The first movie I ever remembered ranting about was the remake of the Wild Wild West. You know the one. Starred Will Smith and Kevin Klien. It was Smith’s 12 highest grossing movie; taking in 187 million plus. It opened number one up against South Park: Bigger and Better and Summer of Sam. Big competition. Anyway, let’s get back to my first movie rant. Why, you ask? Brace yourselves; the angry ‘you’re racist’ posts are coming.
YES, I had a problem with them race switching the lead. You see as a child I had watched the show with a sense of awe and wonder. I loved the I SPY intrigue in the old west. And Robert Conrad was perfect for the job! Dashing. Bond Like. He was the hero I was used to. Will Smith. Not so much. They took something from my childhood and made a joke of it. I mean, the whole thing was a comedy. I just didn't get it. Of course, I didn't see it opening day. Heck, I waited probably a few years before I watched it. I watched it with my kids who LOVED it! It was THEIR childhood. I learned to like it OK. Not my favorite movie, but I enjoyed it. Once I got past my childhood. It still stung a little but I let it stand on its own and left it alone.
Then I suffered through the Brady Bunch, the Beverly Hillbillies, and the Dukes of Hazard; all which took a piece of our childhood and mocked it. But there was a segment of society who celebrated it. The shows I grew up with had left me behind.
OK, let’s move the clock up to the modern age. They announce they are going with the Ultimate version of Nick Fury who happens to be black. He also happens to be Samuel L. Jackson. As much as I hated the Ultimate universe from the very beginning (another rant for another day) and was still reeling from the kick in the childhood, I loved Jackson and conceded.
Today, we see it happening in a strange new way. Recently, it can be argued that the STAR TREK franchise has left its base. I hear fans rant of their disappointment in the new reboot. Now, to be totally transparent, I haven’t even seen the second movie (INTO DARKNESS), but I didn't see much wrong with the first one. I mean, I watched the original television show on tv before the next generation was even imagined. I admire Roddenberry as a writer; a creator, but I don’t consider myself a Trekkie. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. (That was awkward).
BUT I AM an old school Marvelite from the old days. I remember when comics were 15 cents, fer gawd sake! So, I have massive problems with comic book franchises that totally takes mine and so many others childhood and seemingly poops on it. They take it and decided that age old stories mean nothing. Continuity is just a word. What matters is THEIR new cool, hip vision and, of course, the box office take. Because, if you don’t pull in the numbers, you don’t make the cash and there’s no sequel. And I have also heard that the comic readership is suffering for the Fantastic Four. So a change must be made, I guess.
So why am I still ranting? Why am I still steaming a bit over Michael B. Jordan playing Johnny Storm? Because, once again, I’m taking it in the childhood. And what Fox is doing there is much like living through a divorce (I assume) where you don’t get the kids. That thing you grew up with is no longer what you grew up with. And there is this whole new group of people who will be watching the movie and thinking it’s so cool and never know what Stan Lee intended. And those doing the creative end of the franchise will prove, once again, they care nothing and know nothing of that direction. (Can’t wait to hear what Stan has to say about this btw…not that Fox cares)
So, the Fantastic Four will move on; growing beyond me. Becoming something I have no idea what. But it won’t be the Fantastic Four that Stan created. I don’t know. Maybe I’m still a little sore from that shot to my memories. Maybe, like The Wild Wild West, I’ll come back to it in five to ten years and watch it with my grandkids and think it’s ok. And MAYBE the franchise will survive beyond this and pick up a new, hip (sorry to keep using that word…it keeps coming to mind for some reason) audience that will actually pick up the comic and experience what I did. OR maybe the executives at Fox will just pocket their cash and wonder what went wrong and blame it on the story. Here’s to hoping that someday the original story becomes fresh and new to people and we get to see the first family of comics in all of their glory. And the, maybe, we can get a decent Doctor Doom and Galactus. One can only hope.