Fox has had the rights to The Fantastic Four for some time now. Their first film debuted in 2005, if memory serves correctly. Though, neither the first nor second attempt really turned out well. While the movies certainly brought in some money for the studio, there wasn't exactly a very warm reception among F4 fans.
From my personal experience, people went to see Fantastic Four and Rise of the Silver Surfer in hopes that they would be proven wrong, not because they actually had high hopes for the movies' success, in the first place.
We seem to be in a similar place with Fox's current attempt at a franchise reboot. Plenty of folks are excited about the characters themselves--to see Mr. Fantastic's genius in action, to see the Invisible Woman's masterful defense and combat, for the Human Torch to flame on, and for the Thing to get another chance at clobberin' time. But how many folks have high hopes for their movie portrayals?
Truth be told, the 2005 Fantastic Four movie was not awful. I didn't understand the casting choice of Jessica Alba 'passing' in the role of Sue Storm, but that didn't ruin the movie in any form (casting was otherwise perfect). And sure, the tone was a bit too humorous, and the final fight with Dr. Doom was anticlimactic, but all that doesn't stop me from still watching it on TV, from time to time.
Still, there was a certain hollowness to it, if you ask me. I remember a few of the 'main' moments--like when Johhny is talking to the reporters, and gives each of his friends their iconic super-names in a very unflattering light--but overall, it sort of seemed like a slice-of-life movie. Not horrible, just some of the script (and some of the acting) was lack, and Dr. Doom's antagonism seemed downplayed.
And, admittedly, it seems to me that a lot of the same problems from the first movie applied to Rise of the Silver Surfer...plus a few more. It was sort of shallow and empty. The moments that should have been emotional were decent, but the action was all over the place, and didn't emotionally invest me. Not one moment really got me cheering, other than the appearance of the Silver Surfer.
What's more, Doom got placed even further on the backburner. Personally, I would have had Part 2 be about Doom's return, back from exile in his country with Doombots and magic and whatnot. Then after his second defeat, Reed and Sue announce they're expecting a baby boy. Then Part 3 could flash-forward a few years with the Surfer, and a young Franklin Richards helping take on Galactus.
Instead, though, we get the Surfer coming to Earth, and Doom, the Four and the government all going after him--Then wacky fun time! Powers get screwed up!--then Galactus, and boom, another anticlimactic defeat. And as a bonus, a quick reminder that no comic-book character's death means anything, ever.
Now, we're being told that the third time's a charm. Though, a closer look makes many comic fans see this pic as less and less potentially charming. And in my opinion, that's for very good reason. Numerous very good reasons, in fact.
1. The cast, to look at them, does not make me think Fantastic Four.
-Michael B. Jordan is playing Johnny Storm (the Human Torch) (not the best pick, as far as racially-authentic casting goes, but his attitude is pretty spot-on, so I can shrug it off); not outraged, but not loving it
-Miles Teller as Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic), which makes me laugh, and also cry. He does not give off an air of being a serious leader, an alpha nerd, a workaholic, a scientist in any sense of the word
-And Jamie Bell really looks way different from what you'd expect of a human form for Ben Grimm (the Thing), who tends to be a hearty, heavy guy.
-I cannot offer an opinion about Kate Mara's acting skills, or even really fault them too bad about her look for the part of Susan Storm (Invisible Woman), except for her appearance in relation to Johnny Storm. Again, the race issue, but she's still a step up from Jessica Alba trying/failing to look White. No harm, no foul.
2. This seems like Josh Trank's attempt at making Chronicle 2, using Marvel characters. And not in a good way. First of all, shaky-cam, found-footage-type movies are not exactly super-popular and well-received in general audience movie-watching circles, anyhow. On top of that, remember that the Fantastic Four has never been the same tone as Chronicle, AT ALL. They're just not compatible.
3. By Kate Mara's own admission:
“I’ve never been a fan of comics, I’ve never actually read one. I was going to for this movie but the director said it wasn’t necessary. Well, actually he told us that we shouldn’t do it because the plot won’t be based on any history of anything already published. So I chose to follow his instructions. The one fact is I am a fan of comic book movies, so it’s very exciting to be part of a movie like this.”
Um, what? If I were in charge of a movie project and a director said that he would not base his work on its source material, that would be my cue to boot that guy from the project. Ignorance of, or disregard for, source material (while keeping the name) is not just disrespectful, but outright stupid in terms of keeping fans happy.
Obviously, Trank has no recollection of M. Night Shyamalan's whole debacle with the making of The Last Airbender.
Though, despite the fact that Trank seems to have no problem with making the mythos of the Fantastic Four into his own little plaything, Fox is likely having some second thoughts. Why do I say this? I say this because, first of all, the movie was shot basically in secret. Nearly no news emerged about it at all, other than the news of the casting, starting production, leaked Doom pic, end production.
Second of all, this latest news of the Fantastic Four's air date being pushed back from June 19th 2015, to two months later, August 7th 2015. Why is that? It can't be because the movie itself is unfinished. Kate Mara instagrammed the entire world a great big Fantastic Four selfie, giving us news of the contrary. The movie's done. Post-production, I believe the word is? So...what gives?
My guess: Fox is reacting to the public. They didn't want to kick the cast out, because that would be too obvious. So, instead, they went through with the movie, until the final product. Though, they're still nervous about the public's reaction, so they're putting it off until initial fan-shock hopefully dies down. If that doesn't happen, they'll put it off longer and longer until finally, it's shut down.
Of course, this may all be a coincidence. I don't want to jump the gun like, soon, FOX will just call off the movie, send everybody home, and hand the legal rights back over to Marvel Studios. That's a wishful-thinking hope of mine. But does the movie seem to be in peril, with the announcement of this setback? It looks that way to me. What do YOU think? Let us know in the poll and comments below!