Created By: PaulAAugust 14, 2011 Last Edited By: PaulAJuly 17, 2014
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Superhero Movie Origin Final Boss

Superhero origin movie ends with hero fighting a villain who is connected to his origin.

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Trope
The first movie in a superhero movie franchise (or the only movie in an attempted franchise) always ends with the hero fighting a climactic battle against a villain who is somehow connected to the hero's origin, thus giving the movie a sense of connectedness and closure.

This happens in part because movies, especially ones not certain to start a franchise, need to hold up on their own as a single cohesive plot. If a film tells a superhero's origin, that origin generally needs to be integrated into the rest of the plot of the movie, and the best way to do that is to involve the main villain in the origin.

In adaptations of comic books, this often involves rewriting the hero's origin to create a suitable connection.

Examples

  • In nearly every version of Astro Boy, the precipitating incident for Astro's origin is a traffic accident. In the American movie version, it's a robot superweapon test gone wrong, and Astro winds up fighting the robot superweapon at the climax.
  • Batman makes the Joker into the guy who shot Bruce Wayne's parents and inspired him to fight crime. They fight at the end of the film.
  • Batman Begins seemed to avert this, as Bruce Wayne's parents are shot by a random mugger who dies before Bruce becomes Batman, but the Big Bad claims indirect responsibility during their penultimate face-off, so the climactic battle is an example after all.
  • Blade ends with the eponymous hero facing off against Deacon Frost—the vampire who bit and turned his mother (responsible for Blade's origin by proxy, since she was pregnant at the time).
  • Captain America 1990 and Captain America The First Avenger make the Red Skull into a Psycho Prototype of the super-soldier treatment.
  • In Fantastic Four Doctor Doom was also on the flight which gave them their powers, gets powers of his own, and is the Big Bad they fight at the end.
  • Green Lantern: Hal Jordan fights Parallax, who was responsible for the death of Abin Sur that resulted in him being given the green lantern to begin with. (In the comics they were unrelated.)
  • Hulk's climax involves Hulk fighting against Banner's father, who was partially responsible for making Banner into the Hulk.
  • Iron Man: Tony Stark creates the first Iron Man suit to escape after being kidnapped. The climactic battle is Iron Man versus the guy who hired the kidnappers in a bootleg Iron Man suit.
  • The Phantom starts with Kit Walker already established in the role of the Phantom, but there is still a subplot about him having unresolved business with the man who killed his predecessor. That man is The Dragon, and they fight in the film's climax.
  • The Punisher (2004 version starring Thomas Jane): Howard Saint orders the massacre of Frank Castle's entire family after his son is killed in an FBI drug bust that Castle was involved in as an undercover agent. The rest of the film involves Castle adopting the identity of the Punisher for the express purpose of avenging his family. He does this by systematically eliminating every single important member of Saint's criminal empire (including Saint's wife and second son) which ultimately culminates with Castle killing Saint himself.
  • Thor: Loki is ultimately revealed to be behind the Frost Giants who snuck into Asgard, which started the chain of events that led to Thor being stripped of his powers and exiled to Earth. After living among humans and learning the proper humility, Thor regains his powers and returns to Asgard where he defeats Loki, who by that time had usurped Odin's position as the ruler of Asgard.
  • X Men First Class counts, if you consider Magneto an Anti Hero throughout the film and a Fallen Hero at the end. Sebastian Shaw is the person who turned him into what he is, and Magneto kills him for it as part of his Start Of Darkness.

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Community Feedback Replies: 21
  • August 14, 2011
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    • Spider-Man 1 and 2 averted this, but 3 brought back Uncle Ben's killer and made him Sandman.
  • August 14, 2011
    randomsurfer
    • In Film.Fantastic Four Doctor Doom was also on the flight which gave them their powers, gets powers of his own, and is the Big Bad they fight at the end.
    • Film.Hulk's climax involves Hulk fighting against Banner's father, who was partially responsible for making Banner into the Hulk. In the film Banner Sr. has electrical powers along the lines of classic Hulk villain Zzzax.
  • August 15, 2011
    PaulA
    ^^ This trope is only relevant to Spider-Man 1, that being the origin story.

    Is it really an aversion? I haven't seen it, but I'd got the impression that it tied the Green Goblin into the origin story somehow.
  • August 15, 2011
    Bisected8
    The Green Goblin might be Spidey's main antagonist (killing his GF does that), but his origin has nothing to do with his (apart from the fact that people Peter knows tend to take up the mantle).
  • August 15, 2011
    KingZeal
    • Blade ends with the eponymous hero facing off against Deacon Frost--the vampire who bit and turned his mother (responsible for Blade's origin by proxy, since she was pregnant at the time).
    • Iron Man: Obadiah Stane hired the Ten Rings to kill Tony, but wound up creating the circumstances that turned him into Iron Man. The film ends with Stane killing the members of the Rings and Tony putting an end to Stane.
    • X Men First Class counts, if you consider Magneto an Anti Hero throughout the film and a Fallen Hero at the end. Sebastian Shaw is the person who turned him into what he is, and Magneto kills him for it as part of his Start Of Darkness.
    • The Incredible Hulk deals with Banner fighting General Ross, who backed the project which turned Bruce into the Hulk. While Bruce doesn't kill Ross by the end of the film, and Ross isn't even the final confrontation, by the end of the movie, you can tell that Ross is utterly defeated and crushed.
  • August 15, 2011
    MorganWick
    ^^Are you talking about the comic or the movies?

