This sequence of events — and essentially the entire plot of “The Amazing Spider-Man 2″ — could have been avoided if Max’s employer, Oscorp Industries, complied with even the most basic workplace health and safety standards.
Not following the rules is a remarkably common way that characters in superhero movies acquire their superpowers. There’s an idea in Hollywood that egregious workplace accidents and blatantly unsafe laboratory procedures bring about unfathomable powers, instead of chronic pain, debilitating injuries and even death.
How often does this happen? Looking strictly at superhero films, several examples come to mind — the titular character in “The Toxic Avenger” (1984) had toxic waste spill on his entire body; Doctor Manhattan of “Watchmen” (2009) was caught in a radioactive-particle test; and Victor Fries, a.k.a. Mr. Freeze, became the most quotable Batman adversary of all time by falling into a vat of cryo-fluid.