Over the course of the past months, we've had time to see FOX's 2015 rendering of the Fantastic Four (or as the viewers have coined, from FOX's 'quirky' use of word-play, Fant4stic). The reviewers talked smack about it, and the fans chalked it up to critic cynicism, but then they saw it for themselves, and wholeheartedly agreed.
That having been said, I find it odd that such an article as this is even necessary, to oppose the notion of this cinematic failure's potential return to terrorize the poor, unsuspecting movie-going populace. Like, for real, what did we ever do to you, FOX? Okay, all jokes aside, though, FOX's work on the Fantastic Four has been awful. It started off as merely mediocre in 2005, but has since descended into 'terrible'.
I won't even bother you too much with details of why the previous movies failed: Fantastic Four (2005), Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007) and Fant4stic (2015) have each been railed on, in their own way, since their respective releases. This article is not that. Rather than concern readers too much with the cause, I think it best to focus now on the effects of continuing such egregious cinematic flops.
You see, the '05 & '07 pair of Fantastic Four movies were actually, by many estimations, not completely awful fare. Sure, they focused way too much on the campy personal interactions of the team, rather than interspersing it reasonably with scientific exploration and/or superhero action. In all, though, they seemed, at least, to attempt capturing the essence of who the Fantastic Four were as a team.
And then Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer took that to the next step, adding the Silver Surfer, to help that world branch out into considering cosmic implications. On paper, it sounds amazing. The Silver Surfer, in the right hands, is a can't-lose character, and even better if he heralds the coming of the Devourer, the fearsome world-eater Galactus. And then...FOX made him a big cloud of cosmic dust.
Fan reaction, from that decision alone, was powerful enough for FOX to halt everything (despite the fact that there was supposedly a third movie, that would have introduced the likes of Reed Richards and Sue Storm's reality-bending child, Franklin Richards). Here is where I draw my issue. FOX looked at the reaction to that movie, and took that into consideration. They stopped while they were ahead.
Fast-forward 8 years, and FOX is at it again. They know better than to continue the story from the previous two-part arc (especially since Johnny has long abandoned his pyromania for more patriotic pursuits...). This time, they figure they could give us a look at a younger, more hip team; that lame campy feel could be pushed aside for a more 'grounded' and 'edgy' feel. Hey, it worked for Zack Snyder and Man of Steel, right? People universally accepted that movie's portrayal of Superman, right??
To the surprise of absolutely nobody at all, Fant4stic turned out to be pretty disastrous fare, both critically and financially. The very-prematurely-announced Fant4stic sequel was silently removed from FOX's slate of movies. Even the cast and crew rushed to distance themselves from it, from Kate Mara making smarmy jokes, to Michael B. Jordan joining the cast of a movie whose production schedule would directly clash with the making of a Fant4stic sequel (and with a rival studio, no less).
Still, less than a year later, we have Simon Kinberg at it again, declaring his interest in continuing the story, despite its varied and assorted plethora of shortcomings:
We didn't make a good movie. The world voted, and I think they probably voted correctly. And you can't make a good movie every time out - not everybody does. We actually have a pretty good batting average, all things considered. But I think we made many mistakes when we made that movie - mistakes that we learned from and we wouldn't repeat. We want to make another Fantastic Four movie. We love that cast.
I'm sorry, what?
Yeah, no, I have a problem with literally every part of this statement.
"We didn't make a good movie. The world voted, and I think they probably voted correctly." The world voted the same for FOX's various portrayals of the X-Men (especially X3 and Wolverine: Origins), the previous incarnations of the Fantastic Four, Daredevil and Elektra. What makes the Fantastic Four any different, such that it deserves yet a third attempt at re-imagining?
"And you can't make a good movie every time out - not everybody does." Every time out? FOX has yet to make a truly good Fantastic Four movie even once at bat.
"We actually have a pretty good batting average, all things considered." See all the previous listed movies, in response to the first part of the quote. And shall we get on the reception of the X-Men movies, which is spotty, at best? Just...just, no.
"But I think we made many mistakes when we made that movie - mistakes that we learned from and we wouldn't repeat." But would we be treating the new movie as the main movie, while acting like the events of the previous movie never happened at all? Cause otherwise, the mistake-ridden movie is still canon.
We want to make another Fantastic Four movie. We love that cast. You've made precisely no argument as to why it should happen, other than the fact that it was really embarrassing and disappointing for your studio to be associated with such a horrid, miserable cinematic fail-fest as the widely-dreaded and loathed Fant4stic.
I won't even pretend as though I am entirely impartial in my judgment of FOX's treatment of Marvel's comic properties. In an ideal world, Marvel would have movie rights to all of its characters, to use as they see fit. Though, at this point, the problem has gotten wider than merely the rivalry and competition between these two companies. It's become a matter of taking pride in the work you do.
The makers of Fant4stic probably slapped it together purely for the sake of keeping rights from reverting back to Marvel Studios; and while I hate that, I do understand the choice, from a fiscal standpoint. The characters, in the right hands, are huge money-makers, appealing to a large swath of sci-fi and superhero fans. What's the point of taking that consideration, though, if you don't even act like you believe it?
The actors were told not to read the comics. Come on, guy. Seriously. That sort of mistake, combined with the various dialogue, pacing and VFX blips is plainly disrespectful. Aside from even concerning yourself with whether or not it's good as a Marvel movie, or superhero movie, is it even really good generally as a movie? The answer to that, according to "The world" as Kinberg put it, is no.
And aside from any care about movie rights, or hating FOX or loving Marvel Studios, it is important that viewers not support plainly bad movies. Not liking the viewers' reception to your awful movie is not call for the studio to throw yet more dollars at you, and risk squandering yet more resources. If a movie is bad, and the studios saw fit to remove any future plans from a concrete schedule, it is cue for the story to be discontinued, and for the property to fall into the hands of new cast and crew.
Many mediocre/bad movies get sequel orders, but that trend should be condemned, not set up as the new norm. At this point, I'm less concerned about the property changing studios, than simply getting those poor, unfortunate Fantastic Four away from their current writer and director. FOX gave Fant4stic the green light, and the result was a haphazard disasterpiece that even they can't stand.
As my sports-fan friends would say, "Just take the L". Or am I being too harsh? Would you like to see a continuation of FOX's latest rendering of the Fantastic Four?
Please be sure to let us know, in the poll & comments below!