As it currently stands, the reviews for the 20th Century Fox reboot of the Fantastic Four are less than impressive. This won’t come as a surprise to the number of comic book fans that were actively rooting for the movie to fail. Very few comic book movies have received the kind of ill treatment from fans that this movie has endured. It also doesn’t help that upon reading the reviews Fantastic Four director Josh Trank made comments about the film being train wrecked by Fox from the start. There are several reasons for the backlash from fans but at the end of the day the main problem is that comic book fans really don’t trust Fox with these characters especially after their last failed attempts. In fact, some reviewers are saying that this reboot makes the original films look like masterpieces, which is hardly a compliment to the originals. Fans that have been rooting for this film to fail shouldn’t start celebrating just yet because as I will show, failing comic book movies are bad for everyone, the fans and the industry alike. Let me explain.
Right now is a great time to be alive as a comic book fan and we can thank Christopher Nolan for a lot of that. Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy was a cinematic masterpiece that allowed adults and casual fans alike to finally take superhero movies seriously. It can be argued that if not for the mega success of the Dark Knight trilogy (which instilled a sense of confidence in audiences for superhero movies) it would be very unlikely that the Avengers would have enjoyed the amount of success it did. Christopher Nolan’s Batman films had a tremendous impact on the superhero movie industry that opened all kinds of doors for studios to explore. With the success of The Avengers franchise comes Dawn of Justice and the announcement of both Suicide Squad and Justice League movies that include a shared universe similar to the MCU, all movies that would have been considered risky endeavors for studios in the past. This comes full circle, Batman making way for the Avengers which in turn makes way for Justice League and so on. A DC success is good for Marvel and a Marvel success is good for DC since both companies share a single industry that is currently booming.
Following the same logic; when a superhero movie fails it’s bad for everyone, for fans and the movie industry alike. No doubt that in the wake of Fantastic Four’s failure to deliver Fox will be less enthusiastic to green light future superhero movies that aren’t already successfully established (X-Men). Fans that are hoping for a split-rights scenario between Fox and Marvel similar to the one between Sony and Marvel for Spider-Man can almost certainly put those hopes to rest now as no studio is going to want to touch these characters again for a while. What’s the difference between Marvel showing interest in Spider-Man even after Sony’s failures and Fantastic Four? Well, Spider-Man is insanely popular and sadly Fantastic Four just isn’t. Spider-Man is a character so popular that he’s worth the risk and so popular that it can barely even be considered a risk at all. With most of the more popular comic book characters already successfully established within their respective cinematic universes Fantastic Four will be a cautionary tale for other studios that would otherwise be optimistic about putting real money into non-cinematically established characters.
So, rooting for a superhero movie to fail doesn’t do anybody any good and only sets the industry back when and if the movie does in fact fail as appears to be the case with Fantastic Four. It’s one thing to have a negative opinion about a movie but it’s completely other thing to actively root against it because it the end it doesn’t help.
- Written By Jonathan Osterman