In today's very competitive market for good, superhero movies, it's no surprise that there are going to be a few released every year or two that fall beneath the high expectations of fans who love the source product, film buffs who are looking for great story-telling, or the casual movie-goer who's just looking for a good film for the weekend.
In the past five years, we've seen some very disappointing movies that are considered flops in almost every since of the word. Let's take a look at those films for a moment.
The 5 Year Hall of Shame
Note that I know there are plenty more superhero/comic book adaptations than the ones listed below, but I didn't want the entire list to become convoluted, so I merely chose those that exist within the worlds of Marvel and DC.
Jonah Hex (2010)
- Rotten Tomatoes Score: 12% (critics), 20% (audiences)
- Budget: $47,000,000
- Box Office: $10,900,000
- Cinema Score: C+
Green Lantern (2011)
- Rotten Tomatoes Score: 26% (critics), 46% (audiences)
- Budget: $200,000,000
- Box Officer: $219,900,000
- Cinema Score: B
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2012)
- Rotten Tomatoes Score: 17% (critics), 32% (audiences)
- Budget: $57,000,000
- Box Officer: $132,500,000
- Cinema Score: C+
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
- Rotten Tomatoes Score: 53% (critics), 66% (audiences)
- Budget: $255,000,000
- Box Officer: $709,000,000
- Cinema Score: B+
Now, as you can see, all of these movies are considered to be complete failures. Even movies like The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which had a $454,000,000 was still so disappointing that Sony and Marvel Studios decided to get together and collaborate for the character's greater success (we can expect to see Spidey again in next year's Captain America: Civil War movie).
Although Spider-Man isn't completely home with Marvel Studios (seeing as how Sony is holding on to him as well), there have been other characters from Marvel comics that have had their rights to the studios returned. These characters include Blade, Ghost Rider, Punisher, and Daredevil.
More recently though, many fans have been crying out for Marvel's superhero family, the Fantastic Four, to have their movie rights reverted back to Marvel Studios. This is due to the critical and financial failure of FOX's Fantastic Four movie that was released just this past weekend. Just take a look at its stats so far (keep in my mind that these are not the final numbers).
Fantastic Four (2015)
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (still in fluctuation): 8% (critics), 25% (audiences)
- Budget: $120,000,000
- Box Officer (still in theaters): $60,300,000
- Cinema Score: C-
This movie has been released officially for three days now and that is nowhere near the amount of financial or critical response a superhero movie needs on its opening weekend. This kind of response is the kind of response that should be driving a studio to wash their hands of these characters yet Sony is still remaining "committed" to these characters and their franchise. But the humiliation isn't over yet. The movie will undoubtedly make more money, but the embarrassment will continue. There's not going to be a surge of over 50% of movie goers who all of a sudden like the the film and give it rave reviews. If it's bad, it's bad (mind you, I still haven't seen it yet, but I never had hopes for it to begin with). But I think it's safe to assume the movie is a complete failure if it was awarded the worst Cinema Score...I'd anticipate a Razzie award somewhere along the line for this movie though.
But I'm still holding out for Fantastic Four to return home to Marvel Studios. FOX can say what they like about all of this, but keep in mind that Sony was spouting similar nonsense after its embarrassing release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and now look where we're at with that character.
We need FOX to give up the rights to Fantastic Four because we know that, in the hands of Marvel Studios, the characters and their franchise have a surviving chance. No one is going to want to go see a sequel to these characters if the first movie wasn't able to get up off the ground. If a movie has a lower RT score than even Green Lantern or Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, that should tell you something.
But how do I know that Marvel Studios will do the franchise right if they got the characters back, well, to sum it up: Daredevil.
Daredevil was, for a long time, in the hands of FOX and the studios even had a film plan lined up for the character but things ended up falling through and the character and his likeness was under the MCU umbrella. Now look at what they've done for the character! Daredevil was an amazing hit on Netflix and it showed that Marvel knows how to take care of their characters and do them the justice that they need.