    Title could stand improvement.
  • August 15, 2011
    arromdee
    In the Green Lantern movie, the title character fights Parallax, who was responsible for the death of Abin Sur that resulted in him being given the green lantern to begin with. (In the comics they were unrelated.)
  • August 15, 2011
    stupac85
    In The Punisher, Howard Saint orders the massacre of Frank Castle's entire family after his son is killed in an FBI drug bust that Castle was involved in as an undercover agent. The rest of the film involves Castle adopting the identity of the Punisher for the express purpose of avenging his family. He does this by systematically eliminating every single important member of Saint's criminal empire (including Saint's wife and second son) which ultimately culminates with Castle killing Saint himself.

    This doesn't happen in Ghost Rider, but it's directly stated that it will happen in the future. Mephisto is the demon who gives Johnny Blaze the Ghost Rider powers and instructs him to use them to defeat Blackheart. After Blackheart is beaten, Mephisto offers to take the powers back, freeing Johnny from the burden of being the Ghost Rider. Johnny refuses that offer, choosing to keep the Ghost Rider powers and announces his intentions to use them against Mephisto.

    In the Thor movie, Loki is ultimately revealed to be behind the Frost Giants who snuck into Asgard, which started the chain of events that led to Thor being stripped of his powers and exiled to Earth. After living among humans and learning the proper humility, Thor regains his powers and returns to Asgard where he defeats Loki, who by that time had usurped Odin's position as the ruler of Asgard.
  • August 15, 2011
    DAMartin
    In Captain America 1990, Red Skull is shown to be the prototype for a Super Soldier before Cap.
  • August 16, 2011
    Bisected8
    @Morgan Wick: All of them. In every continuity, Peter gets bitten by a spider, granting him powers. The green goblin gets his powers from expermental mutagenic gas which also drives him insane.
  • August 16, 2011
    PaulA
    ^ There's definitely at least one continuity where the spider that bites Peter is an escaped test subject from the Oscorp lab where they're doing the research that results in the Green Goblin. (Ultimate Spider Man, if I recall correctly.) So it's not true to say that in every continuity there's no connection.
  • August 16, 2011
    SharleeD
    Is this exclusively a movie-adaptation-alters-the-backstory trope? Because if it's just a question of the hero's origin story providing an archenemy to be battled in the opening installment of a series, there are plenty of examples of that sequence that aren't films.
  • August 16, 2011
    PaulA
    ^ Yes, pretty much this is "movie adaptation alters the backstory in a particular way".
  • August 16, 2011
    KingZeal
    A few things for the OP:

    1. The villain in Hulk was The Absorbing Man, not Zzzax. He only had electrical powers after absorbing electricity.
    2. The Incredible Hulk, as I mentioned earlier, is a completely different film. It can be listed along with the other Hulk movie.
  • August 16, 2011
    PaulA
    1. Don't look at me, it was randomsurfer who said that.
    2. I know The Incredible Hulk is a different movie. That's why I didn't list it. Only the origin movie counts for this trope.
  • August 17, 2011
    KingZeal
    The Incredible Hulk is a reboot (it's completely unrelated to the Ang Lee film), so it is an origin movie.
  • August 17, 2011
    jaytee
    You're not giving Batman Begins enough credit. Ducard/Ra's Al Ghul is a huge part of Batman's origin story (which goes far beyond his parents being shot). Remember, he wasn't Batman until well after he returned from ninja training. The whole movie, right up until you see him in his cowl, is origin story.
  • February 20, 2012
    PaulA
    ^ What I'm going for is "the villain was responsible for the hero's origin", not "the villain became involved with the hero after his origin had already started".
  • July 16, 2014
    PaulA
    • Rewrote trope description a bit
    • Added namespaces
    • Added some examples

    I also reconsidered The Incredible Hulk being arguably the first film in a new series, but I don't think it fits anyway; the final fight is with the Abomination, who wasn't involved in the Hulk's origin.
  • July 16, 2014
    MorganWick
    This happens in part because movies, especially ones not certain to start a franchise, need to hold up on their own as a single cohesive plot. If a film tells a superhero's origin, that origin generally needs to be integrated into the rest of the plot of the movie, and the best way to do that is to involve the main villain in the origin.
  • July 16, 2014
    DAN004
    This is covered by Bisected8's ykttw named "Adaptation Origin Connection". http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=s403aymkzynla0xyfruoob2h

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