In case you missed it, the new The Fantastic Four film is pretty bad. It's a narrative mess, thematically jumbled, tonally confused, the pace is way off, the script is wooden and that's really just the tip of the iceberg. But unlike a lot of the internet seems to be campaigning for, I don't want the rights for these characters to go back to Marvel so that they can be amalgamated into the Disney-Avengers universe. Similar to what happened to Spider-Man.
Don't get me wrong, I'm sure that Disney would do great things with the characters and do right by the source material. But here's the thing, while I love what Marvel do with their universe, I also love having different companies doing different things with superhero franchises. For example, regardless of how good Deadpool turns out, can you imagine the Marvel Cinematic universe (or MCU) making an R-rated bloodfest/comedy movie like that? Or could you see something like the Dark Knight coming from Marvel? I really liked the last two X-Men films, partly because how streamlined they are as individual films in one franchise that flows linearly. I don't want to lose all that. FOX seems set on keeping this current reboot going regardless, and who really wants to see another reboot anyway? So bearing that in mind, here's how Fox can still salvage the Fantastic Four franchise...
A (very) soft reboot
Sever all ties to the story of the first film. Don't acknowledge its existence. But don't make it a complete reboot, because the casting for the Fantastic Four themselves was really spot on, even though the actors struggled with working through re-shoots and a dispute between the studio and director. This would mean that all of the establishing of the original film is out of the way and we don't need to sit through another origin story for the characters. But the marketing can emphasize that this isn't simply a sequel to the terrible film that, if the figures are anything to go by, most people didn't see anyway. The new film has to be a separate entity in order to financially succeed as well, as the first film bombed thanks to atrocious reviews and its own director criticizing it.
An established director
Josh Trank is clearly a talented director, Chronicle proved that, and we may never know how much of the blame falls on his shoulders for the failings of Fant4stic. But regardless of that, he and the studio aren't going to make up and trust each other enough to make a good film. Fox need to hire an established and well respected director, as well as a great writer, to come in and make something new out of the franchise. Preferably someone whose name can be slapped all over the posters and trailer in order to get audiences in. But also someone with some sort of vision for where to take these characters regardless of fan opinion. One thing that Fox MUST not do is think that people hated and panned the film because it didn't appeal to the fans, or because they made the Human Torch black. That path leads to things like the Amazing Spider-Man 2, a dark and deadly path that leads to Marvel swooping in and taking half your money for the franchise.
Go to space
If I might make a suggestion for what route to go with the Fantastic Four, take them into space. I liked the trailers for Fantastic 4 because the had an aura of exploration and discovery. So channel that. Open with the Four taking off into space to explore the universe after getting potential contact from aliens. Let them go to new worlds with drastically different eco-systems, meet different alien races, learn more about the galaxy and fight off some sort of invasion. A film somewhere between Star Trek, Interstellar and the Incredibles is exactly what Fox needs in order to save this franchise and bring its awesomeness to us all. I'm not saying that this is the only way to make them interesting, there are many, but this is definitely one of them, and the best I can come up with. It gives the characters a chance to be a family on their spaceship, as well as do the kind of sci-fi science that makes their comics so loved.
A new villain
The Fantastic Four have 2 really good villains: Doctor Doom and Galactus, neither of whom have been treated anywhere near half-decent in their transitions to the big screen. So don't force them through onto the screen. Either come up with a new antagonist or take a lesser known character and turn them into someone interesting. In fact, you don't even need a proper villain. I know it's a touch cliché, but how about they get in the middle of a war between alien races and have to defuse it, even though they each have different opinions on who is in the right. Sure, it's been done before, but it would still be a great way to cause a rift in the "family" that they would have to overcome and use to bond together. Because aren't we all sick of teams coming together to defeat an enemy bigger than each of them.
Thanks for reading guys. If you're interested, then please feel free to check out my YouTube channel: Eneition. But what do you think of the Fantastic Four franchise? Let us know below.