Topic: Fantastic Four - Why Doesn't It Work?

(Note: I haven't seen the new Fantastic Four, but I'm basing all my thoughts on the reviews I've seen - which have been universally negative).

Fantastic Four is one of Marvel's biggest titles.  All four of the heroes have easily identifiable powers, they're relatively well-known outside of comic circles, and they're likable.  There's the smart one, the beautiful one, the strong one, and the funny one.  They're fun they're important, and writing a fun movie for them should be easy.

Well we've had three Fantastic Four movies in ten years, and all of them are pretty crappy (Rotten Tomatoes scores - 27% for the 2005 film, 37% for Silver Surfer in 2007, and an incredibly low 9% for the newest one).  Combine all three, and it's still only 73%, which is just one point higher than Iron Man 2.

So what's the problem here?  The first two FF movies had pretty good casts (Jessica Alba's hair notwithstanding).  The new film has a great young cast and a great young director.  And in a world where Marvel Studios seems to be able to make any movie interesting, Fantastic Four is bombing. 

It isn't the amount of characters.  Fox's other property - X-Men - has way more than four characters.  The material isn't particularly confusing or out there - and even if it were, Guardians of the Galaxy proved that doesn't matter. 

I don't really have an answer.  The 2005 film was okay, and I sorta liked the Silver Surfer sequel.  Those movies came about right before the MCU exploded onto the scene - were they too cheesy in a time when the Dark Knight was about to bust onto the scene?  Is the reboot too dark? 

Or do people just not care about the Fantastic Four?

Re: Fantastic Four - Why Doesn't It Work?

Personally, I thought the first two Fox movies captured the FF pretty well; but it was the FF of 1963.  When FF first started in comics, it was not serious at all.  In an early story, Doctor Doom was defeated and left on an asteroid to die in deep space.  A few issues later, we open with a scene of Stan Lee working in his office when suddenly Doom bursts through the door.  Stan is shocked and exclaims "How did you escape that asteroid?!"; and his answer is "Doom explains himself to no man!" before Doom grabs the phone and crank calls Reed.   Seriously.  That was it; and that's what Fantastic Four was.

Despite it's world endangering plots, Fantastic Four was conceived to be light.  In truth, we have already had a very successful Fantastic Four movie - it was called The Incredibles.  Brad Bird embraced the concept for what it was meant to be and people loved it.  Of course, Bird also had the opportunity to put the Incredibles in a world populated with other heroes; and that is an element to Fantastic Four.  The FF has often served as a bridge book with all of Marvel's characters filtering in and out.

Re: Fantastic Four - Why Doesn't It Work?

Do you think it was a mistake to keep Fantastic Four separate and not unite them with some mutants?  I thought that was interesting, since it might've been easier to link them to an already-popular series.

Re: Fantastic Four - Why Doesn't It Work?

I was fine with the last FF attempt as well. They were no worse than any of the XMen movies and they could have easily blended those worlds.

This new movie was destined to fail. They probably only made it for the sake of keeping the rights away from Disney, and those making the movie never tried to appeal to the audience. The comic fans, as far as I've seen, were never behind this movie. The complaints over casting have been played off as racist in the press, but it is a legitimate complaint. They chose one of the two characters who were biologically related, thus altering that character on a very basic level.

The same thing is happening with Wally West. People want to see their beloved, iconic character. When you fundamentally change that character and turn them I to something new, you are essentially killing off the beloved icon without care and slapping their name on someone new.
I am not as upset about a black Wally West on the TV show as I am with what happened in the comics, but I do understand where fans are coming from.

With Fantastic 4, it was a sign that the people making it weren't doing it for the fans. The push back by the fans wasn't met with any care or concern, it was met with accusation. This movie was never going to succeed, because the studio was at war with the people that they wanted money from.

Based on the pictures I've seen, the movie looks pretty horrible anyway. So I don't think that they ever wanted to or expected to break the box office. It had to be about the rights.

Re: Fantastic Four - Why Doesn't It Work?

Well I don't think it was a lack of effort.  I don't think this movie or Amazing Spider-Man was meant to fail.  Or was even, really, just about rights.  I thought parts of ASM were really good.  Was genuinely excited about ASM2.  It didn't work because of mistakes the filmmakers made - doing the origin again, covering a lot of the same material the Raimi trilogy did, and cramming in too many villains. 

But a lot of the right pieces were in place for this movie to work.  I like Kate Mara.  I like Josh Trank.  I agree in terms of Johnny Storm, but Michael B. Jordan is a good actor.  I liked the cast of the 2005 film.  They did enough to distinguish this film from that film so it didn't suffer the same fate as the ASM re-reboot.

I'm wondering if it's the material itself.  I read a review that said that the first quarter/half of the movie is great, and the movie falls apart when they become superheroes.  Which should be the fun part.  Was it too dark?  Is there a delicate mix that makes Fantastic Four work that is hard to capture on film?  I really don't know.

Re: Fantastic Four - Why Doesn't It Work?

Michael B. Jordan is a good actor, but he wasn't right for this part... Or this part wasn't right for him. And when people tried to say that, they were demonized and called racist. It is annoying because half of the casting notices put out have a specified race for characters. It is part of the job. But when an audience member brings it up, it suddenly becomes an issue.
But the thing is, people don't like the choice of Affleck for Batman either. We still have articles coming out with headlines about being stuck with Affleck for at least three films. There is no hidden agenda there, but it is the same complaint. If they manage to make it work, it will be an impressive stunt.
Ezra Miller is another example. Totally wrong for The Flash. And there is possibly more dislike for this casting than Affleck, because he isn't just wrong for the part, but most fans feel like the part has already been filled competently. I don't see how the filmmakers will make that right with the fans.

Amazing Spider-Man and its sequel were actually good. I liked them as fun comic book movies. But with this FF movie... I saw a commercial for the movie that didn't even show any clips. It doesn't strike me as something that was carefully made by people who were really excited about it.

Great actors in the movie. It is a shame that they were wasted.

Re: Fantastic Four - Why Doesn't It Work?

Informant wrote:

Amazing Spider-Man and its sequel were actually good. I liked them as fun comic book movies.

