Twentieth Century Fox seems to be on a roll these days. With X-Men: Apocalypse mostly conquering last weekend’s box office, Deadpool dramatically exceeding expectations, and an exciting list of X-features on the horizon, the studio’s mutant business is clearly booming. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about their other high-profile Marvel Comics property, as Josh Trank’s maligned Fantastic Four reboot seemed to leave Fox’s hope for a new franchise stranded in the Negative Zone.
With the drama of its production more captivating than the film itself, Fantastic Four’s profoundly bad reviews may prove to be the most memorable aspect of its legacy. As writer/producer Simon Kinberg makes his promotional rounds in support of Apocalypse, he’s taken the opportunity to open up about what went wrong with the Doomed production, and shed some light on the possibilities for the franchise’s future.
The prolific writer stopped by Josh Horowitz’s Happy Sad Confused podcast and offered his thoughts on the film’s failure, reflecting on the creative choices that seemed to push the film in the wrong direction from the very beginning:
“I don’t think that there is, in any movie that doesn’t work, a single decision that is the reason that that movie doesn’t work. I think that there were many decisions we made along the way that led to a movie that people didn’t like and to a movie that I would do differently next time. I think the biggest takeaway for me [is that] the tone of the movie, while really interesting and ambitious, ran counter to the DNA of the source material. I think the source material of Fantastic Four is bright, optimistic, poppy in tone. There’s a sort of plucky spirit to those characters, and we made a darker, sort of body-horror kind of version of Fantastic Four, which again as I say it now sounds really interesting and cerebrally ambitious, but isn’t necessarily Fantastic Four.”
Kinberg’s identification of the film’s needlessly dark and serious tone as the epicenter for its numerous flaws is an insightful observation, and speaks to the fundamental disconnect between studios and audiences. Many people attributed the massive success of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy to the director’s somber, realistic vision of the iconic character, and assumed the same approach would work for every comic book adaptation. But as Kinberg rightly points out, such a bleak approach runs contrary to a collection of royal blue superheroes with absurd powers and cornball catchphrases. And while the film’s reshoots seemed to be an effort to inject some levity into Trank’s brooding story, the result was a conspicuously disjointed third act that stood out as one of the film’s biggest mistakes.
Nevertheless, according to Kinberg, the studio seems prepared to soldier on in some way, shape, or form:
“It’s a big part of the plan going forward. Like I say, the biggest lesson learned is that Fantastic Four is a great comic book that has its own tone and voice, and we need to let that lead us… I would love to continue making movies with that cast.”
Admittedly, the film’s remarkable and talented cast was one of the most exciting things leading up to Fantastic Four’s release, but retaining the actors seems like a choice that would automatically continue the story, world, and tone established in a movie that many fans would prefer to forget. While some have wondered whether Fox should make a deal to allow Marvel Studios to take control of some of their imprint’s most iconic characters, it seems like the easiest course of action would be for Fox to rip a page from their competitor’s playbook and simply make a faithful adaptation of the source material they’ve so desperately held onto for all of these years.
That isn’t to deny the possibility of a creative solution transitioning the actors into a more faithful and satisfying universe, but with Michael B. Jordan joining the MCU in 2018's Black Panther, one wonders if the actor would reprise his role as Johnny Storm while portraying another Marvel Character. Nevertheless, Kinberg may have already figured all of this out, and the answer is as simple as hiring a new director and running a relatively smooth production. Only time will tell, but it seems a little early to be even cautiously optimistic.
X-Men: Apocalypse is now playing in theaters. Wolverine 3 opens in U.S. theaters on March 3rd, 2017, followed by unannounced X-Men films on October 6th, 2017 (possibly Gambit), March 2nd, 2018 (possibly Deadpool 2), and June 29th, 2018 (possibly New Mutants). X-Force is also in development.
Source: Happy Sad Confused