Will the Avengers be an origin movie?
It’s the middle of April and I want to take a quick moment here at the beginning of this post to say thanks. Thank you to everyone that’s been visiting and commenting on my site. I’ve tried to put a lot of work into this and seeing the site grow makes me very happy. I’d love to hear feedback on what you like, what you don’t like, and any ideas of what you’d like to see more of. I’m looking forward to getting ready for the Avengers next month and re-watching all the lead up movies including the only one I haven’t seen before, Iron Man 2. I could also use some help coming up with names, should this Tuesday blog post have a name? I’m also not sold on “Superhero Shorts” mainly because I most enjoy the interview part of the article, and “Superhero Shorts” does not convey the idea of an interview. I also love hearing suggestions on what I should watch next, got any ideas? Leave a comment, let me know what I should watch after the Avengers and before I start prepping for the new Spiderman. Speaking of which, that brings me to today’s blog topic, do we need more origin stories?
Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good origin story as much as the next guy. Heck, probably a lot more than the next guy considering that well over half of all superhero movies are origin stories. And if you take sequels out of the equation, it’s probably closer to three out of four if not more. I understand the need to put the origin into a movie, not everybody watching the movie will know the backstory of the hero, and for those people it is helpful to be introduced to how the hero came into his powers. But the thing is, that can be done without doing an origin movie. A great example in a bad movie is Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. It had a great little animated sequence at the beginning that told the basic origin to those that didn’t know, and then it got on with the movie. Blade is probably the best example though, it got to the heart of his origin without dwelling on it, or without even spending more than a few minutes on it, and not even all in one chunk. The original Tim Burton Batman is another great example if I recall correctly, they spent a little bit of time setting up the death of his parents, but then they went straight into the prime of his career.
That’s not to say that an origin story can’t be done well. I loved Batman Begins and I thought at that point in time Batman was due for a true origin story to refresh the series and tell a story that hadn’t been told in film about one of the greatest known superheroes of all time. Basically after X-Men came out and the current era of modern superhero films started, tons of superheroes got their own movies and every single one of them was their origin story. Aside from sequels, it seemed like every origin had to be told in its entirety. And for most movies that was the entire first act spent just on the origin. For some heroes like Spiderman, just the fact that they got a movie was enough to bring people to see it regardless of whether or not it was an origin story. At the time it wasn’t yet at the point of overexposure, so there was nothing wrong with doing the origin story. It’s what made sense at the time. But what about now?
This year has several superhero movies and they are all either sequels or origin stories still. Ok, I can’t exactly say that for sure because I haven’t seen them all yet. But I’ve seen Chronicle, which is a unique take on the superhero genre, and yet it’s still an origin story at its heart. There’s the reboot of Judge Dredd which is just called Dredd. That one I honestly have almost no idea about aside from one trailer. I would actually be happy if that actually wasn’t an origin story, but what I expect it will be is more akin to a sci-fi movie. The world exists already with Dredd in it, and there will be a character that is brand new to Dredd’s world, the world of judges or whatever it is, and everything will be explained to that character and therefore, to the audience.
There’s also the Avengers. Now the Avengers is a tricky thing to consider when you’re talking about origin movies. It’s a sequel but it’s not a sequel, and it’s an origin story but no one character specifically gets their own origin story. But I predict that it will have the same essential structure as an origin movie. In a typical origin story, there’s three basic acts. In the first act, the hero gains their powers. In the second act, the hero acclimates to their powers. In the third act, the hero fights and defeats the major villain, thus securing their role as a true superhero. In the Avengers, the team as a whole is the “superhero”. In the first act, the team will gain their powers, more specifically, they will gain their members, each one bringing a different superpower to the team. In the second act, the team will acclimate to working with each other. As in a typical origin story I imagine that there will be some missteps, as a hero must get used to their power so must a team get used to working with each other. And finally in the third act, they will come together as a true team to defeat the villain, thus becoming the true superhero team that they were meant to be.
I think this week’s post may have ran away with me at some point, but I hope I came to some conclusion or another. Stay tuned for Thursday’s review of The Shadow before moving onto The Avenger’s mini-origin stories to refresh myself before hitting the big origin story that they all lead into. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.
Posted on April 17, 2012, in Blogs and tagged Avengers, batman, Blog, movies, origin, spiderman, Superhero. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.
What comes to my mind is The Incredibles. Arguably the best superhero movie of all time, it is a team origin story, yet somewhat unique in that we never find out the actual origin of any of the heroes (although we can guess about Dash, Violet and Jack-Jack); and in fact the movie is all about the origin of the villain.
More importantly, though is a concept I want to put forward; that every hero and villain has TWO origins.
You have the origin as in how they got their powers, signature gadget or specialized training.
You also have the emotional story; the origin of why they choose the path of heroism or villainy, and I think in most cases it is this origin which is most important to get across to the audience.
Peter Parker getting bitten by a radioactive/genetically enhanced spider? Sure, ok, whatever.
Peter Parker being indirectly responsible for Uncle Ben’s death? That’s the heart of the origin.
To bring this back to the Avengers, I think the important thing for this first movie is to show how the dynamic forms between the heroes. It will be a very different feel from the X-Men, who are pretty much a cross between Hogwarts and the Brady Bunch. How this group of assertive, powerful, independent men and women form a team is going to be the heart of the story. Everything else is just something for the Hulk to smash.
I agree and it’s a point that I didn’t quite get around to. There’s the origin of the super and the origin of the hero, and they aren’t always connected to the same event.
I had never thought of The Incredibles as being Syndrome’s origin story but you’re totally right. I suppose there’s also the slight difference of having a full blown origin story for the villain and just having enough explanation for their motivations.
I almost prefer that sort of skip over the whole origin story or at least not take up 50% of the film with it. Would be refreshing to just drop in the middle and maybe flashback a bit to the back story or show some in each film if it becomes a franchise.
found your blog via the LAMB introductions page.
Thanks for popping by. I agree that the best origins are handled either quickly or subtly so you don’t realize it’s an origin story. I thought the first X-Men movie did pretty well with a brief origin for Rogue before moving onto the real plot of the movie and everything else just got introduced along the way.