20th Century Fox’s upcoming reboot of Fantastic Four is hardly the year’s most anticipated superhero movie, but the overall consensus surrounding Josh Trank’s film has seemed to have shifted from downright dread to cautious optimism. That’s the power an intriguing trailer can have, as the movie’s first preview paints the new take on Marvel’s first family as a compelling sci-fi drama – one that explores the potential of human discovery.
The studio has been slow to unveil any new promotional materials (since it put out that trailer a couple of months ago). However, now that the film’s August release date is fast approaching, Fox is beginning to crank up the marketing machine. Earlier today, we got to see some new still images – including the first great look at Jamie Bell’s the Thing. The marketing push continues with another fresh image of Ben Grimm’s alter ego, along with more details from Tank on how Fantastic Four resembles a horror film.
First up is the new picture of the Thing, which comes to us courtesy of EW. In a slight contrast from the one we saw previously, this one showcases Grimm in an action pose. It looks like the hero is in the middle of clobberin’ time, but the identity of his victim is unknown for now:
Shortly after the trailer came out, it was stated that Trank and his team had opted to not release anything for a while because they wanted to ensure the special effects shots were complete and up to their standards. That’s probably why a true Thing reveal was put off until now, since the character is heavily reliant on CGI to come to life. With the amount of scrutiny facing Fantastic Four, it’s no wonder they wanted to make sure Grimm’s super form was just right before it entered the court of public opinion. And, for our part, the character looks solid based on what we’ve seen.
One of the biggest takeaways from the teaser trailer was how the tone of the reboot was the polar opposite of the campy adaptations that graced screens in the mid-2000s. Trank is obviously striving for a grounded, more serious portrayal with his take on the property. While cast members have come out and said that there will be humor sprinkled throughout the proceedings, it’s not going to be all fun and games for Reed Richards and company. Speaking with EW, Trank discussed the horror film aspect Fantastic Four possesses:
“I just kinda jumped to ‘body horror’ in my head. ‘Chronicle’ is about the evolution and strengthening of unique powers. This movie is really viewing them as a curse.”
Becoming a superhero is something many of us dream of, but one has to admit: if any of us regular Joes suddenly burst into flame or turned into a rock monster, it would be a little petrifying – at least to begin with. Trank mentioning that the powers represent a curse harkens back to Bruce Banner’s character arc in The Avengers, where the mild-mannered scientist had a similar viewpoint on “the other guy.” Based on the director’s statement, much of Fantastic Four‘s dramatic tension will stem from the four protagonists learning to embrace their gifts for the good they can achieve.
At first blush, that may sound like your standard origin story fare; more often than not, though, the discovery of superpowers is coupled with joy and enthusiasm. Even the brooding Man of Steel cracked a smile when he learned he could fly. If this angle is handled properly, not only can it be something relatively fresh for fans of the comic book movie genre, Fantastic Four can become a special film that connects with its viewers in more ways than one.
Fantastic Four will be in theaters August 7, 2015.