By Tony Buchanan
Instead, they decided to follow the old rule of “When in doubt, make a reboot!”, and on February 27th, the world was introduced to the Fantastic Four (I’m sorry Fant4stic Four) trailer. After watching it, I’m sorry to say that it is probably one of the most cliche and uninteresting trailers to any superhero movie from the past couple years.
For anyone who hasn’t seen the trailer yet, here is what you will experience:
- Dramatic, cryptic sounding voice over (That’s original)
- A New York skyline (New York? Really? Because a Marvel movie has never taken place in New York before)
- Dramatic close up shots of main characters looking worried (And you can bet that is probably the only expression they will have for the entire movie)
- Someone walking through a dark hallway. (Apparently research labs have to cut corners somewhere)
- Childhood flashbacks (Reed, what do we do when we fall down?)
This all could have been forgiven if director Josh Trank had decided to add one very important element to the trailer: superpowers.
But did we get to see any elasticity, invisibility, flaming balls of fire, or clobbering? No. The closest we got was Johnny Storm flaming on for .25 seconds, and Ben Grimm, aka The Thing, emerging from a giant stone egg.
To be fair, it was an well done trailer and did get me interested in the film. My real problem with this trailer that is that the only way I can describe it is….
Grim. That’s it. When I say grim, I mean that this trailer makes the movie look dark, serious and apocalyptic, similar to The Dark Knight Rises or the Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer.
Now, granted, most recent superhero trailers have gone with this super shadowy, dramatic trailer route. In fact, Guardians of the Galaxy is one of the only superhero movies in recent memory that chose to go with a more comical trailer. Though having a grim, dark trailer has worked for other superhero movies, I don’t think it was the right move for the Fantastic Four trailer or the movie in general. If there is one thing that everyone should know about the Fantastic Four, it is that the Fantastic Four franchise as a whole, is the complete opposite of grim!
I spent many summers of my childhood reading everything Fantastic Four, from the original comics from 1961, to the Ultimate series which ran from 2004-2009 and never would I describe any of the comic book incarnations as grim. The Fantastic Four is campy and ridiculous and the comics are proof of that. The majority of the original comics had our heroes dealing with their personal issues half the time, and spend the other half battling supervillains. I mean, in one issue, the team has to move out of their home base, the Baxter Building, because they fell into debt and they are forced to work for one of their enemies to make money. Would that ever happen in the dark and gritty world of a Batman comic? Definitely not.
Even the way that the FF beat many of their villains seemed very simplistic or ridiculous. In one early comic, the Fantastic Four was facing off against a group of powerful demons and were losing badly. The battle turned in their favor however when one of the demons breaks apart Mr. Fantastic’s robot arms (because he had temporarily lost his elasticity) and the demons lost their powers because they could only fight against other superpowered beings. Reading that comic made me feel the same as when I battled Groudon in Pokemon Ruby, only using my Pelipper.
Oh, the battle’s over? Huh, I thought it would be a bit more difficult. Ok, on with the rest of the story.
Ever since the early FF comics, some form of luck or coincidence has allowed our heroes to save the day. The Fantastic Four was never meant to be dark and grim; it’s a lighthearted series where you know that in the end, everything will work out just fine. Even if a character dies, odds are that they will somehow be brought back to life. Why? Because the reader isn’t suppose to take the Fantastic Four too seriously!
It isn’t just the early comics; it’s pretty much all of the Fantastic Four franchise. The more mature Ultimate Fantastic Four series (which this new movie seems to be drawing many of its ideas) was funny and clever and had its own moments of camp and lightheartedness. Sure, there were serious moments sprinkled in each comic, but, again, you knew that most of the time, everything was going to work out for our heroes.
Remember the 2005 Fantastic Four movie? I rewatched that trailer, and had to give it credit for making The Fantastic Four look like an enjoyable superhero film. Then the actual film was released. Sure, the plot was campy and they did (mostly) follow the original origin story, but that movie can be described in one word; awful. Wanna describe it in two words? Absolutely awful. There was little character development, the acting was terrible, and besides Ben having to deal with his new look, we didn’t see any of the characters deal with their personal issues. Honestly, even The Thing’s storyline, which was probably the most fleshed out, was underdeveloped, since one moment he doesn’t want to be The Thing, and the next he’s totally fine with it, for no reason whatsoever. From the trailer, the Fantastic Four movie coming out in August will differ greatly from the previous incarnations, but if that will make it a better film has yet to be seen.
The trailer did give us a basic understanding of the movie’s plot. Reed Richards, Susan Storm, Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm would not be getting their powers due to an outer space cosmic radiation incident. Instead, it would involve a malfunctioning teleporter and dimension traveling. From reading the small plot summary, it sounds cool, but even so, this wouldn’t be the first time that an interesting, but grim looking trailer lead to a disappointing movie.
My main worry is that the creators will follow the same route as Man of Steel. Sure, they tried to give us a fresh and darker perspective on the Superman origin story, but the story itself was so underbaked, that no amount of high octane CGI action could make up for it. Basically, it was all flash and no substance, and that is my fear for this new attempt to make a Fantastic Four movie.
What are your thoughts on the new FF trailer? Let us know in the comments below.