Welcome to the "New" Fantastic Four. Strangely, there aren't a lot of things we know about it, but at the same time, there are.
We know it will rely more heavily on the Ultimate continuity from the comics than the first Fantastic Four movies that it's rebooting. We know it has a pretty diverse cast that is shifting the makeup of the characters themselves.
Just the other day, we discovered that Susan Storm (played by Kate Mara) is adopted, explaining how she can still be related to her brother, Johnny Storm, who is being played by African American actor, Michael B. Jordan.
As a result, fans of [The Fantastic Four](movie:34667) comics (and even movies) are either outraged or just flat out disinterested in this film altogether. Honestly, I've only come across a small handful of people who are genuinely looking forward to the movie.
And there are a variety of reasons why that is, but we won't get into that.
Instead, let's hear what Miles Teller, who is playing Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic, has to say about the movie, and why he thinks we're actually going to like it.
Teller, as you may recall, has been in a lot of different films recently. You may have seen him in 21 & Over, That Awkward Moment, or even The Spectacular Now. Basically, he's been in a mixture of good and bad films (including the upcoming Whiplash, which is getting universal acclaim at the moment).
And personally, I think the jury's still out on whether or not Teller will make a lasting impression after the dust settles from all of these disparate projects. So you can probably understand why he's determined to talk up his superhero debut in The Fantastic Four. Not to be overly dramatic, but this could absolutely be his make-it-or-break-it film. Especially since he pretty much has the lead role.
So what does Teller think about this new take on one of Marvel's worst-selling but still highly-recognizable comic-book franchises? We probably won't get a trailer or any real footage until January or February, so all we have to go by are the expectations set by the actors (and other staff) involved.
Teller talked to Vulture recently about the new movie and was pretty specific about what kind of movie it's going to be. Not necessarily plot-wise, but in tone. Here's what he had to say about how the new movie will differ from the previous Fantastic Four offerings:
“It’s different in every way. All those actors were a lot older, their characters were in different places.
The tone of this film is completely different: We don’t have Michael Chiklis in a big Styrofoam thing, and I think that [a more grounded approach] is what people are into — X-Men: First Class is doing that.
You’re dealing with these characters but you’re making them real people in how they exist day-to-day. People wanted it to be taken more seriously than the kind of Dick Tracy, kitschy, overly comic-book world.”
I'm conflicted on how to feel about a "more grounded approach." I get that the Styrofoam gimmick for Thing was a bit jarring, but the inner Fantastic Four fan in me wonders what a "realistic" take on the superhero family would even look like.
And since when is X-Men: First Class "realistic?" If anything, that movie excelled because it embraced being more of a colorful comic-book movie than its more serious predecessors.
I'm even more confused by the rest of his comments:
“At the end of the day, it depends on the product. Guardians of the Galaxy was a really fresh take on it, I think people responded to that. In terms of where we are in the schedule, we’re playing the same weekend they were playing."
Maybe I'm being over-critical, but how can you go from saying "we need this to be more grounded so people will take it seriously" to "we need to make this like [Guardians of the Galaxy](movie:424073)."
Sure, he didn't say that outright. He may just mean that Guardians of the Galaxy excelled at being "fresh," and F4 could be "fresh" by being less, well, fantastical.
But I'm sensing a big disconnect between how Teller views the Fantastic Four and how many Fantastic Four fans see Fantastic Four. More specifically, I wonder if people even want a gritty or more serious take on the franchise.
Certainly, this can be done. I've always admired the more sinister aspects of Reed Richards in particular. His best story lines were always when his inhumane side was kept in check by his "family" of fellow supers. I'm hopeful that this new project will at least introduce some interesting character development in that same vein.
But the cynic in me has to acknowledge that this movie is partly being done out of necessity, not demand for a cool Fantastic Four film. Fox has to churn this out if they hope to keep the rights to these characters, and as we all know, superhero films are among the only genres that are really generating profits for Hollywood right now thanks to, ironically, Marvel's [The Avengers](movie:9040) franchise.
So I'm not going to complain about Johnny Storm and Susan Storm not being blood-rated. I'm not complain about the casting in general. And I'm not going to complain about the suspicious handling of their origins as a team and how that will affect the tone of this entire franchise of movies.
Instead, I'm just going to hold my breath until a trailer comes out. Fox has earned that much since they managed to rekindle their struggling X-Men franchise and the promise of a sincere Deadpool movie. We'll see if they can continue to at least try to make something the real fans will actually want to watch.