Sometimes, hype can falsely inflate expectations for a superhero film, leaving the directors with little to do but weather the storm, and trust that their work will be appreciated with time. But with Fantastic Four, the rumors of a problematic production, reshoots needed to fix the "mess" - directed by a different director, no less (which they apparently weren't) - all spun wildly out of control, leaving fans with one demand: to actually see the film.
The relative silence in advertising by Fox had many fearing the worst, and the early reviews of the attempted reboot confirmed them entirely. As the press surrounding Fantastic Four and director Josh Trank has continued to grow more and more negative, the man leading the charge has made his own thoughts known - claiming that he's not to blame. Not entirely, at least.
Trank took to Twitter to make his feelings known, helping shed some light on the months of radio silence from Fox by implying that the time was spent on, essentially, making a different movie than the one he envisioned (and apparently, was on course to release). The Tweet has since been deleted, but not before it was caught by fans hungry for any explanation:
Obviously, many will see Trank's statement as an attempt to save face; at present, Fantastic Four stands as one of the worst-reviewed comic book films of all time. Critics have tended to highlight the film's muddled, conflicting, or simply divided tone and attitude - lending credence to those who suspected Trank's efforts to tell an unconventional superhero origin story had smashed head-on into Fox's plan for rebooting a franchise (with talks of an X-Men crossover confirmed).
We will never know who is telling the full truth, but there's no way to argue that the first trailer for Fantastic Four managed to turn the conversation from the team's last big screen outing. Promising a story that was more science-fiction and horror than superpower-filled action, it seemed the mind behind Chronicle and a band of misfit mutants was a perfect fit. According to Trank, it was, believing he had a film that critics would have applauded.
Until more details are made available, Trank's name can be tentatively added to the list of talented directors who wind up butting heads with a studio over a superhero adventure. And as the genre continues to swell, a director's vision for a story, and the studio's vision of crossover franchise opportunities seem to be no closer together.
What do you make of Trank's now redacted comments? Do you take him at his word, and think his early cut of the film was at least one he wanted his name attached to? Or do you see this is just the first of many attempts to pin the film's poor reviews on one factor or another?
Fantastic Four opens in theaters on August 7, 2015, followed by Deadpool on February 12, 2016; X-Men: Apocalypse on May 27, 2016; Gambit on October 7, 2016; Wolverine 3 on March 3, 2017; Fantastic Four 2 on June 9, 2017; and some as-yet unspecified X-Men film on July 13, 2018. The New Mutants is also in development.