‘Fantastic Four,’ ‘X-Men’ movies getting back on track?

We’re accustomed by now to how Marvel’s in-house movie process works – and how well it works. With “The Avengers” done and Marvel’s big-screen “phase two” on the calendar, leading up to an “Avengers” sequel in 2015, the comic characters controled by Marvel seem on track.

This week, news broke of moves that could help ensure some continuity for other Marvel characters that don’t fall under Marvel’s control.

No surprise here, really, but “Amazing Spider-Man” director Marc Webb and star Andrew Garfield will return for a sequel and Emma Stone is likely to return as Gwen Stacy.

There were a number of things to like about Webb’s first shot with the character. While the Lizard wasn’t a compelling antagonist, Garfield and Stone were well-cast and had great chemistry. The tone of the movie was right, although the story failed in its (I think) misguided efforts to build some mystery into Peter Parker’s past.

But the movie was pretty entertaining and a sequel – without the burden of having to explain the origin story yet again – could be fun.

Maybe more importantly, 20th Century Fox announced this week that they’ve signed longtime comic writer Mark Millar to consult on future film adaptations of Marvel comics like “Fantastic Four” and “X-Men.”

Millar’s Ultimate X-Men comic forged a new direction for the longtime super team and his Ultimates take on the Avengers influenced the movie version.

Millar has plenty of experience writing comics, but more importantly he might be a creative decision-maker not unlike Joss Whedon has become for Marvel’s in-house movies.

Marvel movies producer Kevin Feige provided the structure and strategy that led to Whedon’s “The Avengers.” Whedon might also help shape the future of Marvel movies. It’s the kind of long-term cohesive thinking that Warner Bros. wishes it had with its DC adaptations.

It’s too much to hope for, but Millar’s role in both these properties might also lead to some cross-over on film.


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