In Cinemautopsy, we look back at a recent, high-profile failure and ask a simple question: What the hell happened? In this installment... the comic that launched Marvel Comics. A cast of beloved up-and-comers. One of the hottest young directors in Hollywood. A bold attempt to reinvent the superhero genre. What could possibly go wrong?
A lot of people were disappointed by last summer’s Fantastic Four. The reboot, directed by Josh Trank, was supposed to relaunch one of the most popular comic-book series in history, and erase the memory of two previous, unpopular Fantastic Four movies in the process. It had a great cast, including Miles Teller, Kate Mara, and Michael B. Jordan. It had Trank, coming off his acclaimed superhero film Chronicle. It should have been the start of something huge.
Last year’s Fantastic Four reboot was beset with problems before it even hit theaters, from the highly-publicized conflict between Josh Trank and the studio to rumors of the director’s behavior on-set and reports of an unusual amount of reshoots. When the actual film arrived, it was…disappointing, to say the least. And although producer Simon Kinberg has remained optimistic about a sequel somewhere down the line, even he’s finally admitting that Fantastic Four had some serious issues — as in, it was too serious.
The Fantastic Four movie stunk. Perhaps you heard about it. Fox attempted to reboot Marvel’s First Family with a younger cast, a darker tone, and a buzzy young director (Chronicle’s Josh Trank). The finished product was a baffling, ugly mess. It made just $167 million worldwide, way less than either of the Fantastic Four movies that had come before it, earned some of the worst reviews of 2015, and won (“won”) three Razzie Awards, including Worst Director for Trank and Worst Picture.
As usual, James Gunn’s Facebook Q&A sessions yield some pretty interesting information, and while he tends to be a bit more open than others about his plans in the MCU, he doesn’t reveal anything too major. Still, Gunn’s latest Q&A confirms the two actors who won’t be returning for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, plus the two characters from Fantastic Four that he really wants to see join the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Miles Teller popped up in early reports regarding Lucasfilm’s shortlist for Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s young Han Solo movie, along with a handful of interesting contenders for the upcoming Star Wars spinoff. And while an actor has yet to be chosen to fill Harrison Ford’s intimidating shoes, Teller has confirmed that he did audition for the part while also acknowledging some problems on that other major franchise film he appeared in last year.
Ah, the Razzies. Looking at the list of nominees for the annual "worst film awards" increasingly makes it seem as though the people behind the Razzies don't actually watch the worst films of the year, and while Fifty Shades of Grey was hardly 2015’s worst cinematic byproduct, the film managed to sweep the Razzies with five "awards." Fantastic Four was right behind it with three awards, with both films tying for Worst Picture of 2015. At least they got it half-right.
We can all agree that Fantastic Four was far from great, a CG-saturated mess with a few good character moments eclipsed by all those rumors about Josh Trank. And while Fox has taken the sequel off the table (for now), there’s at least one person who’d be down to return for Fantastic Four 2: Michael B. Jordan.
It was a great year for movies. One of the best in recent memory, in fact, with enough outstanding films to fill three or four top ten lists. But the good in any artistic medium will always be outweighed by the bad, and even as it seems like the number of potential classics grows every year, the number of certified stinkers grows as well. Exponentially; there’s enough cinematic turd burgers from the last twelve months to fill seven or eight top ten lists.
Flame off? After Fantastic Four’s hugely disappointing opening earlier this year, Fox initially claimed they were still moving ahead with a sequel, keeping the planned June 9, 2017 release date. But, after a closer look at the situation and perhaps a good dose of common sense, Fox has removed Fantastic Four 2 from their release schedule.