Oh well we can't agree there.  If you want to talk about making a movie to secure rights, I think ASM is up there with the Roger Corman Fantastic Four movie.  I think Andrew Garfield was a really good Spider-Man, but those movies were pretty much disastrous in my mind.  I think Marc Webb had good intentions, but it's the worst parts of the MCU and Raimi's trilogy come to life. 

You want to talk about universe-building hurting a franchise?  If you thought Captain America: The First Avenger and Iron Man 2 were bad?  At least people wanted to see an Avengers movie.  ASM2 is basically a prequel for a Sinister Six movie that no one asked for.  It suffered from the same over-saturation that killed Spider-Man 3.  It telegraphed Gwen's death way too much, but it wouldn't give anything else away because of future sequels. 

Not to mention the rampant insanity of completely redoing the origin story.  People give Tobey's Peter crap for "killing" Uncle Ben's killer, but Garfield's Peter doesn't even remember to catch him.  Not only is he not found in the first movie, but the second movie doesn't even acknowledge it.  Uncle Ben's killer gets away.  And the studio cut the movie so much that the other minor villain isn't even dealt with - another loose end. 

ASM and ASM were mildly enjoyable while I was watching them, but they were as forgettable as Thor's solo movies.  And that's saying something.

Re: Fantastic Four - Why Doesn't It Work?

Fair points. I did find those movies enjoyable. I thought they were fun... Not great movies by any means, but fun to watch. And they annoy me less than most of the Marvel movies just because nobody is acting as though they are better than they are.

Plus, I like Emma Stone. I'm not sure that I've watched any of her other movies, but I like her. smile

Re: Fantastic Four - Why Doesn't It Work?

Yeah they were fun but just had massive issues when inspected deeply at all. 

If you liked Emma Stone, I recommend Easy A.  She's great in that.  I also really liked Zombieland - she's great there too.

Re: Fantastic Four - Why Doesn't It Work?

I haven't seen the movie. But I love Michael B. Jordan and am thrilled to see him in any role.

The whole FANTASTIC FOUR 2015 situation strikes me as downright SLIDERS-esque, especially with studio interference and various personality conflicts.

Season 1

  • FOX wanted to retain the F4 rights but didn't care to invest strongly in the film. As with SLIDERS, their interference was random, sudden and last-minute. Just as production was about to begin, FOX mandated a tens of millions budget cut and the removal of three action sequences.

  • As Tracy Torme with SLIDERS, Josh Trank had a strong vision for F4 as a grounded, low-key, hard-sci-fi reboot of the property as the 60s origin was based in the space race of the era.
    FOX and Trank agreed on Michael B. Jordan's casting as Johnny Storm.

  • FOX and Trank disagreed on casting Miles Teller, but Trank won that battle.

  • Trank did not want Kate Mara as Sue Storm, but FOX won that battle.

Season 2

  • There were reports of Josh Trank being indecisive and giving contradictory instructions to set builders, prop designers and other crew.

  • As with SLIDERS, there were reports of FOX giving contradictory mandates at late stages of preproduction, hence Trank's indecision.

  • There were reports of Josh Trank making himself unavailable to communicate with cast, producers and crew throughout filming, much like David Peckinpah and Bill Dial ducking out on writers' meetings during their seasons of SLIDERS.

  • Like Tracy Torme, Josh Trank was reported as being combative, antagonistic and abrasive towards studio executives and producers.

  • Like David Peckinpah and Bill Dial, Trank was reported as being abusive towards cast members, specifically Miles Teller and Kate Mara.

  • Like various Season 3 - 5 producers, Josh Trank was reported as going to set inebriated to the point of being unable to give direction.

  • After the initial filming, reshoots took place, as they do on most films. However, these reshoots were reportedly done with little Trank marginally involved and producer Simon Kinberg leading production at this point.

  • Josh Trank did not have final cut ]of F4.

Season 3

  • Marvel Studios' head Ike Perlmutter was furious at FOX's refusal to work with Marvel on an F4 film. Marvel publishing, seeing Perlmutter's anger towards the F4 property and FOX, barred any F4 merchandise from being produced and cancelled the comic book series to avoid any enterprises that could be viewed as supporting the FOX production. (The comic had not been a high seller in years anyway and Marvel tends to publish to low profits anyway, seeing the comics as R&D for film and TV.)

  • Josh Trank was reported as causing hundreds of thousands of dollars to the rented house he lived in during F4's filming.

Season 4

  • During F4 filming, Trank was set to later direct a STAR WARS spin-off film.

  • Disney, hearing of Trank's conduct on set, held meetings with Simon Kinberg, asking for his opinion of Trank. Following these meetings, Josh Trank was fired from STAR WARS.

  • In the weeks leading up to F4's release, Trank E-mailed cast and crew congratulating them on having made a good film.

  • As negative reviews of F4 were published, Trank posted on Twitter that F4 was not his film and that the studio had interefered. He quickly deleted the Tweet, but screenshots were taken.

Season 5

  • F4 was a box office failure.

  • FOX is now unsure of whether they will proceed with a sequel, another reboot, a crossover with X-MEN or a licensing deal with Marvel Studios.

  • Trank has at this point alienated Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Simon Kinberg, Fox, Disney, Lucasfilm and his landlord.

Re: Fantastic Four - Why Doesn't It Work?

That's a lot that I didn't know? What happened with Teller and Mara? They're really hot in Hollywood right now.

Plus, Kate Mara just cut her hair and proved that she should play Wade!

Re: Fantastic Four - Why Doesn't It Work?

I don't have the details. A part of me wants to see this as FOX's doing -- I mean, this is SLIDERS and X-MEN III and X-MEN ORIGINS WOLVERINE all over again -- studio interference done with no professionalism or concern for quality. Except it has to be said that this is something that happens with all big studio movies and TV shows. It happened on FRINGE with Jeff Pinkner and Joel Wyman; it happened on the X-MEN movies with Matthew Vaughn and Bryan Singer. And it happened on SLIDERS with Tracy Torme and F4 with Josh Trank.

Pinkner and Wyman and Vaughn and Singer and Whedon and Shane Black and others are people who seem to be able to work with the studio and handle all the mandates and restrictions while working hard for a good product. Trank, from these reports, got discouraged and just gave up, staggering onto set drunk because he was so unhappy with FOX and managed to lose not only F4, but the subsequent STAR WARS job he had lined up.

