What All 'Fantastic Four' Movies Have Gotten Wrong
Every Fantastic Four movie to date has blown harder than Doctor Doom when he got his hands on the Sea Horn, but they all blew in their own unique, special ways. Like snowflakes in a pile of piss-yellow snow.
At the same time, they all shared the same fundamental flaw that, if caught and corrected early on, might have given them a fighting chance to be actually good. No, I’m not talking about failing to cast Dwayne Johnson as The Thing even though, you know, duh. I’m talking about every Fantastic Four production so far being a superhero movie.
This will make me sound a bit crazy, but sharks are older than trees. (No, really, they totally are.) Another thing that will make me sound crazy but is relevant to the topic at hand is that the Fantastic Four are not really superheroes. Some comics cast them in those roles, and they do have superpowers, but, at their purest, the Fantastic Four are a team of explorers. Their speed is less fighting crime and more stopping the Ghost Mushroom People from Dimension X from stealing the Sphynx or battling Soviet Super Apes on the Moon. (One of those storylines is something that actually happened in the comics. Try and guess which one.) Most importantly, though, they do those things as a family.
Fantastic Four stories have become more mature over time, but the best ones still contain all those key elements that made the original comics so great: A family (not merely a team) of superpowered individuals go on FANTASTIC space adventures—which is how they got their powers in the first place—through strange, colorful worlds, driven by their scientific curiosity.
But admittedly, it would be hard to make a movie like that in today’s world, where space travel has become the domain of billionaires. Imagine trying to make a movie based on some other billionaire pastime, like renting out famous paintings and rubbing their dicks on them, which you know some of them do. Anyway, the Fantastic Four would work best in a world like the American 1960s, when the Moon-landing happened, and it felt like a collective accomplishment of the entire nation. In that brief moment, the universe felt a tiny bit smaller, and space optimism spread all across the land.
So why not set the next Fantastic Four movie in a world just like that?
If Disney and Marvel are smart, they will want the next Triple-F (Fantastic Four film) to have something that makes it more than just another story about a group of people with superpowers. Hailing from a retro-futuristic world where the space mania of the 1960s never lost momentum could help that movie stand out. (We know parallel worlds are possible in the MCU after Loki and What If…?) In that world, the Fantastic Four would be famous celebrities going on intergalactic adventures with just the right amount of camp and sci-fi action. It would, in essence, be an adventure film, which we suddenly stopped making for some strange reason, only this one would be sci-fi themed. Then at the end, the Quixotic Quartet can come over to our universe.
The movie could still have its darker moments, of course. It SHOULD have its darker moments, especially with Reed Richards, who is possibly one of the biggest douchebags in all of Marvel comics. Which, you know, makes sense, considering that he is apparently one of the inspirations for Rick from Rick and Morty. Consequently, the perfect Fantastic Four movie should be fun and vivid and celebrate the wonders of the space age and scientific curiosity while also pulling back the curtain and finding darkness, drama, and human misery underneath the colorful façade. Basically, it should be like Mad Men with laser guns.
Look me in the eyes and say that you wouldn’t pay to see that movie a minimum of three times so I can tell you to screw off because I don’t have time to deal with dirty liars.
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Top Image: 20th Century Studios