Tag Archives: Fantastic Four

Why I won’t be seeing ‘Fantastic Four’

fantastic four thing no penis

Up until a few days ago, I was considering going to see “Fantastic Four.”

Of course, my interest in the movie was pretty modest compared to my borderline mania to see each movie released by Marvel Studios – the official Marvel Cinematic Universe, of course.

But I was considering going to see the new Josh Trank “FF” anyway because Fantastic Four – along with the Avengers – was my favorite comic book growing up.

I might have gone to see it despite my misgivings about Trank’s efforts to turn Marvel’s most swashbuckling, space-spanning, goofy, good-natured comic into a “grimdark” spectacle.

fantastic four 2015

But reading reviews of the movie turned me off, convincing me that the movie was not only a joyless experience but a throughly bungled one, too.

Trank himself trashed Fox and his own movie on Twitter the other day, saying that he had a good movie in the works before Fox took over and ruined it.

I don’t know who’s responsible for what is, by almost every account, a mess with awful characters, subpar story and effects and bizarre choices. I suspect maybe we’ll get a post-mortem sometime.

fantastic four 16

(And it’s funny that everyone thought the troubled production of “Ant-Man” was going to turn that movie into a disaster, huh?)

I just know that everything I’ve heard – from the botched storyline, the short shrift for Susan Storm – who doesn’t even go on the adventure, apparently, but gets her powers from an accident afterward – the penis-less Thing and the thoroughly screwed-up version of Doctor Doom – this is not a movie for FF fans from way back.

We’ve seen four movie versions now, not counting the best of them all, the unofficial version of a superhero family, Brad Bird’s “The Incredibles,” and I imagine Fox will still be cranking them out to keep its rights to the story.

And that’s a damn shame. Just think what Marvel Studios could do with FF.

fantastic four daredevil

Final thought:

The days of standalone superhero movies that are not part of a bigger universe are over. Sure, I thrilled at the end of “Iron Man” when Nick Fury showed up, talking about “the Avengers initiative.” It meant that if the movie succeeded, critically and financially, Marvel would cautiously build out its universe. The new “FF” movie couldn’t connect to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, of course, because it was made by Fox. But the claustrophobic nature of these narrow, self-contained worlds are done, done, done for me.

I want to see universe building, and, bizarrely enough, the most far-reaching, science-mad, adventuring characters of all, the Fantastic Four, won’t have a chance to build their universe until the rights are back in the hands of Marvel.

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It’s sobberin’ time

fantastic four thing naked

And also, apparently, nakeder. And less penis-ier.

You know, Ben Grimm is a tragic character and all, but … damn, man.

In the “Fantastic Four” comics and movies, there’s usually been an attempt to give the characters a consistent look in their costumes. This was done even for Ben Grimm, who turned into the rocky Thing. Benjamin Grimm usually had trunks on – blue to match the costumes of the other members of the FF – and or sometimes had on a whole jumpsuit-type-thing.

In the new movie, which comes out in August, the Thing apparently doesn’t wear any kind of costume.

And he apparently doesn’t … have … a penis.

I was already pretty uncertain about what I thought about the movie.

Now this.

Other people have noted this online, but does the Thing in the movie not eat or drink? Does he have any means at all of eliminating waste?

Is Ben Grimm’s longtime girlfriend, Alicia Masters, in the movie?

Are they going to address all this in the storyline?

Okay, now I’m just depressed.

New ‘Fantastic Four’ trailer is out

thingfantasticfourtrailer

“Fantastic Four,” along with “The Avengers,” was my favorite comic book when I was a kid.

So I’d like to see Josh Trank’s movie, out this August, get it right.

I’m still just not sure.

The new trailer looks like they’re closer than I would have thought previously to getting Ben Grimm right.

And yes, apparently, they’re following the “Ultimates” version of the story, which means all the characters are younger. Edgier. In some cases, I think that works.

doomfantasticfourtrailer

But will they get Doom right? I’m not reassured by this look.

doctordoom

What’s so hard about a genius/madman in a suit of armor?

Here’s the new trailer.

Vision and The Thing

visionultronConsidering that both “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and “Fantastic Four” come out this summer, we’ve seen surprisingly little of two of the most important characters.

That changed last week when images of Vision from “Ultron” and Ben Grimm – The Thing – from “FF” were released.

That’s Paul Bettany as Vision above and, although the picture was almost certainly retouched for the Vision poster, he looks good.

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And there’s The Thing, which looks better in this picture than an earlier one but still isn’t quite right.

What’s missing?

thethingbrow

His brow, of course. That simple feature, as created by Jack Kirby, made The Thing’s face so much more expressive, so much more human.

