Stop me if you’ve heard this.
An 8-year-old boy leaves a movie theater with his parents and they decide to turn down an alley to continue to I don’t know where. Were they going to catch a subway? Was there a car waiting for them on the next street? Who knows? The three of them walk down a dark alley in the middle of the night, where they are then mugged and the parents murdered in front of their 8-year-old son.
How about this.
A scientist has been warning the scientific elite of his planet for years that a disaster is coming. He has gone to every one of importance to try to warn of the impending cataclysmic destruction of their entire planet and his plea continues to fall on deaf ears. His only hope for the possible survival of his species and the knowledge of their culture is for this scientist and his wife to take their only child, an infant boy, and place him into a specially designed spacecraft and shot him into space towards Earth before their planet explodes.
This is a good one.
A scrawny but brilliant kid from Queens goes on a field trip and gets bitten by a radioactive spider. He develops super powers and takes on criminals to assuage himself of the guilt he feels for not stopping the murder of his uncle.
The point to these examples is that you all know these stories, but yet movie studios still feel the need to rehash them over and over again. These are all great stories and, at this point in time, universal stories. What I mean by universal is that we have an almost instinctual knowledge of who these stories apply to. Really think about every superhero movie that you’ve ever seen and how many of them include a scene that is reminiscent of the ones I previously described. To get even more granular, even the superhero movies that came out as one shots were origin stories. Fantastic Four, Spawn, Hellboy and Daredevil from the late 90’s to the early 2000’s all had origin stories either interwoven into the main plot or they were pure origin stories.
Starting in 2004, the trend started all over again. There was a new Punisher movie, Batman Begins the next year and Superman Returns the year after that and they all found a way to re-tell the same origin stories again.
Now I can’t say that there isn’t a need to tell origin stories in the movies. Movies like Iron Man, Thor and Captain America needed to have them because they were creating a new universe, so i found it understandable. What I am relieved about is that I, seemingly, no longer have to worry about having to slog through another one now that the universe and its characters are established.
Deadpool was incredibly adept at weaving its origin story into the overall narrative so that the story continued to move without pulling the viewer out. I would like to see more of that going forward and I think we might. A great example of this is in Captain America : Civil War where we were introduced to both Spider-Man and Black Panther with no flashbacks to their back stories and the closest we got to one was a three-minute conversation between Peter Parker and Tony Stark.
I like the fact that there are fewer origin stories as the plots of superhero movies and I look forward to see more actual stories in the future.