We are deep within the superhero era of cinema, which means that dozens of heroes are starting to become household names. Everybody may have known who Batman, Superman, and Spider-Man were in the past, but now Iron Man, Captain America, and even Star-Lord are incredibly popular.
Now that superhero stories are so popular, origin stories are more and more scarce. We didn't know Black Panther's background when he popped up in Civil War, and all of the Guardians of the Galaxy only got a few lines of exposition. Even though we don't necessarily need full movies for some of the heroes' origin stories now, we just got a brand new and exciting one called Doctor Strange.
When I come across a movie about a legendary vampire-hunting warrior that also happens to be half-vampire, it makes me excited for that character's origins. What dark ritual, what demonic trial, what evil plot was he a part of to be half-vampire? It turns out that his mother was just bitten by a vampire while she was going into labor. Not only is that extremely underwhelming, it's given to us in a very short clip at the beginning of the movie.
13. The Incredible Hulk
We all know that Bruce Banner turns into the Hulk because of his work with gamma radiation, right? Well The Incredible Hulk obviously assumed that we knew, because they spliced in his origin into the opening credits so that he was already all Hulk-y and such by the time the story began. At least a scientist dealing with radiation is better that getting bitten by a vampire during childbirth.
12. The Fantastic Four
Remember when I was complaining about movies not having enough origin? 2015's Fantastic Four had the opposite problem. The first half of the movie is all back-story, and we as an audience start to wonder if they are ever going to get powers. They do get powers when they travel to a strange world with bright green alien-goop. Never touch the green alien-goop! That should be common sense. But one one of them has to go and touch the goop, and then boom, they have super powers. At least the acting ability of the young cast saves it from the bottom of the list.
Matt Murdock was a young kid who lived with his father. One fateful day, he was involved in an accident that ended with radioactive material being sprayed in his eyes. He woke up in a hospital with heightened senses. For some reason, heightened senses meant that he was super strong and acrobatic all of the sudden. Without any training, he all of the sudden had the ability to beat up the bullies. I think Vizzini said it best in The Princess Bride: "Inconceivable!"
Ah, Wolverine. He is the reason that the X-Men movies are still alive and kicking. So naturally, he got a few of his own movies, such as X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Even though Wolverine has an intense origin story, where he joins a secret operative group along with Sabretooth, the Blob, and Deadpool (yes, that was supposed to be Deadpool), the execution was not great. The CGI adamantium claws were ridiculous, and the entire resolution to his origin was one catastrophe after another. Luckily they had Days of Future Past to sweep that under the rug.
I actually have nothing against the Ant-Man movie in general. It's actually one of my favorite films in the MCU. However, as great as Paul Rudd is, he really didn't have any sort of memorable build-up when he acquired his suit. He just broke into a house, and Hank Pym gave him a suit. Sure, he got a little bit of training later on in the film, but he didn't have a whole lot of preparation as a superhero.
8. The Punisher
When you have a protagonist that specializes in just plainly murdering anyone who stands in his way, you have to make some attempt to justify it. For the Punisher, his justification was watching his family get killed. After seeing such a sad moment, we didn't mind to much that he slaughtered scores of baddies. Unfortunately, his origin story wasn't very original, so it lands a spot towards the middle of the list.
- Did You Notice This Tribute To Quicksilver In Captain America: Civil War?
- This Story Proves That Ryan Reynolds Was Born To Play Deadpool
- "It Doesn't Look Particularly Promising" Mark Ruffalo Discusses Potential Hulk Movie
7. Captain America
When I look for a memorable origin story, I look for a transformation, both internally and externally. For Steve Rodgers, he meets half of the criteria. He goes from a scrawny patriotic guy with a big heart to a muscular patriotic guy with a big heart. At first he gets beaten up, and then he learns to beat people up. I love what he stands for, but his mindset stays very linear when he gets the super-soldier serum.
If this was a ranking of favorite Marvel movies Deadpool would be much higher on the list. However, people didn't flock to the theaters to see his origin story. They came for the hilariously profane humor and brutal violence. Still, the origin story wasn't the worst in the world. Instead of being born with powers like most mutants in the X-Men universe. After Wade Wilson gets diagnosed with cancer to stay alive, he went through an experimental procedure to try and get rid of it. He succeeds, but instead of cancer, he gets a horribly scarred face as well as regenerative powers. Time for revenge against Francis.
5. Ghost Rider
Again, if I was ranking the films in general, this movie would be under a very different position. When focusing on the origin story alone, Ghost Rider is more interesting than most of the "exposed to radiation" kind of heroes. Before he became the fiery and skeletal spirit of vengeance, Johnny Blaze was a stuntman who sold his soul to the devil to try and save his father. Even though his father died, Blaze had to fulfill his end of the bargain, and becomes Ghost Rider. Not many heroes start off by bartering with the devil, so that makes Ghost Rider wonderfully unique.
Thor's origin story is told in a slightly different way than the other heroes. When the story starts out Thor is already in Asgard, being raised by Odin to inherit the throne. Through some mishaps with the Frost Giants, Thor is banished to Midgard (Earth), where he is forced to live life as a mortal man. This is kind of an origin story in reverse, where the protagonist starts out super and is made ordinary. And to become super again, Thor has to better himself to become worthy. This teaches a nice moral, that success isn't just given to you. You have to work for it.
3. Iron Man
Tony Stark was the incredibly wealthy and successful head of a weapons company when he gets attacked and kidnapped overseas. In order to escape, Tony builds a mechanical suit of armor, and Iron Man is born. His origin succeeds on almost every level. Even though he remains arrogant, he does have a change of heart throughout the film. He halts weapon manufacturing after he finds out that the weapons ended up in the wrong hands, and he spent his time building suits to fight evil, not to arm evil. His origin also gets bonus points for launching the MCU, for half of this list wouldn't exist without this amazing origin story.
2. Doctor Strange
Warning: Spoilers for Doctor Strange below!
A lot of Marvel fans have been pointing out that Doctor Strange is pretty much Tony Stark with magic. To that, I disagree. Iron Man started out egotistical and ended egotistical. Doctor Strange started out thinking only about himself, to letting himself die over and over again to save the universe. Doctor Strange also does a lot in the way of morals. It teaches viewers that studying, hard work, and selflessness can make you a hero, not just a spandex suit and radiation.
"With great power comes great responsibility." Those words have been influencing both children and adults ever since we first heard Uncle Ben in that car. Spider-Man has become one of the world's most iconic superheroes, not because his powers, but because of the way he went from a nerdy high-school kid to a nerdy New York hero. After Peter Parker got bitten by that radioactive spider, he learned that superpowers weren't enough to call yourself a hero. He grasped the responsibility of the situation and gave it his all to save anyone he could. He is one of the purest-hearted heroes that we've ever seen on-screen, and the execution of the original Sam Raimi Spider-Man movie is perfect.
We've had many origin stories over the last couple of decades, and even though they are slowing down, they aren't quite over yet. Captain Marvel is coming up before too long, and the Wasp is finally going to make a debut in Ant-Man and the Wasp. After that, who knows who Marvel is going to introduce? As long as they give us origin stories like Doctor Strange's, I'm definitely excited.