Like so many who grew up in the 1970's, I was drawn to a fair amount of comicdom's weirdness. There was practically room for any superhero with any line-up of powers, and what I saw as some downright looney sensibilities within FF did strike a positive chord in that little guy I was. Who wouldn't want a friend like The Thing to come clobberin' in at each and every opportunity to save the day? And Johnny Storm? Flame-on! Am I right?
Alas, I think that were you to ask me even back then if I ever thought a little 'something something' like FF would work on the big screen without it being damn near full animation? I would've told you -- rather proudly and defiantly -- "no stinking way." Its panels were loaded with just too much going on, so much so that I would've guessed viewers could suffer a sensory overload in the midst of the frenetic chaos. In fact, I've often said the same for DC Comics' