It feels like in recent years there are only winners when it comes to the unfaltering juggernaut of superhero movies. Even films like Batman v Superman, which received poor critical reviews, still amass enviable amounts of dosh when it comes to the box office. Our favorite comic book icons strutting their stuff on the big screen is almost guaranteed to get bums on seats.
But even in a smouldering hot genre that looks set to burn brightly for years to come, occasionally there are losers. Losers like last year's Fantastic Four, a rebooted and restructured imagining of Marvel's esteemed quartet which disintegrated into nothingness like wet tissue paper in an ocean storm.
As well as receiving poor critical reviews, the film lacked what Batman v Superman, Man of Steel, or Suicide Squad managed to achieve — it didn't appeal to the fans. Despite being one of the most well known superhero team-ups in the comic book world, and despite casting some of Hollywood's best and brightest in the lead roles, it earned just $168 million from a $120 million budget. Ouch.
Could Fantastic Four Be Coming Back?
The problems with the film's production are well known, with the phrase Fantastic Four now lingering like a bad smell rather than a breath of fresh air. There were rumors of Josh Trank's erratic behavior, and his difficulty while producing the film. The cast, too had problems, with Miles Teller almost coming to blows with Trank over infamous "creative differences."
It's surprising, then, to hear that Teller seems to have positive things to say about the movie and would... Wait for it... Genuinely be interested in working on a sequel. Clearly, Teller feels there is more to tell with the Fantastic Four crew, and he'd even be interested in working on a sequel. In an interview with Joblo, when asked if he'd return he said:
"Yeah, for sure. I loved the cast, I loved the characters. I think it's such an interesting dynamic. I love how much they really need to rely on each other. This Avengers thing, they've kind of created their own Fantastic Four in a way, Marvel's first family. Their powers can't just exist on their own, you need Thor to do this, the Hulk to do his thing. So yeah, absolutely, I would do another one."
Perhaps Teller feels Trank was a part of the problem, or maybe he has a burning desire to seek redemption (although it must be said, the cast themselves were victims of a poor script and poor direction) but is a Fantastic Four sequel really something that should happen? Or does it point to something much bigger?
An Oversaturation Of Superhero Movies
Since 2010, there have been close to 40 superhero movies from the big studios. The MCU alone has contributed to 11 of those (from Iron Man 2 to Captain America: Civil War), and while most have been critical and commercial successes, we are living in the age of the superhero conveyor-belt.
In 2016 alone, the following have all been released: Deadpool, Batman v Superman, Captain America: Civil War, X-Men: Apocalypse, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows and Suicide Squad, with Doctor Strange still to come in November. While the source of creativity still flows freely, we could reach the point where the genre loses its edge.
To remedy that, we're starting to see a gradual shift in the DNA of comic book adaptations. Guardians of the Galaxy illustrated that picking more obscure material could become a huge success, Deadpool reinvigorated the concept of an R-rated and controversial antihero appealing to the masses. In the future, Wonder Woman can work wonders for female representation and Black Panther can do the same for black culture.
There are no signs of the genre slowing down, with the queue of superheroes waiting to be converted into live-action busier than rush hour at Grand Central Station. All things considered, is there room for another Fantastic Four movie? And for that matter, one that will come with the loaded expectation of blasting away the cobwebs of disappointment that still cling to Trank's effort?
Not The Right Time, Or The Right Place
While there's a part of many Marvel fans who will always be excited to see the team on the big screen, the instinctive reaction to the above question is no. Teller has confirmed his desire to return, but at least one of the cast Michael B. Jordan wouldn't return, having landed a role as villain in Black Panther. Jamie Bell and Kate Mara are also finding success elsewhere.
Then there are the rumors that the franchise could return to Marvel Studios from Fox. Again, the idea is nice in theory, but with the MCU already bursting at the seams with interesting characters new and old, it looks unfeasible for the Fantastic Four to fit into the shared universe without those seams bursting completely. Plus, Simon Kinberg — who wrote the reboot — has previously claimed that the franchise is still a "big part" of Fox's plans going forward.
Ultimately, the Fantastic Four are a beloved collection of superheroes, adored by many fans. But considering the failings of the last movie, and the modern superhero climate, unfortunately we may have to wait a while until a sequel (or even another reboot) looks like a viable option.
Do you think the timing will ever be right for a Fantastic Four sequel?