Origin of the super-species

This week, we watched the new reboot of the Spider-Man series with Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. It was really very good and when you compare it to the trilogy that came before, I can totally understand why they wanted to ditch that franchise and start all over again.

The comic book movie genre doesn’t seem to be losing any of the momentum it has gained, with the Avengers planning individual and group sequels, along with talk of a Justice League film as well. Spider-man has been revitalised, whilst the Batman trilogy has drawn to a colossal close.

The B of the Bang

I have to wonder, though, why all these films have to be origin films. Why do we constantly need to go back to the beginning of the story and start from scratch? We know how it goes – he gets bitten by a spider, Uncle Ben dies, rage ensues. Or he is an alien who is thrust from a dying planet to live on a farm where he learns of his superhuman powers. Or (I don’t even remember this one, it’s that important) whatever, he likes bats.

At some point, we don’t need the beginning to be explained to us. There are hundreds and hundreds of comic book editions out there, with an epic back catalogue of stories to work from – do we really need to keep going back to how it started? What is so bad about presenting a film with: Hey, this guy has a big hammer, deal with it.

It’s part of the reason all these superhero films are so flippin’ long, is that they spend an hour talking about how we got where we are, before the action can really begin. Maybe this is just the period we’re living in, where all the stories are going to go on and on and the franchises will live forever, and in fifty years time people will be searching the Netflix archives for the origin story.

But then again, we’ve had two significant reboots now – Batman and Spider-Man – and both have gone back to the start, treading ground that has already been trampled. Can we have someone just come out of the woodwork and bam, here’s a Superman story that doesn’t tell you how he outran the school bus or accidentally knocked down the barn because he didn’t know his own strength yet.

Is it a phase? Is it a lack of imagination? Is it just me??

2 thoughts on “Origin of the super-species

  1. I agree, we really don’t need to see the origin of every superhero. Most of them are established and well known enough to the fans already and if the casual audience wants to know more they can google it in seconds. Having said that, I did like the X-Men Origins, Wolverine and First Class movies.

  2. I think it actually goes in phases. X-men as mentioned above didn’t start with the Origin business but added it later, which I almost always find more satisfying.

    I think in about 10 year cycles we go back and forth on this. I remember loads of movies in the 90s being, “hey forget about how we got here, lets start in the middle and if we need to back to the beginning then we will”. And then everyone was like, “god so boring why do we always have to start in the middle all the time, give me some character progression already”.

    So I think we’ll be back to starting in the middle again soon.

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