As most of you may already know, Fox is rebooting Fantastic Four. Hot off the heels of Marvel’s massive success with Iron Man, Thor, and especially The Avengers, each and every other Hollywood studio is making a mad dash to revamp and reestablish their respective superhero franchises, Fox especially. This summer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past is most likely going to serve as a soft-reboot for Fox’s X-Men universe, combining the Patrick Stewart timeline from the original films with their newer First Class timeline, effectively washing away the extremely convoluted continuity problems plaguing their most important franchise. However, Fox also retains the rights to another major Marvel franchise, The Fantastic Four. While two Fantastic Four movies already exist, Fox wants to forget about them just as much as audiences already have, so rather than try and continue to build on what they’ve already established they’re going with a full-on reboot.
First came the news that Chronicle director Josh Trank would be helming the picture, and as of yesterday Fox has officially announced their new and improved Fantastic Four, with Kate Mara as Sue Storm (The Invisible Woman), Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm (The Human Torch), Miles Teller as Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic), and lastly Jamie Bell as Ben Grimm (The Thing). With this new announcement it’s much easier to see the direction Fox is trying to take with the first family of comics, one that could definitely pay off swimmingly, though I’d be lying if I didn’t say I had some reservations.
First things first, it’s clear that Fox is trying very hard to take this new Fantastic Four film in a very different direction than their previous ones, which is very smart. There would be no point in rebooting Fantastic Four if they weren’t going to try anything new. That be said, I’m a little wary that they’re making the entire family so young. I understand that Fox is trying to appeal to the younger demographic but casting Miles Teller, who is only 27-years-old, as the patriarch of the family definitely raises a few eyebrows. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of Tellers and this will be a great way to raise his profile even farther, but I just don’t see him as the seasoned leader of the Fantastic Four. It’s entirely plausible that they’re taking his character in an extremely different direction than most perceptions of Mr. Fantastic, in that case I’m all for casting Teller, but if they’re trying to go the classic route with Richards, Tellers casting seems strange.
Another standout aspect of this news is the fact that Michael B. Jordan is playing The Human Torch. If you’ve seen the other movies or read any of their comics, you know that Johnny Storm is typically Caucasian. Well not this time, as Michael B. Jordan, a fantastic African American actor (Fruitvale Station), is taking over the role. This switch has many comic book fans up in arms, shouting that Fox is just trying changing the race of their favorite character to meet some sort of filmmaking affirmative action, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Johnny Storm isn’t defined by his whiteness, he’s defined by his cocky attitude, womanizing, and heroics, and if anybody’s seen Jordan on Friday Night Lights, you know that he is perfect for the role. So for those focusing on the race aspect of this casting, get over yourselves.
There’s no point in going into too much detail and deliberation about this news as the film hasn’t even entered production and isn’t set for release for over a year. That being said, Fox has definitely peaked my interest with these castings. Only time will tell if their newest gamble will pay off, but nevertheless, it should be an interesting ride.
Article by James Hausman