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50 Greatest Movie Origin Stories

Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy

The Origin Story: A 70s San Diego anchorman, Ron Burgundy must contend with a world that's changing rapidly around him. Thankfully, he has his friends on the news team: field reporter Brian Fantana, sportscaster Champion "Champ" Kind, and "mentally retarded" chief meteorologist Brick Tamland to help him through the hard times.

Essential Elements Introduced: A moustachioed buffoon of the highest order, Ron is a sexist, moronic, arsehole. But he plays a mean jazz flute.

Saved For The Sequels: The advent of the 80s can only mean more idiocy from Mr Burgundy. It'll likely come in the form of casual racism, but hopefully everyone's favourite flautist will stay classy. Or not.

Captain America: The First Avenger

The Origin Story: A patriot desperate to serve his country during WW2, Steve Rogers agrees to undergo an experimental treatment that will bulk him up a bit. Once buff, Rogers becomes Captain America, initially a promotional tool, but eventually he gets the chance to prove his use to the US army as a super-soldier and battle Nazi soldier the Red Skull.

Essential Elements Introduced:
Cap's strength, endurance, agility, speed, reflexes, durability, and healing ability are at the zenith of natural human potential. He also has a lovely shiny shield.

Saved For The Sequels: Having sacrificed himself to save America, Cap wakes up 70 years later. There's going to be a lot of adjusting to do for the naive 1940s New Yorker.

The Amazing Spider-Man

The Origin Story: Oh, you all know it. Brainiac Peter Parker gets bitten by a genetically modified spider and develops super spider-like powers. But it's not until he fails to prevent the death of his beloved uncle that he accepts his responsibility to use his great powers for good.

Essential Elements Introduced:
Well, there's all the powers, like enhanced eyesight, superhuman strength, the ability to climb things and his subconscious precognitive sense of danger. Oh, and there's the girl - in this case, Gwen Stacy.

Saved For The Sequels:
The sequels are and always will be about how Pete struggles balance his superhero life and private civilian life.

The Incredibles

The Origin Story: In a world where super humans are forced into hiding, a father yearning for his glory days suits up and gets back in the game. But his antics soon put his family in peril due to the schemes of a super villain whose attentions he once spurned.

Essential Elements Introduced: The Parr family have a plethora of powers between them.

Saved For The Sequels: Kids Violet and Dash have yet to show off their skills and battle evil good and proper. And then there's infant Jack-Jack, whose abilities scream for a turn to the dark side.

Kick-Ass

The Origin Story: Dave Lizewski's first outing as a superhero leads to an unfortunate stabbing and hit and run incident, leaving him with permanent nerve damage that gives him an enhanced capacity to endure pain - making him an actual superhero of sorts. He hooks up with fellow lycra-clad vigilantes Big Daddy and Hit-Girl, and sets about taking on mob boss Frank D'Amico.

Essential Elements Introduced: Violence. Brutal, bloody violence is basically what this film's all about.

Saved For The Sequels:
There's more than one character out for vengeance, which inevitably means more violence.

Unbreakable

The Origin Story: Security guard David Dunn, the sole survivor of a horrific train wreck, is searching for meaning in his life. Fortuitously, David's contacted by a mysterious stranger convinced that he's a superhero… but there's an ulterior motive to Elijah's machinations.

Essential Elements Introduced: Ostensibly an ordinary guy, David discovers he has extraordinary strength and extra-sensory perception.

Saved For The Sequels: Whether David Dunn's story will continue remains to be seen, but writer-director M. Night Shyamalan certainly has thoughts about a follow-up. Albeit vague ones.

He told Collider: "It's getting closer. Slowly I’m getting a story in my head that I feel like is able to tell what I’m feeling right now. It's the story of a guy who kind of wakes up with a little grey feeling in the morning. I love that character. It’s something that I feel and I want to talk more about that character."

No, we don't know what he's talking about either.

Thor

The Origin Story: For his impetuous, war-mongering ways, Thor, God of Thunder, is stripped of his powers and banished to Earth to learn the true meaning of power and win back his right to the hammer Mjolnir and the throne of Asgard by defeating his treacherous brother Loki.

Essential Elements Introduced: The hammer, which can do loads of things. Thor is also extremely attractive, quite the fighter and can carry off a cape. And he talks all Shakesperean-like.

Saved For The Sequels: There's the growing enmity between brothers to consider and of course Thor's love interest, scientist Jane Foster. But there's also the intriguing prospect of exploring Asgard and the nine worlds.

Hellboy

The Origin Story: A demon-like creature with red skin, horns and a right hand made of stone, Hellboy was raised by the US Army as an agent to fight against occult threats such as Russian mystic Rasputin and Hitler's top assassin, Kroenen.

Essential Elements Introduced: Hellboy is really tall, really strong and possesses an accelerated healing factor. He's also fireproof, fond of cigars and quite the wisecracker.

Saved For The Sequels:
Hellboy's burgeoning relationship with pyrokinetic colleague Liz is to be explored. And then, of course, there's the question of how the world might react if they ever found out about him.

The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring

The Origin Story: As four hobbits set out on a quest to destroy the One Ring of Power, they meet many companions along the way - including the sexy ranger Strider who's secretly Aragorn, son of Arathorn, the rightful but reluctant King of Gondor.

Essential Elements Introduced:
Strider's considerable skills with a sword aside, it's also important to note his self-doubt when it comes to his destiny, and also his love for Elven princess Arwen.

Saved For The Sequels: It takes two sequels for Aragorn to confront fate and find the inner strength to claim his crown.

Mission: Impossible

The Origin Story: After a mission fails, super secret agent Ethan Hunt must go rogue to clear his name and expose a mole within the Impossible Missions Force. Because he's not quite Superman, he recruits a group of misfit agents with various skills to help him out.

Essential Elements Introduced:
A master of disguises, stealth, espionage tactics and good old fashioned fisticuffs, Hunt is an agent par excellence.

Saved For The Sequels: Betrayal remains a theme, but the sequels see Hunt go on a personal journey - inevitably involving various women.