Origin of the super-species

Published November 21, 2012

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??

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