I don’t like superhero movies. I just don’t. I am capable of liking them, and I love Christopher Nolan’s Batmen, and The Incredibles, but in general superhero movies don’t do it for me. Why? Simply that the movies tend toward the same churn of machine-made, soulless competent mediocrity. I’ve essentially made myself a rule not to bother with them anymore, no matter how “fun” people claim they are. There is one superhero movie on the horizon, though, that I’m fascinated by, even interested in: The Fantastic Four.
Now, that may not be the final title. It probably won’t be, considering there was a movie released not ten years ago called The Fantastic Four. That, in part, may be why nobody seems to give a damn about this new reboot of the franchise. We just went through a cycle of these movies and they didn’t work the first time, so there’s no reason to be interested now.
Do I need to list the reasons you should get your head out of your butt and pay attention to this movie coming out next year? I’ll take your silence as a “yes.” This is the Internet after all.
Remember this guy? He directed the found footage hit Chronicle, which brought freshness to a worn out genre, and unsuspectingly delivered one of the few good superhero stories in recent years. The guy is a talent, and his flare for originality in approaching tired genres should be a boon to a studio-craft superhero franchise. He’s also been hired by LucasFilm to direct a Star Wars spin-off, which signals that his work on this movie has caught the eye of Kathleen Kennedy and Disney.
The film’s few major headlines came several months ago when the casting for the film was announced. Miles Teller is playing Mr. Fantastic, which sounds like a pretty swell choice. The Invisible Woman is Kate Mara, another excellent choice for a superhero movie. Jamie Bell was cast as The Thing, and it seems like he’s doing the role in mo-cap, which will probably look a lot cooler than Michael Chiklis in a bodysuit and makeup. The biggest surprise in the casting was the choice for The Human Torch: Michael B. Jordan. What I love about this casting is it finally brings some diversity to one of these superhero movies, but that the choice was clearly made because Trank likes working with Jordan. It’s the right actor for the job, a way for the director to bring the best possible movie to the screen, and a boon to diversity on screen. It’s a win-win-win.
When Kate Mara was asked in an interview with Esquire Latin America, what her opinion of comic books is, she responded, “I’ve never been a fan of comics, I’ve never actually read one. I was going to for this movie but the director said it wasn’t necessary. Well, actually he told us that we shouldn’t do it because the plot won’t be based on any history of anything already published. So I chose to follow his instructions.”
I’m sure a lot of comic book fans would bristle at that quote, but guess what, they’re making a movie, not a comic book. The stories that work on the page don’t necessarily work on the screen. Furthermore, the idea that movies should simply tread the same territory covered in a different medium is antithetical to bringing something original to audiences. Personally, I love that Trank doesn’t care at all about hewing to the prescribed text. It gives them the freedom to do what feels right, rather than what they think audiences want from them.
It probably sounds weird to say that the lack of excitement is a good reason to get excited, but it makes sense in my head. Normally, with a film like this, we’d have seen countless reports and leaked videos from the set. There would be all kinds of attempts to leak the plot and every other detail about it. Thankfully, nobody seems to care about The Fantastic Four. Last week the film finished shooting, and most people who read that were surprised to learn it had been shooting to begin with. In the age of online movie reporting, it’s refreshing to think that this film has the chance to come out and take audiences by surprise.
Corey Atad is a Staff Writer for Pajiba. He lives in Toronto.