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Why We Need A Fantastic Four Reboot

Written by Scott Meridew

Ah, reboots. A fresh start. A clean slate. A chance for new directors and writers to take much beloved stories and characters and improve their transition to the big screen. And it seems no franchise needs a reboot more than the Fantastic Four. I mean… wow. They really need a reboot. Like, now! Code blue people, code blue! But in order to understand why we need a reboot, we need to understand what exactly went wrong the first time around. Although, strictly speaking, the first time around was the 1994 Fantastic Four film. So in a way the upcoming reboot is going to be a reboot of a reboot. Rebootception!

Where to begin? How about the obvious: the cast. Ioan Gruffudd, winner of the Most Difficult Name To Pronounce competition three years in a row (Don’t worry Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, this year will be your year), was… how can I put this? You know how his character, Mr Fantastic, is supposed to have elastic stretching powers? And you know how he came across as more like having wooden powers? As in, wooden acting? Because he was very bad? At acting? Really bad? TERRIBLE? Did that come across at all?

Next there was Jessica Alba. Jessica Alba, the actress of Mexican descent. Playing a blue eyed, blonde haired character. Really? Actually, you know what? I could forgive that. Yeah. That wouldn’t matter to me at all. That is if she were any good. Which she wasn’t. She was bad. Almost as bad as Ioan Welsh-name. And of course we all know why she was hired in the first place. Remember that scene when she had to strip off in public? They should have just had the words FAN SERVICE flashing on the bottom of the screen. This could be forgiven if there wasn’t another scene in the next film where the exact same thing happened? Did the filmmakers not know that the primary audience for this film was kids? They weren’t Disney films, there was no need to corrupt the minds of the young (Shut up, I have a few issues)!

The only actors that were completely likeable (with the exception of Julian McMahon, I’ll get to him later) were Michael Checklist (Yes I know that’s not his real name but spell check is being stubborn) and Chris “Wait until Captain America comes out, it’ll be all better then” Evans. Evans in particular was good, simply because he threw himself into the role and tried his very best. You could tell he was having fun in the role but still taking it seriously. Chiklis (Go AWAY red wavy line!) likewise committed himself to the role. But the problems with these two lie in their characters. Johnny Storm was… a brat. He was a bratty, brat, jerk, jerky, jerk, jerk who, frankly, I still have dreams about torturing(Okay, I have a LOT of issues). It was only because of Evans that I could stomach him. In the hands of a lesser actor, his arse would be… grarse? That phrase  doesn’t really work in England. And yeah, in the second film they gave him a fairly decent (if ultimately pointless) story arc but that is still no excuse! And as for the ever lovin’ blue eyed Thing? Well, half of both films do a pretty good job of making him a very sympathetic and tragic character, as he should be. What a shame they spent the other half making him look stupid! A pie to the face? Really? This isn’t The Fantastic Three Stooges!

And now… Julian McMahon. As I said before, at least the other two characters were a little bit right. But here we have a conundrum. Julian McMahon was completely wrong for this part but he actually did an okay job. The character was totally wrong given the source material but managed to be at least a little cool in the end. Right? I guess what I’m trying to say is, this combination would have worked in any other superhero film. Hire Julian McMahon as the bad guy for “Superguy II: Adventures in being Superguy”, by all means. Just keep him out of Fantastic Four. The fact is we could have gotten a much, much better Doctor Doom which could have been played by an actor much more suited to the role. Julian was enjoyable to a certain extent, just not right for these films.

And now the plot. Ugh, this is going to hurt. Okay, so Reed Richards is a big old sciencey boffin who wants to travel into space to study a cosmic cloud. Okay Reed, what is a cosmic cloud? “Never really explained!” What does it do? “Everything!” So why do you need to study it? “To find out what it does!” Not off to a great start. Then, CEO, Victor Von Doom (who is head of a corporation that, big surprise, we don’t know what they do) agrees to help fund the project and… comes along on the trip into outer space. Uh, what CEO would do this? You wouldn’t see Bill Gates go into space on a potentially dangerous mission! And, to the film’s credit, they do give an actual reason for Johnny to go on the trip. It’s not just Sue Storm’s kid brother tagging along. Too bad the reason is utter CRAP! He’s the pilot? I thought Ben was the pilot? Oh, he’s the co-pilot. I’m sorry, when was Johnny Storm ever a pilot???

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So they go up into space, disaster ensues and WHOOPS they’ve got superpowers. And at first, thing seem to be going fine plot-wise. Reed starts work on a device that will take away their powers, in order to get Ben Grimm back to normal. Okay, cool. what happens next? Let me tell you: SWEET FANNY ADAMS, that’s what! The majority of the middle of the film his either them conducting experiments on themselves, Johnny being a jerk, Reed and Sue working out their relationship problems (Gripping stuff it is not), and Victor turning evil rather easily. I’m serious, the guy goes from rich jerk to evil bastard with very little prompting. It’s almost at Anakin Skywalker speeds. Not to mention he suddenly stops wanting a cure and starts wanting more cosmic power for no discernible reason! I thought you wanted a cure, Vic? No? Well, thanks for telling us then!

So, after a fairly pointless second act, Victor goes nuts, takes Ben’s cosmic energy and the gang have to stop him. And in this final confrontation there are only TWO good bits! First, when Johnny finally says: “Flame on” and then when Ben says: “It’s clobberin’ time!”. And these are only good because they made me squeal with delight like only a massive nerd can. I’m not proud of it.

Still, that’s only the first film! What about the second Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer? Galactus was a cloud. I’m sorry, maybe you didn’t hear me… Galactus WAS A CLOUD!!! Please excuse me while I scream in abject rage. NAAAAAAARRRGGGHHHH! There, all better. I think I made my point.

Still, now we have a chance for a do-over! It’s clear we need a reboot, so what’s next?

Well, we must also look to the future. Some of the scuttlebutt on the upcoming reboot is that Matthew Vaughn, of Stardust, Kick-Ass, Kick-Ass 2 and X-Men: First Class fame, is attached to produce (Yay!). Also attached to direct is Josh Trank, who also directed Chronicle (Also yay!). And also hired to produce and co-write is Simon Kinberg who has worked on Mr and Mrs Smith (Yay!), X-Men: The Last Stand (Boo!), Sherlock Holmes (Yay!), Jumper (Boo!) and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (… I’m not sure whether to yay or boo that one).

So, the outcome for the reboot looks mostly good, although the fact that the film will be set in the X-Men film universe is… interesting. Still, with a release date set (6th of March 2015, set the date my fellow geeklings!) one thing we can be sure of is that the reboot IS coming. Whether or not it will be any good is yet to be seen. But in a way, it doesn’t matter. The mere fact that we live in a world where reboots exist is a good thing. Sure, sometimes they don’t turn out like we expect. But there will always be an opportunity for filmmakers to correct their previous mistakes and try to get it right. And they definitely will keep trying and trying and trying and trying. Y’know, maybe you should try and get it right first time, guys!

 

But what do YOU think? Is Fantastic Four due a reboot or should it remain in the secret, secure vault of Marvel movie mistakes along with the 1994 version and Howard the Duck? Why not let us know in the comments or on Twitter? Come on, do it! If you don’t want to, just remember… I know where you live! Mwa ha ha ha!

About the author

Scott Meridew