While I didn’t expect the 2015 version of Fantastic Four to be anything because, hell, I’ve seen the previous attempts at cinematic excellence (that turned into cinematic excrement), I wanted this film to win. Not for me, but for Michael B. Jordan. See, Jordan’s been one actor who's really deserves that limelight, ever since he blessed The Wire as young Wallace. He showed some range as Jamal in Hardball, but fam, Wallace ran the gamut. Jordan’s a monster, and has approached the time in his career where he needs a fire vehicle to propel him to the next, obvious level.
Dude needs to be franchised tf out—and Fantastic Four completely failed him.
Forget the fact that, when Michael B. Jordan flames on as Johnny Storm, it ends up looking like a messy digital cartoon. And forget the fact that the pacing of the movie (and its inevitable battle) is on some “too little, too late” shit. How the hell are you going to try and (re)tell the proverbial Fantastic Four story and make so much of the film not be about the squad being together? Ben Grimm, a.k.a. The Thing, is pretty much nonexistent for a good part of the flick, and while Jordan, Kate Mara, and Miles Teller do their best with the underdeveloped character traits they were assigned, it’s hard to turn shit into Shinola.
Maybe the biggest problem points to the overall larger issue with non-Marvel Cinematic Universe Marvel films. We’re in a weird time right now where Marvel is slaying it when it comes to their various properties, and while Fox has built, destroyed, then rebuilt the mutants with their X-Men series, it’s hard to figure out how people are going to approach these rogue properties. It would appear that Fox had something here—the right casting choices, an intriguing story that could’ve murdered if given a proper 2015 sheen—but they fumbled the ball on a few levels.
This really should not have been that difficult; a squad with wildly different personalities takes a trip to space and ultimately gets changed forever, having to cope with their new abilities while understanding that they can be used for good. Instead, they wanted to make Fantastic Four something it isn’t. This isn’t X-Men, where the mutant persecution angle is built into the struggle. And while I won’t be a major stickler who yells, “THESE COMICS FILMS NEED TO BE JUST LIKE THE COMIC BOOKS,” it’s weird to see the squad get their abilities and then get hit with the dreaded “one year later,” a fast-forwarding to Johnny, Sue, and Ben being weapons for the government while Reed’s chilling out in Central America. Fox could have made a film that mixed fire special effects and the humor of the Fantastic Four comics, but it ended up completely lobotomizing the series that they said they were honoring.
This is not what we needed for Michael B. Jordan’s Johnny Storm.
No wonder the film tanked at the box office. Who’s trying to watch a film that had the life sucked out of it for who knows what reason? No wonder Kate Mara was tepid on actually watching the film. No wonder the sequel has practically disappeared from Fox’s release schedule. No wonder they had to get Deadpool to try and entice more moviegoers.
You're probably asking, "Well then what the fuck is going to happen to Fantastic Four?" If they were smart, they'd go forward with those rumors of selling the rights back to Marvel. That's the only possible way they can properly bring it back. Bring Doctor Doom into the Marvel Cinematic Universe for a truly cataclysmic battle. See, Thanos is fire, and we're moving onward to the two-part Avengers: Infinity War films, but they are due out in May of 2018 and 2019. The question is, who the hell will be the supreme MCU villain after this? Doom is a major player in the comics, and could be a vital bad guy for the world of Marvel after 2019. Or Fox will just take their time trying to get the ship back on track...or (hopefully not) rebooting the franchise once again.
Either way, it’s truly a sad state of affairs for the Fantastic Four franchise...but at least Michael B. has Creed!