It’s no surprise that Fox dropped the ball with the criminally bad 2015 Fantastic Four movie as it felt like a ploy to keep the FF out of Marvel’s hands. But now that Fox itself is in Marvel’s hands here are some suggestions on how they could do the characters justice…
Ditch The Origin
Like most current comic movies we saw the origin of the team – and frankly, as an audience, there is a bit of origin fatigue going on. It worked in Iron Man, Batman and even Captain America but for Big Hero 6 and The Amazing Spider-Man not so much. You spend so long showing how they got started that there is no time left for the actual doing. With the first act taken up in origins you really only have the final act to show the team in action. Don’t be afraid to jump in. Use the second Hulk movie as a way of doing things: have it in the credits – even in cartoon form – or go the way of Spider-Man: Homecoming and just assume the audience is familiar with their back story and get on with things.
Make It Big
The first issue of the FF is iconic – with a huge green Kirby-esque monster ripping up Times Square. Why not start with that? Have the team in a proverbial smackdown even before the credits of the film in the same style as James Bond. That way your attention is grabbed, the setting and establishing tone, feel and overall look of the film is done within the first five minutes – then it’s onto something else.
While the first two movies attempted to mimic the FF costumes and this new reboot got a little closer to an acceptable Thing on-screen, only Roger Corman’s lamented low budget film actually have the team in anything resembling the FF costumes of the comics.
While I’m not suggesting we see the team in ill-fitting light blue spandex with a large white circle in the middle there are loads of looks and interpretations of the characters and their costumes that could easily be adapted to the film. From jumpsuits to jackets from light blue to black to white on black (see the FF comic) there are so many variants that could be adapted. For me having a John Byrne inspired Thing on screen (round head, massive brow and hexagonal vivid orange scales) is a starting point.
Use The Kirby Krackle
One of comicdom’s greatest artist and writers Jack Kirby is seen by comic readers as one of the most creative, recognisable and iconic creators of our time, influencing not only the medium of comics but produced work that has inspired music, art and modern literature. His style of work and iconic other-worldly concepts (not only in the FF but both across Marvel and DC) are crammed with ‘Kirby Machines’ – giant futuristic technology filled and detailed with chrome pipes, odd angles and cracking with unknown energy in the form of ‘Kirby Krackle’, a method that the artist used to portray energy.
Watch ‘The Incredibles’
Want to see a superhero family unit done right? Then watch The Incredibles. Brad Bird’s homage to superheroes has the pace, style, character and emotive drive that all attempts to bring the Fantastic 4 to the screen have failed to capture. They are foremost a family unit with Sue and Reed, of course, the “parents” with Johnny and Ben the squabbling teen sons. They love each other, would do anything for each other and through the bickering and life-threatening danger would do anything to make sure their loved ones are fine. As Brad Bird described his movie “The Incredibles is a movie about things exploding and lots of hugging”. Come on Disney – You’ve done it once, you can do it again!
The real stand out member of the Four is The Thing. For anyone who has felt left out, different or out of place than the former resident of Yancy St, Ben Grimm is the poster boy for an alienated generation. While the initial stories of The Thing had him as a brash, angry character to match his exterior, over time the character mellowed and fans began to love him. Here is a character whose superpowers came with a terrible side effect that he wasn’t happy about it. But due to love and his family, he began to deal with the problem. This character evolution, from horror monster (like the Hulk) to one resigned to his fate but who is not happy his lot has made the Thing one of the most truly rounded and most beloved characters in comics. While the first two movies attempted something like this the writers for the 2015 reboot did not get this character trait right at all. There is no way the Thing would agree to be a weapon for anybody.
Integrate Into The MCU By Stealth
The trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home got tongues wagging on a number of topics including Tony Stark’s uncertain fate, the nature of The Elementals, what Mysterio’s game is, and more – but one discussion that seemed to gain more ground than the others was “Why is Avengers/Stark Tower being rebuilt?” Of course, we saw the sale of the building to a mysterious buyer go through in Spider-Man: Homecoming. But what if Disney are bringing their newly acquired property to the screen earlier than anyone expected? Could the said skyscraper be getting a makeover as The Baxter Building?
Bringing the Four into the MCU by way of small background additions like this, and maybe a post-credits stinger or two, would ease them in gently, rather than the more forceful origin story method so when they finally show up in full force, we’re already kind of acclimatised to their existence in the MCU.
What Do You Think?
So those are some ideas on how to make a successful, enjoyable Fantastic Four movie. Leave us a comment below with your own ideas as to how Marvel could pull this seemingly impossible feat off!