Nearly everyone Josh Trank worked with on F4 seems to be against him, suggesting that he was professionally dysfunctional across the board with every co-worker.

Re: Fantastic Four - Why Doesn't It Work?

From everything I've read about the plot, it sounds like Trank's FF was potentially a good story; it just wasn't a Fantastic Four movie.  It seemed to be hard sci-fi verging on horror; but after studio interference to try to shoe horn it into the original licensed IP, it turned out kind of like late Sliders season three.

I read some comments on another board that I think summed it up pretty well.  Fox has done pretty well with X-men because it is more "adult".  A thread throughout the X-men universe is one of social prejudices and the grim things that come along with it.  Marvel itself has likened the dynamic between Professor X and Magneto to be that of Martin Luther King vs Malcolm X; they weren't enemies; they fought for the same cause; but they were two opposite ends of the spectrum.  Of course, the credit for X-men's success is Bryan Singer and the people that surround him; but they kept it close enough to the original licensed IP and made enough money that Fox just let them do what they wanted.

Fantastic Four is more suited as family oriented fare; as Mark Waid termed them, the team can be summed up well as Imaginauts.  It's wide-eyed adventure with heroes and villains who are not really scary even though their underlying actions indicate they should be.  Doctor Doom makes deals with the actual devil all the time trying to save his mother's damned soul, but it doesn't really "feel" like he's doing that.  And social commentary?  The closest FF ever got to that was a late 80's story where a child set himself on fire so that he could be like his idol the Human Torch; it was something that was well done for that issue and pretty much forgotten by the next issue.

Really, I think Fantastic Four suffers from the same exact problem as Sliders - what is it if you try to put it into a box?  Is it science fiction?  Is it comedy?  Is it family drama?  Is it horror?  Is it corny?  Is it serious?  Well, yes.  It's everything.  It's a concoction that has to be mixed together with just the right technique, and even writers in the comics can't always get it right (Mark Millar being one of the ones I don't think has ever "got it" - and he was a consultant on this current movie which seemed to be partly based on the Ultimate Fantastic Four he wrote).

Personally, I think FF is best suited for television; and seeing what the CW can do with effects on Flash, I believe FF could be done well.  It's hard to see all of the facets of the property in an hour and a half at the movie theater, but you can cover it if you spread it out over 13 to 22 hours over the course of a television season.

Re: Fantastic Four - Why Doesn't It Work?

That would be so much cooler than Agents of SHIELD.

Re: Fantastic Four - Why Doesn't It Work?

Max Landis has released four pages from his script for this movie; it reads more like the banter I would expect from the core FF team. … ript-pages

Max Landis, of course, the son of John Landis who was part of the original Sliders production team.

Re: Fantastic Four - Why Doesn't It Work?

I'm a big fan of Max - he actually wrote a feature-length script about the Spider-Man villain Shocker, which is online.  He also wrote an absurdly long script for a Mario Bros movie, and I loved his take on Death of Superman (available on youtube - separate from his re-enactment of Death of Superman, which is also on youtube).  He wrote a stand-alone Superman comic where he faces off against the Joker - and it's been recreated a couple times on youtube (once as a radio-type show with Max doing the voices himself), and he's going to do another Superman comic soon (featuring a retelling of the origin I believe).

He's said that his FF script would've been fun and goofy.  That Doom would've been a good guy (at least in the first one).  He seems conflicted on releasing more than just those pages because he knows Trank (and I assume Jordan) from working on Chronicle.  He's tried to use the publicity of his script to get people to actually go see the one in theatres.  I don't think he's commented on the film itself, mostly because he probably doesn't want to bag on it.

Re: Fantastic Four - Why Doesn't It Work?

I'd say that the main problem with the new FANTASTIC FOUR movie is that the people behind the movie couldn't work together, for whatever reason. They worked against each other, pulling in different directions, making 2 - 3 different movies and awkwardly editing them into a single film. Weird how AMAZING SPIDER-MAN had people working together, but also making 2 - 3 different movies and awkwardly editing them into a single film. Andrew Garfield's complaint with ASM2, I think, was that the main plot was Peter uncovering Richard Parker's legacy (the secret research, the hidden base in the subway station). The Sinister Six and the Green Goblin were meant to be reflections of that main plot: Peter's search for his father. The end would have Peter seemingly defeated by the Green Goblin in every way that counted, for Peter to break down by Gwen's grave -- and then for Richard Parker to appear, telling Peter he'd been watching Peter all his life, that he believed in him, and that "with great power comes great responsibility." The movie was the end with Peter having lost everything but reuniting with his father.

They cut that and the whole thing fell apart. It'd be interesting to find out where this happened with F4.

Re: Fantastic Four - Why Doesn't It Work?

I think ASM suffered from the fact that they didn't want to commit to anything.  It just wanted to tease and tease and tease and tease.  But even the MCU gives pay offs.  They cut a ton of Richard Parker stuff to use in the sequel.  And probably cut the reveal for a future sequel.  Which would've pushed something to a future sequel.

I still haven't seen FF, but I'm sure they got caught between fun adventure and dark/gritty.  And probably got caught up in world building and teases on its own.

Re: Fantastic Four - Why Doesn't It Work?

A discussion over at TrekBBS has brought to light something I had not considered.  Most are assuming that Fox can make a deal with Marvel on the Fantastic Four rights (much like Sony / Spider-man), but is Fox in complete control of that decision?

This from an August 8 article at … 368720.htm

(Bernd) Eichinger had been buying options for various properties with the plan of turning them into major movies. (In 1986), A discussion with Lee and Marvel proved fruitful, with Eichinger winning the rights to Fantastic Four for a price that's been speculated in and around $250,000. Eichinger's company, Constantin Films, was a shrewd investor and had bought the rights and turned The NeverEnding Story into a hugely successful franchise.


The deal he'd made with Stan Lee had a time-limit. He had until December 31st, 1992 to get a film made or else the property would revert back to Marvel's control and they could, technically, sell the rights again.


