This is not a review of the new Fantastic Four movie.

§ August 6th, 2015 § Filed under movie reviews § 6 Comments

[…but the SPOILER ALERT is in place in case you want to know NOTHING about the new film]

So one of the questions I heard a lot over the course of my Wednesday was “did you see the Deadpool trailer, and as I type this I still haven’t see the main trailer, which is one of those naughty “red band” trailers that doesn’t censor things like “fuck” or “shit” or other words I would never, ever use on my site. However, I did see the trailer-for-the-trailer which is a thing we do now I guess, and I suppose it was amusing enough. However, I’m one of those funnybook-readin’ guys that never really got into Deadpool. I mean, I get the character’s appeal, I’m glad people are really into him, and I really, really hope Marvel doesn’t burn people out on him anytime soon, like the last time Deadpool was prominent in the marketplace. Or maybe I’m thinking of the Punisher. Or Wolverine. Or Ghost Rider. Anyway, you get my point.

Oh, okay, after the end of that paragraph and the beginning of this one I went ahead and watched the full trailer, since I was going to have to copy the URL for the link above anyway. It’s…well, it’s a lot bloodier than I was expecting, and the CGI Deadpool mask actually worked okay (putting half-lie to the whole “don’t make my costume green or animated” gag, referencing Ryan Reynolds’s’ previous superhero role). I can see parents taking their kids to see this new Marvel superhero movie, expecting more of the usual formula, and getting blindsided by the usual formula plus sex and George Carlin’s Seven Words, and never going to a Marvel movie ever again. Or maybe this is just what the superhero movie marketplace needed, and Deadpool will be the greatest cinematic achievement in film history, crashing economies as every available dollar, euro and Geoffrey Buck gets sucked into box offices around the world. Or maybe nobody will see it all. I’m definitely putting my dime on one of those options, or somewhere between. That’s right, that’s my position and I’m sticking to it, and I don’t care who’s offended.

Speaking of Marvel movies nobody’s seeing, the latest in what apparently will be a long line of Fantastic Four reboots, stretching (heh) out into infinity is opening this week. Or has opened. Or will opened. Regardless, word on the ol’ Internet superhighway is that…well, it ain’t good. Which is a shame, because I noted on this site a while back that the trailer made it look less like a superhero movie and more like a high-end science fiction film, and that seemed like a good way to go. And despite reaction, I still kind of want to see it, maybe via Netflix someday rather than enduring a theater visit, if only to enjoy the cinematography and effects and to see maybe if Mr. Fantastic’s stretchy powers actually work onscreen this time.

What bothers me most is that Doctor Doom once again is given superpowers from the accident that transforms everybody, like in the FF films from a decade ago. I mean, yeah, I can see the filmmakers wanting to make sure Doom seems like he can stand on his own against the Fantastic Four by ramping up his special abilities, because as we know there’s no way an audience is going to accept just a more-or-less normal guy in a metal suit in a superhero film. But as I said on Twitter just the other day:

…and granted, Doom did steal the Surfer’s powers in Rise of the Silver Surfer, so that movie at least had that. But as I lamented last year:

It’s like they’re afraid to let Stan and Jack’s creation be Stan and Jack’s creation. Yes, some compromises and changes need to be made…it’s not the early 1960s anymore, and film ain’t comics, but surely there must be a way to capture the essence of the original stories while making them appeal to modern movie audiences. Or maybe there isn’t. Maybe there’s just a magic there that can never translate. Almost wish Marvel’s film studio could get the rights back to the FF, because they’ve had a stronger history getting these characters onscreen and making them appealing.

Also I’m annoyed because I want them to do enough FF movies in a row without rebooting so that maybe we can get an actual, real, live-action Galactus onscreen (and not that stupid smoke cloud from the FF Silver Surfer film). Ooh, and the Watcher, too, so long as I’m dreaming, and if they don’t make him look like the Queen of Hearts from that Tim Burton Alice film, what with that big ol’ noggin of his.

Let me leave you with some words to think about, from Twitter pal Steven:

6 Responses to “This is not a review of the new Fantastic Four movie.”

  • Adam Ford says:

    I just want them to get their shit together enough to do the story where The Thing turns out to be Bluebeard.

