It's Good That Fantastic Four Doesn't Look Like Marvel's Other Movies

It's Good That Fantastic Four Doesn't Look Like Marvel's Other Movies

Marvel Comics' first modern superhero success has been made into some very bad movies. The one coming up this winter has the chance to be much better, mostly by looking nothing like the comics it came from.

There's been a lot of discussion about the teaser for director Josh Trank's filmic reboot of the Fantastic Four, much of it focusing on how the dark and foreboding aesthetic seen in the clip. It reads more as a straight-up science-fiction movie and less like a flashy superhero spectacle. That tonal difference is what intrigues me the most about what Trank might try to do with Fantastic Four.

Now that Marvel's 10 films deep -- that is, with projects that they have produced themselves -- it's easy to see that the entertainment giant has a certain formula at play insofar as how their movies. Even when the directors differ, the set design, costumes and overall sensibilities work to make their cinematic universe look unified in a certain way. These are smaller pieces of a larger narrative that we're being told will come together in a climactic way. So when Hawkeye shows up in the first Thor movie, that appearance teases an increasing cohesion across all the movies that Marvel's going to make.

Fantastic Four won't be part of that larger narrative, since the film rights to Marvel's first family have been with Fox for a long time now. Ironically, the corporate walls that keep the FF away from the Avengers give Trank's movie a chance to be sort of a weird little brother to the cinematic universe that Marvel's building in its self-produced movies.

It's Good That Fantastic Four Doesn't Look Like Marvel's Other Movies

Part of what made the Fantastic Four's earliest comics was the rush of newness that Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were delivering in each issue. The silver age FF broke with the superhero conventions of the day in significant ways: their capeless outfits were more like uniforms than supersuits, they bickered and argued and they didn't hide behind secret identities. They weren't like the well-adjusted, publicly-loved heroes of DC Comics' Justice League of America.

A similar shift might be possible here. This new FF movie can happen in a world where aliens haven't invaded yet, where superheroes aren't on TV already, where more paranoia about meta-humans can be part of the thematic mix. It can be the outlier with a different tonality: less quips, more angst, for example.

The Fantastic Four are all about exploring the unknown. If the next movie featuring Reed, Sue, Johnny and Ben manages to venture into less-travelled thematic and visual territory, it might be the key to finally executing a Fantastic Four movie that's actually exciting.


Comments

    HOWEVER, they have said F4 will likely be happening in the same universe as XMEN.

      it makes sense because fox owns the rights to xmen and f4 ... that why they cant use adamantium in the avengers movies (Disney)

    The trailer makes it look like every other comic book, sci-fi movie ever made.

      Marvels movies, as much as I love them, all follow pretty much the same template now. I wonder if this will buck the trend.

        Except this is a Fox movie based on a Marvel licence and not an actual Marvel (as in the studio) movie.

          That's really not the point, I'm well aware there's 3 divisions of Marvel movies at this point (technically there's actually more, Namor is completely seperate from EVERYONE apparently), All the main marvel movies, Xmen, Spiderman, Disney-Marvel movies, follow a basic template for movies. It's easy to see it when you watch them. It's not an insult, it's taught in filmschool, it's how you put a script together. The three act structure, then break each structure down, the beginning , conflict, resolution etc, then fill them out etc. That's incredibly basically put, but most movies tend to follow that. Some, like Tarantino, throw it out of order and love playing with the audiences head. Comicbook movies are crowd pleasers, and are generally 'safe' movies.

            You mean there's no more original ideas and storylines basically follow Joseph Campbells' groundwork?

            I'm shocked.

              Eh, there's more than plenty original ideas out there, we're just reaching saturation point with comicbook movies/tv shows/everything and it's all starting to blend into each other lol

    They could also make a decent F4 movie by sticking to the source material, and not making stupid deviations that end up with lightweights like Julian McMahon playing one of the nastiest SOBs to grace a villain crushes super team style book cover.

    the trailer looks like it would be a good movie that the forced to fit the Fantastic Four.

    While there's a lot to like about the trailer, I'm concerned that they're going to stray too far from the core of the characters. Doom as an angry blogger? Oy...

    That's why movies like Iron Man and Avengers have been so successful - because they stay true to who the characters are and the universe they dwell in, despite what else they may change for film's sake.

    Then again, they were Marvel's own movies. This is a Fox movie based on the Marvel licence. A very important distinction, to be sure.

    If Fox changes too much, then however good a movie it might end up being, it will be an F4 movie in name only and the fans will turn their backs on it.

    Small problem, The new Fantastic Four seems to follow the rebooted Fantastic Four series. So it seems to be exactly like the comic books.

    What looks good as a drawing doesn't always translate to the real world or to CGI, some changes need to be made but when movies veer to far away from their source material it tends to be a poor movie.

    I was watching a documentary on Marvel, and they said the secret to making a good movie or a good comic is to give the job to people who love what they're doing. Who want to create something really great rather than make money. Because if it is truly great the money will follow. I'm worried because Fox is making this movie to keep hold of the License for Fantastic Four movies and for big box office numbers.

    All that said, I still am going to see it and I truly hope it's good.

      Small problem, The new Fantastic Four seems to follow the rebooted Fantastic Four series.

      When did Marvel reboot FF with Doctor Doom being an internet Blogger?

        He may be talking about the Ultimate canon comics, which is (until the next brand-wide crossover, it seems) set in a different universe to the main Marvel comics (basically so they could retell the same origin stories in a more contemporary setting, without people needing to know decades of back-story). I don't think he was ever an internet blogger in the Ultimate comics though (he was a programmer, so close enough for Hollywood), although he did have goat legs, was a direct descendant to Vlad the Impaler, and was called Victor van Damme, because why the hell not?

    I may have missed it but I didn't see H.E.R.B.I.E anywhere in the trailer

    Marvel should really have daddy Disney pull their weight and do what it takes to regain those franchises. It makes me really sad to know they're going to do Civil War without Spidey, Storm, or Reed Richards.

      Perhaps after the reboot of the Marvel Universe in the comics, none of those characters were involved in that story line?

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