The most well-known version of events state that Eichinger churned out the film with Corman in order to keep control of Fantastic Four, enabling him to eventually sell it on to another studio. Eichinger would eventually go on to produce the 2005 version and Constantin Films are producers on the current version. Another version of events - corroborated by Eichinger himself - has it that Eichinger was approached by then-Marvel's film honcho, Avi Arad, and offered a refund of the money spent to make the film. Arad's thinking was that if the film were to see the light of day, it would ruin any chance of future Fantastic Four movies because people would associate the cheesy, Roger Corman-produced, B-movie elements with a higher-budget one. As Arad describes it, he bought the film and burn it so nobody would ever see it. He himself didn't even watch it. The film now has the dubious honour of being the first and only ashcan movie; a term that has its genus in old comics that were made purely for record-keeping purposes.

It seems that Eichinger was, throughout the production of the cheaper, unreleased version, looking ahead to a big-budget version. When Avi Arad stepped in around 1994, so did the money. $40,000,000 was put to make a new version. Eichinger had signed Chris Columbus attached to direct; who eventually left. Ant-Man's Peyton Reed was in contention to direct at one point. The film went through several permutations for over ten years before it eventually made its way to the screen in 2005.

So if the agreement had a 7 year window to make a movie under the license (1986 to the day before 1993), then how did Constantin stay in the picture until Fox made the movie in 2005?

Constantin Films set up the deal at Fox in 1994 starting with Chris Columbus.  When the licensing deadline approached in 2001, Marvel allowed Constantin Films an extension of their license expiration date so that they could continue developing the film with Fox; in exchange, Marvel got the film negative to the Roger Corman movie.

Is Constantin Films still the studio that's *actually* in control of the Fantastic Four rights?  Constantin Films is still involved even in the most recent Fantastic Four Film:

There are no more ties to the Chris Columbus film; all of that development was used up on the 2005 movie.  Why would Constantin Films still be involved in the 2015 movie unless they've got something valuable?

Re: Fantastic Four - Why Doesn't It Work?

Josh Trank is an awful director.

Re: Fantastic Four - Why Doesn't It Work?

CHRONICLE was a very good film, at least in my view. I'm not going to let FANTASTIC FOUR affect my opinion of Trank's talent too much as Trank has publicly disowned the film. There seems plenty of blame to go around for the new F4 movie.

While the complaints against Trank seem to vastly outweigh the complaints against FOX, FOX should have simply left Trank to do the movie he wanted. Maybe Trank's F4 would have been terrible, but stepping into somebody else's film to finish it only creates a terrible of a different kind; at least F4 would have been Trank's F4 as opposed to some mismatched, misbegotten mismash.

FANTASTIC FOUR is a *very* challenging concept compared to IRON MAN or SPIDER-MAN or X-MEN, simply because those concepts are *easily* transplanted from the 1960s to today while F4's origins are *completely* intertwined with the space race and the fight against Communism. Rewriting the origin is a necessity for a mainstream movie in 2015; it's understandable if it doesn't work out.

The buzz seems to be that FOX is moving ahead with a sequel regardless of the box office failure. Why? Their thinking is, it seems: somebody, someday, will make money off an F4 movie, so it might as well be them even if they're currently doing it at a loss.

Re: Fantastic Four - Why Doesn't It Work?

ireactions wrote:

FANTASTIC FOUR is a *very* challenging concept compared to IRON MAN or SPIDER-MAN or X-MEN, simply because those concepts are *easily* transplanted from the 1960s to today while F4's origins are *completely* intertwined with the space race and the fight against Communism. Rewriting the origin is a necessity for a mainstream movie in 2015; it's understandable if it doesn't work out.

Again, I haven't seen the movie.  But every review I've read has said the same thing - the origin isn't the problem.  I've seen nothing but praise for the first portion of the movie.  The part that fails, supposedly, is the superhero part. 

One thing that I've always had issue with is Doom.  I've heard he's supposedly the biggest bad of all the bads in the primary Marvel universe, but what are his powers?  What makes him so powerful?  How come I can't think of a single big-time Marvel event (granted, I don't know a ton) where he even participates?

I've seen the 2005 movie and the sequel and his powers are electricity?  Manipulation of some kind?  Being evil?  It's like he's a male Scarlet Witch - his powers are just whatever the plot demands.  And I've heard the same sort of power ambiguity exists in the new movie.

The buzz seems to be that FOX is moving ahead with a sequel regardless of the box office failure. Why? Their thinking is, it seems: somebody, someday, will make money off an F4 movie, so it might as well be them even if they're currently doing it at a loss.

I think Fox's best bet is to absorb them into X-Men somehow.  Or, heck, do TF's idea and do a FF show instead of an X-Men show.  Or combine the two.

I don't know if the new version can meld with mutants or not.  If not, do FF science and send them to the Marvel universe.  Let them hang out with Channing Tatum's Gambit (who I assume will be the star of the X-Men franchise when Jackman retires).  Let them fight whatever new villain they decide to use going forward.  Team them up with minor mutants.  Put Johnny in a "main" X-Men movie.  But try and get some of the good-natured X-Men mojo associated with Fantastic Four.

That's what I'd do.  I definitely wouldn't reboot again.

Re: Fantastic Four - Why Doesn't It Work?

Slider_Quinn21 wrote:

One thing that I've always had issue with is Doom.  I've heard he's supposedly the biggest bad of all the bads in the primary Marvel universe, but what are his powers?  What makes him so powerful?  How come I can't think of a single big-time Marvel event (granted, I don't know a ton) where he even participates?

I've seen the 2005 movie and the sequel and his powers are electricity?  Manipulation of some kind?  Being evil?  It's like he's a male Scarlet Witch - his powers are just whatever the plot demands.  And I've heard the same sort of power ambiguity exists in the new movie.

That's the funny thing about Doom; in the comics he doesn't really have any powers.  Doom is a super genius like Reed, and Doom's armor is essentially an Iron Man suit.  In fact, one of the more memorable Marvel stories is when Iron Man and Doom tangle over a time machine and end up in the time of King Arthur; the only way they get back home is by sharing armor components to build a new machine.

So Fox had an Iron Man type character in their movies before Marvel did, but they ignored that aspect of the Doom character.

What they were doing in the Tim Story movies was focusing on the natural elements.  The Fantastic Four represent the four elements (earth, fire, wind and water), and they were trying to make Doom into the fifth element.  In some cultures iron has been considered the fifth element; in some cultures electricity is the fifth element; the Story movies just threw it all in to see if it would stick.