  • G23 says:

    I share your desire to see Galactus on the big screen, but I’d honestly appreciate putting the whole franchise to bed. Sure, this thing was huge as huge could be in the 60s, but that was a long, long time ago. Sure, there have been some decent writer/author teams working on the FF comics in the last 10 years or so, but you can’t make those tired, bland, late 50s white bread stereotypes characters that ALL of the FF are into interesting characters today. I wish they’d just stop.

  • Jer says:

    The problem with having Doom in a Hollywood movie is that they want to put him in the first movie. Because Doom is a villain with a compelling visual and weird backstory and he’s one of the best things about the FF comics. And they want the first movie to be an origin movie. And if you’re plotting out a movie and you have “accident gives four people powers” its tough to bring in a random badguy who has no connection to the inciting incident that gave them their powers. This is also why Oscorp is now responsible for the experiments that made the radioactive spider that bit Peter Parker, why the Joker had to kill Bruce Wayne’s parents in 1989, why Ra’s al Ghul had to be responsible for the deaths of Bruce Wayne’s parents in 2005, why Zod had to kill Superman’s parents in 2013, and why Obadiah Stane had to be tied to the 10 Rings kidnapping of Tony Stark in 2008.

    It’s a reasonable bit of plotting advice for non-experimental movies. Plot elements aren’t supposed to come out of nowhere – they’re supposed to be set up and then paid off. Having Doom just show up as an antagonist unconnected with the origin story doesn’t work if the movie is supposed to be an origin story. So if you’re going to do an FF movie at all your choices are a) don’t use Doom or b) don’t do an origin movie or c) do an origin movie where Doom is part of the origin.

    Honestly I think the flaw with most takes on the FF is that they’re treated like superheroes. They’re not really – they’re pulp explorer heroes who have superpowers because Stan and Jack liked to do “mash-ups” before anyone knew what a “mash-up” was. The more you write them as straight superheroes, the less interesting they are – the worst FF stories that Stan and Jack wrote are the ones that boil down to being basically superhero stories where they run around confronting villains and rescuing people. The best are the ones where they’re encountering some weird new environment, alien or concept for the first time. Doom works best in their run not as a supervillain but as an evil mad scientist who is doing things that Man Is Not Meant To Do and causing weird things to happen to them.

  • Earl Allison says:

    Agreed, especially about Doom. And your friend is correct, at least IMHO — the Corman FF is probably the best FF movie (if you don’t count The Incredibles)

    Out of curiosity, regarding Doom, do you have a favorite version of him from the various Marvel animated series?

    I have to say that my favorite Doom is the one from the 1970’s FF cartoon — yes, with the horrible H.E.R.B.I.E. robot, but the Doom was spot-on perfect. I LOVED that voice. (the Spider-Man/Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends was pretty nice, too.)

  • Michael Grabowski says:

    The best way to open an FF movie would be to mimic the original comic: the heroes already are, and they mysteriously reveal themselves one by one. From there, intertwine their origin scenes as flashbacks as they come together to fight some great menace. Maybe have their cosmic ray accident be the result of encountering fallout in space caused by Galactus eating a planet, and then he can be the movie menace. Keep Doom out of it entirely until the sequel.

  • Brian says:

    The connection of Doom and the FF’s origin, properly done, is less direct. I’ve been thinking of late (as I’ve been reading/re-reading the book since #1 on Digital Unlimited) how you have strong *thematic* connections of Reed’s unheeded warnings to Doom (that resulted in Doom’s scarring) and Ben’s unheeded warnings to Reed (that resulted in the cosmic ray accident in the flight that Reed masterminded and demanded happen). A good screenwriter could connect those two through Reed’s learning to accept the limitations of his intelligence (the man mutated his friends, crashed a spaceship, and immediately shouted “I’m Mister Fantastic!”) and accepting how he needs the abilities of a team, while Doom fails to accept that same lesson – without requiring that Doom go through the mission (I could see Reed trying to ask Doom back in college about those same numbers that he later didn’t listen to Ben about, as all part of his own same connected tragic pride). Doom can be established as part of Reed’s backstory and them reenter the frame once the FF appear; he has a similar sort of dynamic as Ben, just from the other side (Reed’s curse is that his error left him in great shape and primed for celebrity, while the friend who he didn’t listen to became a monster like Doom did). It’s more complex than “Doom was there too!” but it’s also far more dynamic (speaking of dynamic, add some Mole Man and Mole Monsters in the middle for Doom to be able to notice Reed & company on the news regarding – cinema gold!)…