Fantastic Four, the Next Incarnation

fantastic4

You know, with Fox so obviously attempting to copycat Marvel with their X-Men franchise, I completely forgot about how they own Fantastic Four as well. The reminder came when they released this trailer:

And I was like, “Oh, right, I remember now! I heard about that awhile ago! They really did that?”

Even better, the trailer looks pretty good! I wasn’t expecting that!

This being said, my feelings are a little mixed.

For the most part, this looks pretty good. They have managed to intrigue me, to interest me, which is the idea of a trailer, after all. I had no idea what was going on, but I could gather who the four heroes were and that there was some dire, cosmic threat they had to face. That’s the most important part, and I’ve gleaned a couple spoilers from fellow reviewers, involving a teleportation trip to another dimension, which has a mutating effect on each of them, and their classic enemy, Doctor Doom, is in their primary antagonist.

So far, so good.

We're not flamed again... yet...

“We’re not flamed again… yet…”

It looks to have a very different texture from the last two FF movies, also produced by 20th Century Fox. Seriously, there was so much left to be desired by those, but if I had to pick one scene which summarizes it all, it’s how all four of them were needed to save one Ferris Wheel. Judging by the scenes of cities, soldiers, and extra-dimensional landscapes, there seems to be a little bit more for them to do in this reboot than simply save a couple cars, survive Doctor Doom, save a Ferris Wheel, take back a surfboard, and just wait for the Surfer to save them, which he can suddenly do for some unexplained reason.

Oh, and this version doesn’t involve explaining exposure to a space storm, which is a plus. While I usually like the Fantastic Four, that particular bit of their origin story always struck me as really stretching how much I could relate to them. So, this appeals to me.

Now, as for my reservations…

Here it comes!

“Here it comes!”

There is the fact that Fox has to emphasize so heavily that they’re the people who made X-Men: Days of Future Past. I mean, they haven’t produced a single superhero film of any proper quality since X2. The X-Men films, Elektra, Daredevil, Punisher… none of these was particularly well done, which contributed more than a little to the lackluster expectations of superhero movies faced by Batman Begins and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With a record that sparse, including the last two Fantastic Four films, Fox really needs to up their game.

Fortunately, Days of Future Past at least did prove that Fox can still bring their A-game to the superhero table. Now, if they can just start applying that A-game consistently, they’ll be golden. The trailer certainly makes it look like they’ve done that with this movie, but the same could also be said for the latest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which was so awful that I needed to go see Guardians of the Galaxy for a third time just wash the aftertaste out of my brain.

So, I suppose I’m open to the possibilities this trailer promises, but I’m also trying not to get my hopes up.

One final detail: how, exactly, are they going to explain Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, being a different ethnicity from his sister, Sue? Not only, does changing a character’s race strike me as a cheap and insincere (and counter-productive) attempt to placate the people who look for an excuse to be offended by something racial, particularly in contrast to Marvel’s approach of just featuring a multi-ethnic cast from the beginning, but I’m fairly certain most people are intelligent enough to realize that siblings tend to share certain traits like their ethnicity.

"I think we need a new plan..."

“I think we need a new plan…”

So, are they going to explain away their shallow, pandering attempt at making black men feel included by having them only be adopted or half-siblings or something? If they’re willing to go that far, why not just change Ben Grimm, the Thing, into a black man instead? Seems far simpler, as you don’t need to conjure some explanation for why he’s of a different ethnicity than the rest, as he’s not related to any of them.

That particular eye-roller aside, the trailer does make me want to see the new Fantastic Four.

"Yessssss!"

“Yessssss!”

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