Now, I'm going to give off my ideas of how to re-remake the Fantastic Four in a Marvel Cinematic Universe setting. I'm NOT going to be creating fan-fiction of storylines and how I think the movie should go, I'll just merely be listing technical things like who should be involved where. I may throw in a fan-cast as well, but only for our four, main heroes.
Let's get started.
The reason that this is critical is because not everyone loves the Fantastic Four the way they do Spider-Man. No matter how Spider-Man has done in reviews or box-office, the name "Spider-Man" always sells. It's safe to say that the use of the title "Fantastic Four" might not be the best idea going forward for future installments considering the bad taste that the movies have left in the mouths of audiences and critics alike. There needs to be separation to help distinguish this franchise from the two previous failed attempts.
So, what could we title the movie? Well, there's been some variations of the name in the past; two of them come to mind. The first being simply "FF", but that could be a marketing nightmare with people not understanding the true way to say it.
Could you imagine theater attendees walking up the register requesting tickets for "eff-eff" or "double-eff". Somewhere along the line someone would catch on, but I think it's safe to assume that "FF" would not be appealing in any way, especially to children.
No, for me, the best option for re-titling the franchise in the MCU would be "Future Foundation". This has a cool sound to it, doesn't sound as cheesy or campy as "Fantastic Four" and is even symbolic in some way. It would be the foundation for the future of the franchise.
As far as directors go, you need to get someone in there who has the talent to pull this off. I know Marvel Studios likes to aim at fresh, new talent or talent that still hasn't necessarily gone mainstream. Typically I'm for that, but in this case, not so much. I think that FOX already gave director Josh Trank a chance to break into the bigger picture of Hollywood and...well...we saw how that worked out...
No, Brad Bird is the right man for the job. You might ask me why that is whether it was because of how well he did with 2011's Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, and by all means that movie's success and style could provide some interesting stuff in the Future Foundation (yes, I will be calling it that from here on out) movie. But the movie under his belt that believe gives him the right credibility to direct the Future Foundation movie is his critically-acclaimed (yet surprisingly underrated film), The Incredibles.
If there was ever a good example of a Fantastic Four movie, it was The Incredibles, despite the fact that it wasn't actually a Fantastic Four movie. You had a team consisting of Mr. Incredible (the name being a play on Mr. Fantastic from Fantastic Four) who has incredible strength (like the Thing), you had a Elastigirl who had the ability to stretch in extreme ways (like Mr. Fantastic), Violet, the girl who was able to become invisible and project force fields (just like Invisible Woman), and of course, the hot-headed younger brother who was in love with being a superhero (like Human Torch except with a different power set). And even though they team didn't consist of a direct mirror of the Fantastic Four, considering that there's one power out of place, they did manage to throw in the flames with the Par's baby Jack Jack.
This movie was fantastic...wait...wrong pun. This movie was incredible and shows that under the right direction and scripting, a Fantastic Four movie could work.
You might say that the benefit this movie had over the previous Fantastic Four movies is that it was animated and that might be part of the success, but another part is the fact that Disney knows how to market and knows how to sell it's product. Watching the trailer for the recent Fantastic Four movie, it was hard to get a read on what genre the film was going for and from what I've read in reviews, that remains a constant throughout the entirety of the film.
No, Brad Bird knows how to do a Fantastic Four movie and in a perfect world where Disney/Marvel Studios owned the rights to the franchise and I was in charge of hand-picking the director, I'd pick Brad Bird in a heart-beat.
New Doors Open
The Fantastic Four are a well-connected group of superheroes, especially since they've all had a run-ins and cross overs with the likes of She-Hulk and Spider-Man who were both once apart of the Fantastic Four, the FF, and/or the Future Foundation.