As for Doom being a major threat, it comes from two areas. Doom is the King of his own country; he's like Saddam Hussein with the skill to build a particle accelerator from scratch.  He has a full army behind him of both real people and robots he created.  The FF even went in one time and freed the people of Doom's country; the people responded by fighting the FF to get Doom back.  Doom is actually good to his people and in terms of medieval times he would probably be considered a good king; he just wants to control everything.

The second area that makes Doom a major threat is his iron will.  The biggest Marvel U event he was a part of was Secret Wars (both the old and new series).  In that story, a god-like being called the Beyonder set up a Star Trek style battle royale between good and evil to see which was superior.  While the heroes and villains just play their parts in business as usual, Doom doesn't participate. Instead he works toward taking down the Beyonder himself; and even though the Beyonder strips Doom down to nothing but blood and bone, he still never gives up.  Doom gets in the Beyonder's head and turns his own power against him; then Doom takes the power and essentially becomes a god.   Ultimately Doom is beaten by the heroes using a similar tactic, but they do it as an army against him; Doom did it alone.

I think Fox's best bet is to absorb them into X-Men somehow.

There is a built in way to do it, but it would take skipping ahead in the FF time line.  Franklin Richards (the son of Reed and Sue) is a mutant who has the power to bend reality (i.e. creating a second earth on the other side of the sun); and this has caused the X-men and FF to tussle a few times.  Franklin is dangerous because he's just a little kid and doesn't know how to control it; Xavier wants to take Franklin away to teach him but Reed and Sue think they can handle it and don't want to give up their kid.

Franklin also had ties to a four person kid team called Power Pack who were usually tied into the X-men universe even tough they weren't mutants.  I don't know if Fox has the rights to them, though.

Re: Fantastic Four - Why Doesn't It Work?

I too loved Chronicle! Was a little disappointed it went the old Cliche Carrie route and dropped the sense of playful wonder that was so enjoyable in the first half but still good none the less.

The new F4 just seemed redundant to me. Sure the first two had their flaws and were rather shallow but essentially they were specracle Films without too much pretension at being more so Fun but..... Yeah.

The thing that bothers me most in all F4 Films though is the Lack of Ambiguity re Doom. He was never and should never be a 2D Bad Guy.

"It's only a matter of time. Were I in your shoes, I would spend my last earthly hours enjoying the world. Of course, if you wish, you can spend them fighting for a lost cause.... But you know that you've lost." -Kane-

Re: Fantastic Four - Why Doesn't It Work?

Slider_Quinn21 wrote:

Again, I haven't seen the movie.  But every review I've read has said the same thing - the origin isn't the problem.  I've seen nothing but praise for the first portion of the movie.  The part that fails, supposedly, is the superhero part.

It's not just the origin of the F4 that are stuck in the 60s. It's the entire concept. Reed creating world-altering technologies all by himself within his own company as a one-man operation with no military oversight, no corporate sources of funding and no government involvement. Risky and perilous scientific expeditions carried out by a genius and three people with no scientific credentials at all, carrying out their work in public in the middle of New York City as celebrities.

It's somewhat believable -- not plausible, but believable -- in the less technologically advanced world of 1961 where even the concept of celebrity existed in a pre-social media era. This concept doesn't work in 2015. The comics get away with it because of the absurdities of a superhero universe. For a film, the entire concept of the FANTASTIC FOUR has to be reworked for a modern era and that changes the tone, the characters, the setting -- everything that makes the F4 a charming creation of 1961 extended into 2015 has to be reconsidered as a property beginning and continuing in 2015.

Re: Fantastic Four - Why Doesn't It Work?

So ireactions - and I'm genuinely asking this question - is it possible to do a Fantastic Four movie in 2015 era times?  In your opinion, is the concept possible?  Because after reading more of this, I watched some youtube reviews - and everyone is talking about giving the rights back to Marvel.  And yeah - they've done a pretty good job with the Avengers - but it's not like they're infallible.  Iron Man 2, both Thor movies, Cap 1, Iron Man 3 - these aren't great movies.  I still haven't seen Ant-Man, and Avengers 2 was underwhelming.  We don't know what they're going to do with Spider-Man.

Can we trust that Marvel will do better than Fox?  Based on Ant-Man, we know that studio interference won't be any less.

The pieces were in place in 2005 and 2015 for a good Fantastic Four movie.  Is the source material too flawed to get it right?

Re: Fantastic Four - Why Doesn't It Work?

The problem is not the source material -- just that there are more challenges in adapting it, meaning more risks need to be taken, but also meaning that there's more room for error. Josh Trank and FOX made bold choices in adapting the 1960s concept -- and then FOX got cold feet and wanted to change their minds, Trank disagreed, conflicts were heightened and the film ended up in an awkward middle ground that didn't commit to any choices at all.

Dan Harmon and the Russo brothers would do a great job on FANTASTIC FOUR. :-)

Re: Fantastic Four - Why Doesn't It Work?

Well let's go back to the beginning then.  From what I've read and seen, the issues that Fox had with Trank's original idea were things that took place in the first half.  Reed and Ben were working for the government at a young age.  Victor's last name was something else before it was changed to Von Doom.  Items that the studio thought would scare off fanboys so they were changed.

And according to reviews, the first half wasn't the problem.  As far as you know, what were the changes made to the second half of the movie, where it allegedly fell flat?  Because the problems seem to be that Doom had no real motivation to want to destroy the Earth, the action was meaningless and pointless, and that you didn't care about any of the characters.

I'd love to think that Trank had a really good movie that Fox screwed up.  That's his claim, after all.  But I've just yet to see what his idea would've been that would've saved the second half of the movie.  And maybe that idea didn't leak.  But if it did, I'd be curious to know what it was.

Re: Fantastic Four - Why Doesn't It Work?

It's unclear who's at fault, although there's plenty of blame to go around. It's hard to tell where things went wrong because even the most detailed accounts at this point are still offering generalities.

