If you saw “Fantastic Four” in the last couple weeks, first off, my condolences. Secondly, congratulations, you were one of the 8 people on planet earth not related to the cast members to see it. As it bombed so spectacularly, it holds the distinction of the worst opening for a Marvel adaptation.
Whenever a movie bombs as badly as “Fantastic Four” does, Hollywood finds every excuse they can to explain why it didn’t make money. “No one wants to see a Fantastic Four movie.” “It was released too close to ‘Mission Impossible'” “The previous movies soured the populace” Etc. Etc. They just can’t seem to realize the true reason behind the film’s failure; “Fantastic Four” is a runaway freight train of flaming dog poo.
What did it do so wrong? Well, I have a word count limit here, so I’m going to stick to the five worst offenses the movie made.
5) The outfits. Hollywood simply demands that superhero movies never have the same outfits as the comics. They sacrifice imagination and aesthetics for realism. Despite the fact the movie stars a rock monster and a metal man, GOD FORBID THEY WEAR BLUE OUTFITS! I want you all to look at the costumes from the movie, and imagine what the Halloween costume would like for kids. Ugly and unrecognizable. The costumes in the “Fantastic Four” comic book have been nearly unchanged for six decades. Why would Hollywood think they know better? And making The Thing naked is just such a colossally weird choice. What could possibly have been the conversation in the writers’ room? Exec #1: “He wears shorts in the comic.” Exec #2: “That’s ridiculous, he should be naked.” Exec 1:”But then he would *ahem* naked.” Exec 2: “Yeah, we just won’t give him anything down there.” HOW ON EARTH DID A ROOM FULL OF PEOPLE COME TO THIS DECISION!?
4) The origin story. The Fantastic Four are recruited to join the military almost immediately in the film. In the comic, they struggle to keep their inventions and powers away from the military. They are a group of scientists striving for peace and knowledge. The Fantastic Four would never work for the military. The tone of the Fantastic Four comic is Star Trek, if Indiana Jones/Sherlock Holmes were the captains. Doesn’t that sound a little bit more interesting than what we got?
3) The relationships. In the movie Ben and Reed are friends, so they got that right. Except that Reed leaves Ben as a military prisoner for over a year. The friendship in the comics is one where they would move heaven and earth for each other. The idea that Reed would leave Ben is frankly sickening. In the comic book, Ben is the godfather of Reed’s children. In the comic, Reed is haunted by the experiment that causes Ben to transform into the Thing. He spends countless hours trying to “fix” Ben. And in one of my favorite issues, Ben tells him to stop. Ben tells Reed that the scientific discoveries he could make instead are too important. It was poignant in a way that the movie simply wasn’t. And that is just one issue of over 700.
2) The tone. In the comics, the Fantastic Four are a fun loving family. They joke constantly. The Thing and the Human Torch play elaborate practical jokes on each other. They are a happy group of people. The movie poster looks like it was taken directly after someone pooped in their cereal. Just because it worked for Batman does not mean it works for everyone. Batman’s origin starts with a child witnessing his parents’ murder. The Fantastic Four’s origin starts off with a scientific experiment to discover the mystery of the cosmos. These movies should not be similar, yet they are.
1) The villain. In the comic book Dr. Doom builds a machine to help his mother escape from Hell. That machine blows up, scarring him both mentally and physically. He then travels to a secret enclave of monks that teach him the magic he needs to overcome the devil and save his mother. He also takes over his home country of Latveria and becomes a beloved leader in his own country, and a hated tyrant everywhere else on Earth. In the movie he trips on green gunk on an alien planet and gets brain powers.
You tell me which story you would rather see on the big screen.