Should Superhero Movies Just Skip The Origin Stories?

Illustration for article titled Should Superhero Movies Just Skip The Origin Stories?

Sometimes, knowing the origin of where a character comes and how he or she got there forms an essential backdrop for a story to take place against. And sometimes, it just gets in the way.


After getting a first look at what may be Doctor Doom's new costume, a discussion began about just how much backstory we really needed to know about the heroes and villains that populate our screen.

Some commenters asked whether focusing on all that energy on character origins was getting in the way of really finding out much about those characters — and their stories — at all:


Hollywood is obsessed with 'why'. They think that if they don't explain 'why', preferably in monosyllabic sentences, the audience won't 'get' the movie.

Doom's costume poses a lot of 'why' questions. Why is he wearing armor? Why does have have a medieval baldric over that armor? If he's a scientist, why doesn't he look sciencey? Why does he wear a mask, and can the movie get away with a villain wearing a mask that obscures his emoting? If he's wearing a mask because he's monstrous, how can he have intricately carved armor and gold/brass accessories? Is he homeless, ugly, and poor, or is he rich and beautiful? (Those are the only two types of people in Hollywood movies.)

The first FF movie answered almost all of those questions by giving him an origin story about liquid metal infusing with his body or whatever, I don't even remember it. :) No, that had nothing to do with the character but it answers the questions.

Gene Jacket

This is another area where Marvel Studios continues to dominate the competition. They assume we're familiar with the tropes of superheroes, and don't bother trying to over-explain things that honestly don't matter. Doom is the villain, he should look villainous, why wouldn't he make himself a bad-ass set of armor? His face is horribly scarred, so a Mask makes perfect sense without much explanation, the rest of the armor looks awesome. It's a costume, these things come with the territory, people should understand that by now.

Do you need your characters to come with an origin story, or do your prefer to just infer some of the details about where they came from, while letting the story unspool the rest? Tell us why in the comments below.


Thayder, SJW

If it is for Superman, Batman, the Fantastic Four, Spiderman, a good portion of the Xmen, The heroes from phase one and two of the MCU, then yes by dear God skip the origin.

And some others suit it well. Dredd. Maybe Doctor Strange if they go that route...

but a good origin can humanize your hero and really showcase the heroes journey.