Fantastic Four trailer … Hmmm

fantastic four trailer

So the teaser trailer for Josh Trank’s “Fantastic Four” movie came out a few days ago and I’m not yet sure how I’m going to feel about the movie.

“Fantastic Four” was one of my favorite comics – along with “Avengers” – when I was a kid and I’ve so wanted a good movie version. And there’s been a few good points about each of the live-action “FFs” so far, believe it or not. The Doctor Doom character looked right in the low-budget, never-released Roger Cornman-produced movie from two decades ago. And the Human Torch (in the person of future Captain America Chris Evans) was perfect in the two 20th Century Fox movies from a few years ago.

But I long for a faithful (even if just in spirit) movie version of the comics, and I’m worried that Josh Trank’s version, due out Aug. 7 won’t be it.

The trailer looks like the movie put its money on the screen, but it’s so dark. I want the light-hearted but simultaneously urgent “FF,” with a real sense of adventure. The FF are scientists and adventurers, after all. They explore space and other dimensions and confront bizarre threats and do it with a wisecracking and sometimes caustic but heartfelt family dynamic.

Trank’s movie, based on the trailer, looks to follow the younger FF from the “Ultimates” line and, at least, has the look of the Thing right. Ben Grimm I’m not so sure.

We’ll see when the movie opens. In the meantime, here’s the teaser trailer.

Hank Pym? Sure. Reed Richards? Nuh-huh.

Fantastic Four 16 Ant-Man

Let’s play a game. We’ll call it “Superhero Casting: Yes or No.”

It’s inspired by the many, many casting rumors circulating online. Denzel Washington as Green Lantern  John Stewart. “Girls'” Adam Driver as Nightwing. You get the picture.

So Marvel recently announced that Michael Douglas would be playing the original Ant-Man, Henry Pym, in Edgar Wright’s upcoming “Ant-Man” movie. Paul Rudd had already been announced, and it turns out he’s playing Scott Lang, the second-generation Ant-Man.

michael douglas ant man henry pym

I’m kind of intrigued by the idea of a senior citizen superhero. If the speculation is correct and Pym – an important figure in the Marvel Comics universe and one of the founders of the Avengers – was a below-the-radar adventurer or SHIELD agent sometime between the time of Captain America and … reborn Captain America, that’s kind of interesting.

So I’m okay with a pivotal comic book figure being the subject of offbeat casting.

But then there’s the reboot of “Fantastic Four,” in which Fox seems to be going for a 20-something cast.

A  few young actors, including Kit Harrington, are said to be in the running for Reed Richards, one of the brainiest men in the Marvel Universe and the father figure of the FF.

kit harrington reed richards

Sorry. This isn’t Reed Richards.

reed richards

This is Reed Richards.

Great comic book covers: ‘Fantastic Four’ Annual 3

fantastic four annual 3 wedding

This is one of those covers that falls into the category of “I’m not sure it’s masterful art, but it sure is a landmark drawing.”

In the third “Fantastic Four” annual, Marvel took a step that comics publishers rarely take these days: They married two characters off.

Reed Richard and Sue Storm – Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman – had been half the Fantastic Four for a couple of years and the comic book was already close to living up to the “world’s greatest comics magazine” slogan that Stan Lee had come up with. Along with Ben Grimm – the Thing – and Sue’s younger brother Johnny Storm – the Human Torch – the FF had already had some amazing adventures and fought foes like Dr. Doom and the Mole Man. (Okay, so Dr. Doom was a lot better than the Mole Man.)

But Reed and Sue hadn’t yet faced their greatest challenge: Not only getting married, but pulling off a wedding in the midst of a supervillain attack.

What better place for Lee and artist/co-writer Jack Kirby to stage the wedding than in the latest annual edition of “FF,” which – as you can tell from looking at the cover – offered 72 big pages for only a quarter. The page count and price were double their usual, but you had a feeling it would be worth it.

Annuals really felt like a big deal to me, the typical Marvel comics reader. I probably caught up with this issue sometime after the October 1965 release date, but it still felt like a milestone to me. So many pages of story, so much eye-popping art.

And why not? The cover alone – drawn by Chic Stone in the Kirby style – offered up an impossibly huge and dramatic selection of characters.

The practice of guest-starring superheroes was what made Marvel comics special and what’s made the last five years of Marvel big-screen movies so fun, and FF Annual 3 might have been the craziest crossovers yet.

Look at that cover: A bunch of Avengers. Spider-Man. Nick Fury. X-Men. And a whole bunch of bad guys.

Nuff said.