With FOX, they apparently cut three major action sequences, cut the budget by tens of millions and did so shortly before filming. After principal shooting was complete, FOX ordered reshoots. During these reshoots, Kate Mara had to wear an absurd wig because she'd cut her hair and she, Jamie Bell and Michael B. Jordan were barely available and Miles Teller only slightly more available, meaning reshoots were done with Miles Teller on a greenscreen and with doubles for the other two. Trank, at this point, was still on set but had no say in anything anymore. One aspect of the reshoots was to remove the idea that Dr. Doom was the online handle for "Victor Domeshev." The reshoots were done with a completely different sensibility from Trank's.

With Trank, the charges are that he went to set drunk and wasted regularly, completely unable to communicate with cast and crew at times. He refused to collaborate with others and put a black barrier around his monitor and set up a tent to keep everyone out. When there were problems, Trank would make himself unavailable. He was reportedly abusive towards Kate Mara and Miles Teller as well as to FOX representatives and producer Simon Kinberg. He also trashed the house that FOX was renting for him and defaced the owner's decorations. It was also reported that Trank gave bizarre direction to the actors, telling them when to blink and breathe. The only defence I've heard of this beyond a denial is that Trank was completely demoralized by FOX cutting his budget and set-pieces.

From FOX's end, they found that Trank's footage was unusable or unacceptable or incomplete -- not clear what the exact issue was. FOX's view was that reshooting the movie was unavoidable because the material Trank had either could not be assembled into a complete film -- or at least not a film they wanted to release, although it's pretty clear that this disowned-by-Trank version is also not a film they wanted to release. Until more information is available, we can only speculate whether the fault lies with FOX, Trank or both.

That said, Disney fired Trank from STAR WARS after hearing of his behaviour on FANTASTIC FOUR.

Re: Fantastic Four - Why Doesn't It Work?

Why don't they just set the movie in the 1960's? They did it with The X-Men and it worked as well as any of the other movies. And Captain America kept the WWII origin before throwing him forward in time.

They should just embrace the dated element and use it to their advantage. It might keep them from interacting with some other properties, but it would probably be more successful.

Re: Fantastic Four - Why Doesn't It Work?

Well I don't read FF comics.  What aspects are non-negotiable when making a movie?  Does it have to be over-the-top goofy?  Do the Four have to be celebrities?  Does Reed have to be an inventor?  Does Doom have to be the center of all villainous plots?

I'd break the story down to it's basest elements and go from there.  I'm sure WB would love to fix Clark Kent's disguise, but it's iconic even if it's ridiculous.  If Superman wore a mask to protect the Clark Kent identity, then he wouldn't be Superman anymore.  So every iteration of Superman has to start with "Okay, Clark Kent wears glasses and that's his disguise.  We can't worry about that.  Now what?"

Re: Fantastic Four - Why Doesn't It Work?

The 1960s idea is pretty cool to me.

Regarding FF's essentials? I guess the sense that the FF are a weird family thrown together by circumstance and they explore the unknown is all that's really essential. The ULTIMATE FF comics were a great read for me and they recast Sue and Reed as teen geniuses working for a secret government thinktank in weapons development. It was fantastic! (Actually, I seem to recall the reviews being pretty terrible, but I enjoyed them lots.)

In comics, time is fluid and floating. Captain America was frozen in the 1945s and then woke up in 1964. Reed Richards and Ben Grimm were WWII army buddies. The Black Widow first met Iron Man when she was a Communist spy. As time progresses, Cap's defrosting is referred as having happened 10 - 15 years ago, and flashbacks always reflect whatever that is relative to the present. Reed and Ben refer to meeting in the army but don't refer to the conflict. The Black Widow is still a former Communist spy and her youth is explained as potion that froze her age, but references to her first meeting with Iron Man make no reference to her original employers. There's occasionally a retcon or two with Marvel, but for the most part, readers somehow shrug and accept that Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider in 1963 but only ten years have passed for him despite it being 2015. However, the X-Men of ten years ago time travel to the modern era and are amazed at how 2015 technology is far ahead of the 1960s. Basically, it's a joke. It's not supposed to make sense.

Re: Fantastic Four - Why Doesn't It Work?

I think "Man of Steel" kinda covered the issue of Clark's disguise. In that movie, it was kind of an open secret. In Smallville's, people seemed to know who he was, but most people didn't really share that information or do much with it. They didn't forget everything that happened around him as a kid. It was just Clark for them. And it didn't take Lois long to figure it out, but again, it became a situation where knowing Clark outweighed knowing Clark's secret. People protected him, though it was less overt than some of the Spider-Man movies.

I wonder what happens when he is famous as both Clark and Superman. Maybe Zatanna or someone can put a spell on his glasses.

Re: Fantastic Four - Why Doesn't It Work?

Slider_Quinn21 wrote:

Well I don't read FF comics.  What aspects are non-negotiable when making a movie?  Does it have to be over-the-top goofy?  Do the Four have to be celebrities?  Does Reed have to be an inventor?  Does Doom have to be the center of all villainous plots?

I would say that you have to respect Ben Grimm / The Thing.  Ben is Jack Kirby (co-creator of the Fantastic Four) - the cigar chomping, gruff, bruiser with a heart of gold who's smarter and more talented than he appears to be.  Ben is the heart of the FF and a piece of the man who brought it all to life.

From what I hear, the new movie kind of marginalized Ben; but the little development he was given was to show him as someone who had an abusive childhood.  That works for Hulk; but it's not Ben.  Some unused footage seems to indicate that Trank got it right at one point; it showed Ben as a baseball player and allegedly before each game his coach would give the battle cry "It's Clobberin' Time!"  That could fit Ben.

Torch is the comic foil to the group and that should be there.  Chris Evans and Michael Chiklis really nailed the two characters in my opinion.  Reed and Sue are kind of blank archetypes really; Reed is the living exposition to what's going on, and writers have been trying to figure out what to do with Sue for a long time.  There's room to grow there, but the main aspect of the Reed character is his intelligence and inventions; without that, you have a different character.  It would be like saying we're going to take MacGyver in a new direction where he doesn't make stuff.

I do think their celebrity status is important; and even the comics have addressed how the world reacts to the reality bending experiments taking place in the Baxter Building in New York (currently the FF has been evicted and the building was brought by Peter Parker as the new HQ of his multi-million dollar company Parker Industries).

