Scott Derrickson has ushered in a whole new spectrum of possibilities to the #MarvelCinematicUniverse with their 14th film starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular role #DoctorStrange. That's right folks, magic has splashed into #Marvel. Underneath all of the visual spectacle and trippy imagery you may notice a story we have seen a handful of times in the MCU as well as in other superhero franchises. That's the origin story. In case you're worried about any spoilers, I will not ruin any of Doctor Strange if you haven't been able to see the film yet.
As you have seen from trailers, this film is about Stephen Strange, a world-renowned surgeon who is just as brilliant as he is egotistical. Following a car accident that damages the nerves in his hands, he seeks mystical ways to try to repair the damage. In other words, the protagonist endures a hardship and must humble himself to learn from his mistakes. Sound familiar? Kinda like #IronMan, #Thor, #AntMan and even #GuardiansOfTheGalaxy but with a group? Let's discuss origins stories both in the #MCU as well as superhero films in general.
How Many Origins Films Have We Had?
Instead of pointing out how many superhero origin movies we've ever had since the beginning of time, I'm going to specifically count from the year 2008. That year is the summer that had two super (pun intended) important superhero films: Iron Man to kick off the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as well as my current favorite film of all time by Warner Bros/DC #TheDarkKnight. This summer changed the way we look at superhero films. In those eight years we've had about 14 origin stories between Marvel and #DC. An average of nearly two origins a year.
In relation to Doctor Strange with how it handled this character's origin story, it was fine. The faults that stuck out to me were how the entire first and second act of the film felt like they were sprinting to get to the magic. One option I thought about with this film is what if they took the route of Fox's #Deadpool. How would you have liked if Doctor Strange kicked off the story already having his powers but they went back in flashbacks to show you the important backstory?
Sure, Deadpool still felt like an origins story, but by executing his backstory through flashbacks we were able to enjoy more time of him fully in his lovely, red-masked costume glory. Many people attribute the film's success to the rated R blood and language, but I think it's the fact that the writers were able to take something we've seen a hundred times and give it a spin that made it almost feel new. Doctor Strange had outstanding visuals, but when you put those and the acting aside it simply feels like Iron Man combined with Batman Begins.
If you would like to see my full review that has NO SPOILERS on Doctor Strange you can go ahead and watch that above.
New Ways To Introduce Characters
We had a wild year in 2016 for superhero films, with two huge installments of stories we never thought would come to the big screen in both the Marvel and DC cinematic universes. Two little films called Captain America: Civil War and Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice. They both did pretty well at the box office and both had polarizing responses from fans and critics, with #BvS being received much harsher between the two. Despite the similarities of having a villain pulling the strings to have heroes battle each other, they both introduced iconic characters to their franchises for future films, characters that made a bang and excited audiences.
These characters included #BlackPanther, a new #SpiderMan, a new #Batman and #WonderWoman. Two of these four characters will be leading their own solo movies in 2017 alone. By giving us these introductions we are able to now explore completely new avenues with the characters. For Spider-Man in particular, we won't have to see him bit by a spider and watch Uncle Ben die for a third time in 15 years on screen; we can jump right into his adventures with villains and arcs we haven't seen yet from the comics. For Batman, we don't have to see HOW he became the caped crusader but instead go on to see how he handles the events of fighting #Superman. It's like being able to jump right into a video game instead of waiting for the system to power on and load the game.
Will This Help the Future Of Franchises?
I believe by trimming down how many origins films we make in a franchise, we can prevent not only superhero fatigue but also franchise fatigue in general. When you look at the 2016 summer movie season you see not only a large amount of franchise films stuffing the season, but you also see tons of projects that didn't perform how producers expected them to do. The fatigue is setting in already. It's because audiences feel like they are seeing the same exact movies over and over without anything new.
Even my favorite superhero-producing studio, #MarvelStudios, is falling into formulas. They may seem small now but can come back to bite them if they do not adapt. This will hopefully encourage writers, directors and producers to push the envelope of their storytelling so that audiences can receive the best stories possible instead of cookie-cutter results.
However, this is all simply my thoughts on the matter. There are some fans out there that simply loved Doctor Strange and aren't worried at all about what is in store for the MCU or superhero films across the studios. I want to open this up to the comments sections for discussions though! Am I overreacting? Should superhero origins films stop?
Let's talk about it!
Should superhero origin films stop?
Thank you so much for reading this article and if you would like to read more of my work please FOLLOW my profile so that you can keep up with my work. Also, I write, direct and produce web shows comedy sketches and my movie review show on a YouTube channel called Entertainment Buffet where we have plenty of new content coming for Christmas and to kick off 2017. We also have a podcast called The Entertainment Buffet Podcast where we talk about movies, television, comics, comedy and anything entertainment. Check us out on iTunes to subscribe! Here's one video below with goofy antics. Hope you laugh and have a great day!