As I’m getting ready to watch the Super Bowl (mostly for the trailers and commercials, I have no stake in the Patriots or the Seahawks), I keep thinking about the trailer for The Fantastic Four that was recently released.
Twentieth Century Fox released it I think to quiet all the complaining from the genre community about how we didn’t have any info (not even an official image) from the controversial reboot. Seriously, they needed to have done that for the longest time and I think some of the animosity towards the film can be blamed on the lack of marketing.
Anyway, looking around the Internet I keep viewing videos and reading articles stating how good the film looks and how we can all breathe easier knowing that director Josh Trank is going to deliver a superb film with a new take on the Fantastic Four.
Honestly, I wasn’t impressed.
When Fox announced the cast last year, I was very skeptical about the film right away from looking at the cast. And I still am. Yes, I do admit that the actors are well regarded like Miles Teller (for his role in Whiplash) and Michael B. Jordan. But as I said in my old post, these actors look too young. It’s undeniable that this reboot is taking its inspiration from the lackluster Ultimate Comics version of the Fantastic Four from last decade. In that version, the team was made up of young prodigies who travel to another dimension and get their powers by doing so. It didn’t work because that family dynamic from the original team was missing. Reed is supposed to be the distant father figure, Ben the grumpy uncle, Sue the mother figure and soul of the team, and Johnny being the young kid brother. I didn’t get that impression from the comic book and I don’t see it in this trailer.
Obviously, something like that can’t be shown in a teaser, but the team is made up of youngsters to attract the Twilight/The Hunger Games crowd and that is a big mistake. Why? This choice to go young undermines a basic core of what made the Fantastic Four work.
Another vital aspect missing or at least not shown in the trailer was a sense of wonder and good nature. Another reason why the Fantastic Four worked in the comics was for its light humor, fanciful sci-fi, and adventure. Those were missing in the trailer. Instead we were treated to a grim, dour and generic-looking sci-fi film that looks like it could’ve been directed by David Fincher. In past press releases, the filmmakers kept saying this film is supposed to have a more grounded and gritty approach, but that doesn’t work for the team. It seems like Trank and company wanted to copy the look and feel of Christopher Nolan’s Batman films. The film should’ve emulated Guardians of the Galaxy which gave off a fun, adventurous vibe. That would’ve being a better match. Perhaps Fox should’ve offered the film to James Gunn instead. While I’m at it, for all the complaints lodged at Tim Story’s Fantastic Four films at least they captured the essence of the team. It’s just that those films were doomed with bad casting, low budgets and weak scripts.
I’ll admit The Fantastic Four trailer is well shot and doesn’t look like a disaster, but it hit all the wrong buttons for me. I’m not excited about seeing this and I doubt I’ll go to the trouble of seeing it in a theater.
T. Rod Jones