As for Doom, he didn't appear in the comics until issue 5, and I don't see him as the center of the FF world.  Doom would be off doing his own thing and not even noticing the Fantastic Four except that Reed Richards is part of it.  Doom and Reed went to college together, and Doom blames Reed for the lab explosion that disfigured his face (leading Doom to wear the iron mask).  The reality is that the explosion occurred because Doom was hasty; Reed tried to warn him the machine was going to blow up, but Doom wouldn't listen to him.  Doom started there using Reed as the scape goat for all his failures and it's just never ended; if something doesn't go Doom's way, it must be because of something Richards did.

The interesting thing in the comics is that the lab explosion actually only left a tiny scar on Doom's cheek; but Doom was so vain and OCD about his appearance that he freaked out.  Doom went to live with monks for awhile where they forged the mask for him to try to help him overcome his obsession about his face; but Doom was impatient and put the mask on while it was still heated from the forging.  That is what led to his face being horribly disfigured; it wasn't Reed at all.

However, the thing with Doom is that he's pretty much the FF's Lex Luthor.  Doom obsessively hates Reed, so he's always going to be pushing himself into the FF world just for that reason.

As for other villains in the FF universe, the biggest one is probably the Skrulls (and that's likely the key reason why Marvel Studios wants the FF license back).  The Skrulls are shape changing aliens that have been a big part of Avengers stories (including a big one called Secret Invasion); but they first appeared in Fantastic Four, so they are part of that license.  Marvel Studios also needs the FF license back to use the big Avengers villain Kang the Conqueror (who first appeared in Fantastic Four as Rama Tut).

The remaining rogues gallery of people like Puppet Master, Mole Man and the Frightful Four are better served in something like television; the only truly epic things left are Annihilus (the insect emperor of the Negative Zone dimension), Galactus and his heralds and Namor the Submariner (whose movie rights are tied up at Universal Studios).

Re: Fantastic Four - Why Doesn't It Work? … on-kinberg

Well. This explains what happened with FANTASTIC FOUR. Looks like FOX really screwed things up -- but Trank proceeded to use FOX as an excuse for extremely unprofessional behaviour when he should have simply quit.

Re: Fantastic Four - Why Doesn't It Work?

Would that have been a movie people liked more?

Re: Fantastic Four - Why Doesn't It Work?

Rob, I'm going to have to ask you to make up your own mind on this one. :-) Come on, do you really want ME to be anyone's arbiter of taste?

Re: Fantastic Four - Why Doesn't It Work?

Well I can't imagine I can be any clearer that I have NO idea what makes a good FF movie smile

Re: Fantastic Four - Why Doesn't It Work?

Setting aside the question of a good FANTASTIC FOUR movie, I think the developmental process shows how to make a bad movie: by taking one kind of story and trying to hammer it into a different shape for which it's totally unsuited. They had a script that was an epic superhero action movie. But then Trank wanted to change it from action-adventure into horror-thriller-character study and FOX wanted a low-key character drama with only action at the end in order for the film to be cheap.

Trank might have been able to make it work with *interpreting* the script differently. But the attempt to twist a big budget action epic into a character study by cutting out the special effects only created a hollow, empty film. If FOX didn't want to make FANTASTIC FOUR as an expensive action spectacular, they should have thrown out the existing script and commissioned a new one specific to the budget they wanted to commit. FOX would likely say they were too far along the production process to start fresh and they would have had to essentially cancel the movie and start a new one.

Hindsight is 20/20, but they were probably better off cancelling this F4 film rather than releasing what they did.

Re: Fantastic Four - Why Doesn't It Work?

Okay, is it weird that I didn't hate the Fantastic Four movie?  It was bad, but I didn't think it was terrible.  It was also pretty short, making it easier to stomach.  I think Trank is right, and it could've been pretty good if they'd just done a few things different.

What's funny is that I watched the movie in two parts because I got distracted and had to stop in the middle.  I stopped exactly at the time jump in the movie.  So I got to watch the first half before they get their powers and then the second half (which was just about 40 minutes).  And, yeah, the stuff with Doom is pretty dumb, but I think it'd be pretty simple to make a pretty good movie out of it.

It was short on action, so I would've included more of the army scenes that they alluded to (and showed clips of).  If they have to team up at the end, maybe individual action sequences to show them using their powers (instead of just testing them - maybe a foreign army tries to kidnap the Four or something).  And since this was "Fantastic Four Begins" - I would've had the government be the bad guys and save Doom for a sequel.  He seemed completely shoehorned.  Plus, I've seen 3 movies, read a few articles on him, and you guys have tried to explain, and I still have no idea what Doom's powers are supposed to be.

To me, movies are all about expectations.  I was expecting the worst superhero movie ever, and it wasn't.  So I sorta liked it.

(I know I just lost all credibility I had left smile )

Re: Fantastic Four - Why Doesn't It Work?

Some versions of Doom had Powers but overall Doom's Intellect and Drive were his real power.

Science, Sorcery, Alchemy etc were all fields of Power and Knowledge he tapped into both seperately and in combination with each other.

He was a more Grounded Genius than Reed Richards but Doom hated Reed and always strived to. Outdo him.

Doom was able too leverage his breakthroughs. To benefit the People of. Latveria but. Gets bored quickly so. Stirs things up. A. Lot..

"It's only a matter of time. Were I in your shoes, I would spend my last earthly hours enjoying the world. Of course, if you wish, you can spend them fighting for a lost cause.... But you know that you've lost." -Kane-

Re: Fantastic Four - Why Doesn't It Work?

The beginning of the movie wasn't too bad. I was wondering why it was as hated as it was. But after the time jump, it was like the ongoing story was dropped and the climax of some other movie was tacked onto the end. It quickly became a confused, sloppy jumble of a movie that had no purpose to it.

Re: Fantastic Four - Why Doesn't It Work?

I barely remember it. I remember that I didn't hate it, that it wasn't a disaster, but that still left it quite a distance from being good.

Re: Fantastic Four - Why Doesn't It Work?

Well, I mean the problem is that there wasn't really any conflict in the movie so they just tacked on Doom in (literally) the last 20 minutes.  The first 20 minutes is just Reed and Ben.  Then they introduce Franklin and Sue.  Then Johnny.  Then they build it, go to the planet, and come back.  There's no villain in the first half of the movie except just "progress" I guess.  The planet is sorta evil and the main guy is sorta bureaucratic, but that's it. 

