Prequels in this day and age often have a very bad reputation for being not so good. They have been seen to raise a huge stink with diehard fans of a franchise and almost seem to invite massive attempts to pull them apart at the seams so that these same fans can claim that the theories and magic of the films they love is still intact. Then there are the rare prequels that are actually miles ahead of the films they predate, which is rare but still feasible enough that it does happen every so often. When this does occur it helps to at least cement the idea that the first explanatory film was in fact a good idea and worthy of praise.
Here are five films that you may or may not have known were prequels, and that were even better than the movies they preceded.
5. The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
You might not have known that this was a prequel at all if you hadn’t read this. The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly is in fact a prequel to A Fistful of Dollars and A Few Dollars More. It is fully capable of standing on its own as a singular and masterful film. The premise and the story have both gripped the hearts of fans throughout the years and have allowed it to remain a classic that few will ever forget.
4. X-Men: First Class
By the time this film came out the X-Men franchise had been chopped up and busted apart so often that it was little better than a faded remnant of what it had been in the comics. Once this film came along however it breathed new life into the franchise by way of adding a few new characters and inviting a better explanation as to how Charles and Erik really parted ways. It was always known that Professor X and Magneto were on opposing sides of the same argument, but now we understand why.
3. The Godfather Part II
This is unique because it stands as a sequel and a prequel at the same time. The story keeps moving forward with Michael Corleone and his family, but at the same time we get a glimpse of Vito Corleone and how he came to America. We get to see how he lost his mother and eventually began to travel down the criminal path to become the Godfather. It’s also shown how Michael continues to cement his role as the Godfather and take up the legacy that his father left behind by tearing down those that stood in his way.
2. Monsters University
Before you become employees of the month you need to learn how to do your job. It’s not too surprising that Mike and Sully weren’t always friends, the physical differences and attitudes are more than enough to figure this out. But that friendship had to start somewhere, and where better to find a lifelong friendship than in college?
1. Rise of The Planet of The Apes
This is another franchise that’s been ripped up, put back together, and almost ruined because of it. Seeing as how Charlton Heston’s character blows up the world in the second installment of Planet of The Apes, there was really no other direction to go except to start with the prequels. As of now War For The Planet of The Apes is about hit theaters, but Rise was the catalyst that started the whole mess, and it did so by exposing mankind’s hubris in a very profound way.
So yes, prequels often get a bad reputation for not living up to the movie they’re stepping in front of. Often it’s all about continuity issues, plot holes, and unexplained developments that don’t make sense. Sometimes though it’s better just to enjoy the movie and not worry about what might be missing.