Silver Surfer would be a great character to have back in the MCU, but his character plays a small part in the bigger picture of things. Having the Fantastic Four back in the MCU would mean free reign to have all the aliens back such as the Skrull. Imagine the run in that the Guardians of the Galaxy could have with the Fantastic Four's characters and respective alien species! Also, another big perk, would be having Galactus!
Having Galactus in the MCU means that after Infinity Wars is over, there would still be a route to go for the MCU to show that even a character like Thanos can be topped and that there is still greater threats inhabiting the universe.
But you wouldn't have to jump to him right away either. He could be given the Thanos treatment where we see glimpses of him in movies way before his two-part MCU movie which would bring the entire MCU together again. But there's other villains like Doctor Doom, who deserve to have the proper treatment on film since he hasn't been represented well yet.
If Marvel gave him the Loki treatment and allowed him to menace the FF for several movies, that would be perfect. They could water him down either, he's a powerful foe and should be shown as such.
Now, as far as Namor goes, I know the rights to that character is slowly collecting dust somewhere in a studio (still not understanding clearly where they are at). But with having a Future Foundation movie, you could imagine how hard Disney and Marvel Studios would gun for the character to become untangled in whatever rights-web it seems to be caught up in. This would allow for all of Marvel's Illuminati to inhabit the MCU (minus Professor X/Beast).
Think about it, you could have:
- Reed Richards aka Mr. Fantastic (if he existed in the MCU)
- Namor (if Marvel could clear up where he belongs)
- Black Bolt (who we assume will be in the Inhumans movie)
- T'Challa aka Black Panther (who's confirmed for a movie in 2017)
- Stephen Strange aka Doctor Strange (who's confirmed for a movie in 2016)
- Tony Stark aka Iron Man (who will have been featured in 6 MCU movies by this time next year)
But the overall point is that the Fantastic Four, in Marvel Studios' hands, could have so much potential.
As far as fan-casting the Future Foundation film, I'll just name them off real quick as I don't mean to go into too much detail for each choice. I chose actors, who I think have the appeal of bringing in an audience.
For the role of Dr. Reed Richards aka Mr. Fantastic, I chose Eddie Redmayne.
This Oscar-winning actor has definitely grabbed the attention of audiences and his look and build would be a good fit for a MCU Mr. Fantastic. Plus! he's already played a genius before and that's what won him the Oscar. Seems like a no-brainer to me (get it? no? okay.)
For the role of Sue Storm aka Invisible Woman, the wife of Dr. Richards (should they choose to go that route) or maybe starting off as the mere love-interest, I've chosen Julianne Hough.
She too has the look for the character and I could see her and Redmayne on-screen together. That's important when casting and/or fan-casting, you have to picture these actors together, does it fit, does it not, you have to figure it out. To me, I think Julianne Hough would be a great fit for the Future Foundation movie.
Next up is Sue Storm's hot-headed little brother, Johnny Storm aka the Human Torch; for this role, I've chosen Sam Claflin.
Sam, to me, seems like the kind of guy who could easily be likable in real life while still giving off the impression that he may assume he's the hottest guy in the room. I think we see a good impression of this self-obsession when we first meet his character in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
Last up is Ben Grimm aka the Thing who I've decided to (fan) cast Aaron Paul.
Ben Grimm is a tragic character and Aaron Paul is a tragic actor and I think that that makes a recipe for success. I feel like Aaron Paul could be tough when needed for the role of Grimm and yet provide the heart of the story as well.
So what did you think of my ideas for the future of the Fantastic Four's movie franchise? Do you hope that Marvel Studios swoops in to save the team? Who would you have direct the new film? Where could they fit in the MCU? Who would you cast for the part? SO MANY QUESTIONS! Feel free to share all your thoughts and feelings in the comments section below and don't forget to vote in the poll and follow me for more great superhero articles!
What do you think should happen to the Fantastic Four's future in film?
(Fans have started a petition for FOX to sell the rights back to Marvel Studios. I don't think those types of things always work, but if you want to sign, click HERE.)