Then the second half really is a different movie.  Bureaucratic guy becomes "take over the world" evil, Reed runs off, Ben gets mad that he was abandoned, Johnny embraces his powers, and Sue is just helping or whatever.  Then Reed comes, fixes the machine in ten minutes, they get Doom back, he tries to destroy the world, and they team up to beat him.

So there's no villain until Doom shows up the last 10 minutes.  Doom wasn't really a bad guy before he transformed.  He never endangers the other guys (except maybe convincing them to go in the first place).  Bureaucracy guy just wants to move the project along - and even when he's using Ben (and then Johnny) as weapons, both seem pretty okay with it.  Doom is just tacked on so there's someone for them to fight.

If it was me, I'd leave the first part of the movie almost exactly the same.  I'd have Doom refuse to come back but start working on his own gateway with the Latverian government.  Reed and co finish the gateway first, go to the planet, and they get their powers by some accident.  A year passes.  Reed doesn't run off because that plot doesn't go anywhere.  The government uses Ben on some missions, but Franklin's been able to keep Johnny on the sidelines while Reed and Sue work on the gateway.  Meanwhile, Doom finds out that Reed got it to work when he sees what's happened to Ben.  So Latverian soldiers attack the facility, and the Four are able to fight off soldiers using their powers (an action piece where they work individually because it's super powers vs. normal soldiers).  In the chaos, Doom sneaks in and steals a vital piece to the gateway and gets away.  Back in Latveria, he completes his machine and goes along with a couple soldiers to Planet Zero.  Something bad happens, Doom gets left behind, one soldier dies, and the last soldier comes back horribly mutated (I don't know any other FF villains but Doom and Galactus so let's just say it's either one of their villains with a new origin or it's a new villain entirely).  The mutant starts wrecking the lab and Latveria asks for the Four's help.  So they go, struggle at first, and the defeat him as a team.  End credits scene shows Doom on Planet Zero, using his powers to create a gateway on his side.

More action, no cramming Doom into the finale, an extra action piece.  Not changing a ton.  Could've worked.

I do wonder how Trank figured on ending the film.  Because, again, there's no villain in the part of the story he seems to be affiliated with.

Re: Fantastic Four - Why Doesn't It Work?

Josh Trank reviews FANTASTIC FOUR:

Re: Fantastic Four - Why Doesn't It Work?

I would still love to know more about what happened in his opinion, but it's cool that he did that.

Re: Fantastic Four - Why Doesn't It Work?

More from Trank on F4 and how he deliberately prevented a CHRONICLE sequel: … -chronicle

Re: Fantastic Four - Why Doesn't It Work?

Trank feels he made a mistake in his handling of F4: … ent-wrong/

Re: Fantastic Four - Why Doesn't It Work?

ireactions wrote:

Trank feels he made a mistake in his handling of F4: … ent-wrong/

Trank shares some blame, but the movie was based on the unpopular Ultimate Fantastic Four premise. Working in those parameters, it was going to be an uphill battle no matter who directed it.

The only real good things to come out of Ultimate Fantastic Four were the zombie universe (The Frightful Four) and the fall of Reed Richards as he showed Doom that Reed was a better villain than him too.

Re: Fantastic Four - Why Doesn't It Work?

*gapes at Temporal Flux*

ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR was... unpopular... ? Ultimate Reed becoming a villain was... good?

TF is making me wonder if I am completely out of step with superhero comics now which, I admit, I don't read too often. I tend to let things pile up for a few years on Comixology and then catch up. I read everything between AVENGERS VS. X-MEN and HOUSE OF X last month.

ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR was a neat reimagining of the team with Reed as a gifted teenager drafted into a US Army think tank in New York City with Sue Storm as a scientist, Johnny tagging along just for the hell of it and Ben as the only friend Reed had from childhood. Mark Millar and Brian Michael Bendis did (I thought) a great job of updating the 60s team for the 2000s by making everyone (a) teenagers and (b) working for a US Army weapons farm and Reed and Sue accidentally turning themselves and two innocent bystanders into superweapons. Millar's action-oriented set pieces and Bendis' hilarious dialogue were (I thought) a winning combination for the first arc.

Then came Warren Ellis, who brought his brilliant hard science approach into exploring how Mr. Fantastic stretches. How the Invisible Woman manipulates the molecular structure of her body. How the Human Torch can ignite. And how Ben is basically immortal now. Ellis had several great arcs and after a fill-in with the equally clever Mike Carey, we had Mark Millar bring his crazy action lunacy back to the team as he advanced the characters from operating within a secret branch of the army to existing as independent superheroes (and brought in the Marvel Zombies). Then Mike Carey came back again with some exciting extradimensional adventures that brought the crazy Kirby adventure with the youth of the Ultimate FF.

It was very much the energy of SLIDERS with the sci-fi creativity of Douglas Adams and the humour of David Mamet -- but now that I think about it, maybe it wasn't that popular because Marvel ended up blowing it all apart with that weird ULTIMATUM crossover that massacred the X-Men and the Ultimate Avengers and blew up the Fantastic Four's headquarters and had the team break up.

I guess Marvel wouldn't have blown the team apart if the book had been selling well.

Then came that very odd ULTIMATE ENEMY series where Reed killed his parents and sister and attacked the Earth with his new alien allies and became a crazy supervillain, a bizarre turn of character that was completely at odds with the gentle, polite, merciful scientist who tried to help Doom, clearly adored his baby sister, and spared the Marvel Zombies when he could have gassed them to death and called it a day.

It was the equivalent of Quinn Mallory becoming an emotionless sociopath in Season 4 of SLIDERS and I waited for the comics to explain what the hell was going on. Instead, Ultimate Reed became even more of a psychopathic, mass murdering sociopath who renamed himself The Maker.

It was bizarre and everything there remains as incomprehensible as Quinn being unconcerned with Wade in "Mother and Child" and as baffling as Quinn being indifferent to rescuing his mother and adopted home Earth in "Revelations" and as traumatic as the Professor's horrific murder in "The Exodus" and typing all this is actually making me upset and distraught and pained and agonized and confused and Temporal Flux is right and ULTIMATE FF was a terrible experience I can't go through this again good bye.