There was a belief that nothing could stop any movie based on a Marvel comic from earning both money and adoration. One movie proved the myth wrong, and that movie was The Fantastic Four (2015) or as people (and myself) love to call it: Fant4stic — a movie so bad that it made the forgettable Fantastic Four movies from the early 2000's and Roger Corman's B-grade adaptation look like Oscar gold.
Despite being mercilessly ripped apart, tanking badly at the box office and winning three of five Razzie nominations, Fox is confident that a sequel can happen. Though Fant4stic 2 has been removed from Fox's movie schedule, writer and producer Sam Kinberg expressed his desire to continue the story and Miles Teller — who played Mr. Fantastic — wants to reprise his role.
In an age of endless sequels, reboots and shared universes, the possibilities of a delayed Fant4stic 2 are still very real, and to that end, here are some suggestions for the sequel to not just improve on its predecessor's doings, but to also turn the potential franchise around.
Keep The Cast
The only reason why Fant4stic isn't lumped beside the likes of Tommy Wiseau's ego project The Room (2003) is because its cast made an otherwise abysmal superhero movie be mildly tolerable — all of which is a testament to their acting capabilities.
There's no question that Fant4stic's chosen actors are some of the best young names in the business, as seen in their roles after their disastrous superhero collaboration: Sue Storm a.k.a. Invisible Woman (Kate Mara) appeared in The Martian (2015) alongside Matt Damon while Johnny Storm a.k.a. the Human Torch (Michael B. Jordan) scored critical acclaim as Adonis Johnson in Creed (2015). It's just too bad that their incredible skills were squandered by a shoddy script and a director who — in a misguided attempt at gritty realism — told them to act as flat as possible.
Should plans for Fant4stic 2 push through, Fox should retain the original cast or at the least meet the caliber of the Fant4stic lineup because as seen in this movie and Suicide Squad, a capable group of actors can often times salvage a problematic story and conversely, elevate a good script into something more than what was intended.
Be A Superhero Movie
One of Fant4stic's glaring flaws was that for a superhero movie, it was ashamed of having anything to do with a Marvel comic book and apologized endlessly for it. This was evident in Fant4stic's desperation to justify everything — from superpowers to music — through science and real-world theories. If you wanted to see the cinematic equivalent of "killjoy," look no further than this pretentious mess of a movie.
Sue Storm: "Music is just a series of altered patterns. The musician creates the pattern and makes us anticipate a resolution... then holds back. Makes you wait for it. There's patterns in everything and everyone."
In contrast, Captain America: The Winter Soldier reinterpreted some of its source material's sillier elements — like a walking Nazi computer named Arnim Zola — to fit the movie's modern-day setting but kept the superhero feel intact, resulting in a grounded yet fantastical conspiracy thriller starring dudes in spandex.
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Fant4stic 2 does not need to show its main characters saving kittens every five minutes, but at the very least, it should depict its characters as the heroes of a comic book story. In The Winter Soldier, Capt. America (Chris Evans) and his allies race against time to stop HYDRA from imposing their new world order while the titular heroes of Fant4stic spend majority of their movie moping about their superpowered predicament before bitch-slapping Dr. Doom (Toby Kebbell) into a pillar of light to avenge the death of Norman Wilson from The Wire
The Fantastic Four are superheroes, not the Mythbusters of the superhero genre.
Earn The Darker Tone
Fant4stic's selling point was that it was a mature counterpart to Marvel's straightforward heroics, but instead of being the X-Men movies' spiritual successor, it become an edgy punchline no one took seriously. The problem was not Fant4stic's lack of quips or action, but an overall misunderstanding of how to properly incorporate dark themes into a superhero movie.
The reason why grit and realism worked perfectly for The Dark Knight was because it used its dark tones to tell a more serious story about the ramifications of costumed vigilantism, not use them as a soapbox to stand on and preach about the stupidity of superheroes or whatever else the director may have a grudge against.
Reports claim that Fox is keeping Josh Trank's bleak vision intact and contrary to what some may say, this is actually a good idea. There is nothing wrong with a more mature version of comics' first superhero family and, again, it would be a nice break from Marvel's lighthearted adventures, but sacrificing everything that made the Fantastic Four an inspiration to many people in favor of shaming a currently over-saturated genre doesn't make Fant4stic smart: It makes it look petty.
Fant4stic 2 has the potential to be different and it does not need to ape Marvel's distinct style, but it should stop taking itself too seriously. Fant4stic's biggest fault was its desire to deconstruct a franchise that wasn't even able to take off, effectively crippling itself before the end credits rolled. If the sequel becomes a reality, Fant4stic 2 should stick to showing the ups and downs of living in a family with superpowers while under government surveillance, not dedicate its run time to showing how depressing it is to have the ability to turn invisible or watching a pants-less Thing cry.