20th Century Fox, the bastards responsible for destroying many a comic character on film, are said to be planning a few remakes. A Daredevil remake is currently in the works, though there are no concrete details to report on at this time. The most exiting news has to be the proposed remake of the Fantastic Four. The two previous films, brought to us by Tim Story, were box office success’ but critical bombs. They are generally hated by most critics, as well as nearly all of the Fantastic Four comic fans. The movies featured watered down, candy coated versions of the classic comic book characters. The movies were essentially children’s films. As a FF fanatic, I can say that those two movies were massive disappointments and could hardly be considered adaptations of the comic. The Fantastic Four comics weren’t exactly the darkest, most depressing or even the most violent of comics, but they certainly weren’t the feel good heroes they were depicted as. Upon first reading about this planned remake, I was thrilled. That was, until I read the details. Here’s the scoop:
The folks over at FOX are genuinely excited about the completely new take on the characters, which will be decidedly less “bubble-gum” and more like Iron Man. The completely new take implies that they will be starting over completely; new actors, new director, new writers, new feel. There are good and bad elements to that. Let’s start with the good; new actors would certainly be a step up from the terrible performances that were delivered by the original cast. They can take their time in casting and pick actors/actresses with actual talent and the looks to match the characters they will be depicting. New writers, combined with the “bubble gum” comment, mean a darker or more realistic take on the characters. I’m not exactly sure how they would go about making a “realistic” version of the FF, so maybe they mean darker. I’m hoping that they aren’t going for the “TDK effect.” Since the massive success of that film, seems like everyone wants to make a “darker” version of the more popular comic book characters. Whichever way they go with it, there is potential to correct the massive mistakes made in the first two films. Don’t go dark and gritty, but don’t go light and “poppy.” I have some ideas as to what should be done with the remake… More on that a little bit later. As far as directors go, anyone would be a step up from Tim Story at this point. The guy has done okay work in the past, but his style is not suited for comic adaptations.
The Fantastic Four could definitely be considered top tier, “A-List” Marvel characters. As such, they deserve to be redone. I understand that some people at this time may be tired of the FF, and would like to see a new character get the big screen treatment, but what better way to pave the road for all comic based properties not being made by Marvel themselves? I really don’t have much faith in FOX, as they’ve done NOTHING to earn anyone’s trust, but I will hold out hope that they can pull this off. They just need to take their time, find the right director and write a damn good script. If they can do that, the good actors will actually want to be a part of the film. I have to say that they need to consider a director with skill in depicting over the top action, and have a basic knowledge of comedy and drama. I’ve put a lot of thought into this, and it’s become clear to me that they should consider the following two directors: John McTiernan or Len Wisemen. McTiernan is an established director who’s probably most well known for the superb Predator. That film, while different tonally than a FF film would be, is a great example of McTiernan’s ability to marry action and drama, with just a touch of humor. That is exactly what you would want from a great FF film. Wisemen is a newbie, who is best known for his work on the Underworld films. Those movies were visually stunning and had great action. The humor wasn’t exactly there, but I think the humor in a project featuring characters like the FF could write itself. It’d be all situational humor, sight gags, maybe some sarcasm. I think Wisemen could pull it off.
Now, as for the story, before I even delve into my thoughts for a plot, I think they should avoid a couple of things first. Dr Doom has been done, and done poorly. Sure, it’d be nice to see a GOOD take on Doom, but I’m thinking they should stray as far away from the first two as possible, and the best way to do that would be to go for a different villain. They could always bring in Doom in the second or third entry of the series, if the first one is good of course. Beyond that, I’m really thinking they won’t need to do an origin story. Like I said, the FF are “A-List” characters, plus with the first two films fresh in most people’s minds, they won’t need to describe how they came to be. They could jump straight into the action! That’d be the best part of a remake; just load it with action. So what should they focus on? I’m thinking that to make a great FF film, they shouldn’t focus on one storyline, and instead focus on the characters. The FF have been described as heroes with issues. Their teamwork has been hindered in the past by their personal problems and the frequent arguments they have with each other. That would be a great place to start. I felt like that aspect of the team really wasn’t properly explored in the first two films. Think about it: In a big time throwdown with a super-powered baddie, their arguments and disagreements would lead to an embarrassing defeat. Over the course of a trilogy, they’d set up the FF as slowly learning to work as a team, ultimately becoming a great team in the climax of the third film, whilst they are engaging their most powerful foe. It would also lead to some great comical elements. Ben and Johnny bickering constantly, starting to fight with each other and having Sue separate them, it could be real funny. Anyone who has read the comics and/or seen one of the variations of the FF cartoon series’ could tell you that.
I’d like to see the new trilogy set up an inter-galactic battle with the Skrulls. Of course, this would mean a throwdown with the Super-Skrull in the third film. It would be great to add more of a sci-fi element to it. It could be a fantastical and stunning film. Each of the three films would need no more than 2 villains, with Skrulls being referred to/mentioned/hinted at in the first two and used as the villains in the third. I’ve always been fond of Annihilus, the Mad Thinker, and the Kree (which would fit nicely in my plan to involve the Skrulls). They could draw all sorts of potential plot points from the recent Marvel comics event with the Skrull invasion. There is seemingly unlimited potential here. Having Earth heroes battling alien foes is something that is so prevalent in comics, but really isn’t addressed in Film adaptations of the comics. I don’t understand why. It’s not like we don’t get alien films from time to time, so why not have aliens in hero films? You are already expecting the audience to believe in super powered humans, so would aliens really be that much of a stretch? I think it would work.
I fear that they will indeed go with Dr Doom, and I don’t really think there is anything anyone can do about that. Studios really just want to see heroes fighting with their arch nemesis’. Whatever direction they choose to go, I think this is exciting news. The Fantastic Four will be returning to a theater screen near you!