the world. Most things, if left alone, wouldn't cause harm. All the events on Fear Street are a result of the flawed perspective of evil ignorance, and how that continues into the present.
Every organization had to start somewhere, and The King's Man details the humble origins of what soon became The Kingsman organization. There are plenty of modern spy movie franchises. The Casino Royales and the Mission Impossibles. Still, very few movies feature spies from before the technological revolution.
The King's Man showcases how much more dangerous intelligence gathering and espionage were without all of the fancy toys. It's a surprisingly swashbuckling movie full of swordfights and duels. Not to mention, nothing gives a movie that WW1 vibe more than having Rasputin as a villain.
Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them takes Harry Potter fans back to the Wizarding World. However, this time it's set during the Roaring 20s of America, and with that comes a whole new side of magic to explore. Despite its unfortunate urge to cling to the familiar world of London, the movie is at its best when it focuses on the new characters.
The dynamic of Newt Scamander with the Americans is quite hilarious to see. There are multiple layers of "fish out of water" happening in the story. Newt's amusement at America, Jacob's wonder at the magical world, and Tina's annoyance at Newt's eccentricities are the best part of the movie, and many fans wish it had stuck to them exploring 1920s America and catching fantastic beasts instead of forcing yet another Dark Lord story.
Wonder Woman is the earliest DCEU movie chronologically (barring flashbacks in Justice League), and shows that the world is no stranger to heroes from another world. Here, it's shown how Wonder Woman played a crucial part in ending the Great War.
It's a classic fish out of water story, as the bright-eyed Diana gazes in wonderment at the world of mankind. However, that wonder is also tempered with realism, as she sees these wonders destroyed by war. It gave Steve's claim of "The war to end all wars" all the more tragic, knowing what the world would see only a few decades later.
Kong: Skull Island is another take on the classic King Kong story. The movie leans deep on the Jules Verne vibe of "strange new worlds". It's fascinating to see the kind of tech they used in 1973 to chart new islands and discover new creatures.
Kong: Skull Island is a much more action-packed prequel than its predecessor, Godzilla. Where Godzilla was shy in giving screentime to its namesake, this movie shines the spotlight on Kong with great effect. He shows up two minutes into the movie. An example of a prequel managing to give fans what they want.
X-Men: First Class is a period piece not just in setting, but in a metatextual sense as well. The X-Men franchise had been stuck in the modern day for a while, even though a huge chunk of its most iconic teams and stories were set in the 60s. This movie finally gives the most dedicated fans a bone.
Although they still wear spandex, First Class gives the costumes a much-needed splash of retro yellow. In addition, the movie establishes many of the mainstays the franchise would see in the years to come. Also, there is the obvious thematic significance in having a story about an oppressed group fighting for their rights in the 60s.
The Godfather Part II is a part prequel/part sequel. Although both are incredible stories, most audiences and critics find themselves gravitating towards the prequel segments. Robert De Niro would fill in the shoes of Vito Corleone. Amazingly, he won an Oscar on the heels of Brando's win for the same role.
The prequel segments provide a sharp contrast to the present day. In the 1920s, Vito started his empire to provide for his family, and slowly it gave way to proving his worth to the world. His goals meant that his future was insured. He died, surrounded by the family he loved. Meanwhile, in the present, Michael Corleone had pushed away everybody who loved him. Two different paths towards the same kind of power.