I finally got around to watching Josh Trank’s version of the Fantastic Four last night. When I first heard they were doing another reboot of the fabulous four I was like most people, ambivalent toward the project. They had ruined a promising start with the Rise of The Silver Surfer so why get excited about just another attempt by a company who can’t seem to understand the basic rule of anything, ‘if it aint broke then don’t fix it’ right? When I read that Trank had told the press he wasn’t using any of the comics as source material but was doing something different my decision that this was going to be awful was cemented. I was certain this film would bomb. The final nail in the coffin for me was his casting choices. Now I know a lot was said about his choice of Michael B Jordan as Johhny Storm and him being black but that was just a part of it. For me they changed the whole team dynamic. The ages of the four of them, their relationship to each other it was all wrong. Like I said this ruined the team dynamic. What I did learn though was that this new cinematic version closely resembled a comic I was unfamiliar with called the Ultimate Fantastic Four. I the early 2000’s Marvel did a series where they re-imagined their most popular titles. It was obvious they would chose the Fantastic Four as one of them, after all it was billed as ‘The Worlds Greatest Comic Magazine’ for most of it’s print run.
Why they chose to use this version as the basis of the new cinematic re-boot was baffling to me. The Fantastic Four had been running since 1961 that’s over fifty years of back story and fifty years of fan base. A lot was said about the original story being unable to fit into a modern society and just wouldn’t fly with today’s audience but I think they were wrong. Fans were clamouring for a faithful version of their favourite comic book to be brought to the screen, I know I was. It wasn’t like they don’t have the technology to do it justice, look at Jurassic Park, who would believe dinosaurs would walk the planet again?
In the end the nay sayers were proven right and the film was a diabolic mess with audiences around the world. I chose not to go see it along with millions of other true Fantastic Four fans. I never bought the Blu Ray copy either but last night I watched it on Sky. I thought, seeing as the football had ended, and there was nothing else worth watching, which shows how bad the schedule for Saturday night gets on TV I ‘d give it a g o.
Now considering everything I have said earlier about the film I watched it with an open mind. Perhaps the negative hype surrounding the project was a contributing factor to it’s ultimate demise at the box office. Word of mouth can be a powerful tool in marketing as we all know so perhaps this wouldn’t be as bad as everyone had thought. I was wrong. It was as bad as I’d thought it would be. Even using the Ultimate Fantastic Four as a source material Trank and his team changed it enough that even that version didn’t fly on screen. The actors seemed to just be going through the motions. Kate Mara who played Susan Storm seemed to be sleep walking through her entire performance, it was almost ashamed to be associated with the project and it showed. Jamie Bell as Ben Grimm wasn’t on screen long enough to show any of his talent and the other two, although talented actors in other projects were just awful. I don’t know if the director just couldn’t get the best out of them or that they knew this was going to be a stinker from the start and just gave up, I don’t know. The effects were below par, for a film of this magnitude I would expect better in fact the SyFy channel show films with better effects that never made it to the big screen. The script was all over the place, jumping around not building any tension making it difficult to follow at times. The only time it felt anything like a superhero film was in the final battle with Doom, another character they totally screwed up. For a brief moment, and I do mean brief, you could almost forget about the awfulness that preceded it and, no who am I kidding. The film was exactly like I predicted and not hard to see why they cancelled the planned sequel.
After this failed attempt to bring one of the most beloved team of characters in comic book history to life on the big screen a lot of people have said just leave it be now and let it rest in peace. I say give the rights back to those who understand the characters, who understand the fans and allow them to make the film we all want to see. Whether or not this will happen is out of our hands and I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.