Doctor Strange hits cinemas this week and the superhero studio powerhouse will bring another new character to the big screen. This ultimately means that yet another superheroes origin movie will be immortalised in film. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but when you’ve seen so many, you do start to see the pattern. If you were thinking of creating your own, you can follow the clear steps below:
Introduce your (flawed) hero
The film will begin with a “normal” person who has a character flaw. This could be arrogance, lack of confidence, personal tragedy or in the case of one specific character, really deep-rooted anger problems. If this could stop the hero forming key relationships, even better.
Introduce the (unsuspected) villain
The best heroes know their villains. The greatest heroes are friends or even related to the villain. Usually the villain is the polar opposite of the hero. Sometimes the villain is so similar that you wonder what could possibly break them apart. It could be that love interest you’ve already introduced.
Make your hero super
This could be done in many ways. Perhaps your hero is bitten by a radioactive something, maybe he invents his superpower or is given his power by another person. Make it unique, unbelievable and really cool.
Have your hero use his power to save people. Have then train in many different ways, from practicing jumping through keyholes to destroying terrorist strongholds. This is also a good time for the hero to get the love interest as they overcome their crippling personality flaw.
Have your hero fail because of his flaw
Until the pesky villain arrives and exploits that flaw. That lack of self-confidence could have stopped the hero doing what was necessary. Maybe the opposite happened and that arrogance cost the hero when they got too cocky. Whatever it is, the hero must fail and fail big. In fact, if you want the finale to mean something…
Make it personal
That love interest, get them kidnapped. The sole-surviving family member they live with, kidnap them too. The city they love – put it in mortal danger. The planet they live on – threaten to destroy it. Raise the stakes and make the fight mean something to the hero.
Big (explosive) finale
No finale would be complete without explosions. You should also add buildings crashing into buildings or objects, maybe ships, dropping from the sky in large fireballs. Have the sequence huge but happening around the hero and villain as they have their personal, super-powered showdown.
The hero has won (killed the villain? Maybe not?) and the love-interest/city/world is once again safe. Except that there was that one scene that didn’t make any sense except to the ten or so “real fans” in the audience. Also, wait for the middle of the credits because that confusing scene means something too. Also, the end of the credits where that one scene which only one fan understands appears – that one will be important for the third movie!
Overall, as cynical as this post makes me seem, I love superhero movies. They have become formulaic and there are a few which manage to subvert or avoid the usual pitfalls. I am hoping that Doctor Strange manages to do something different with an origin movie and if it doesn’t, at least it won’t be a DC Universe movie.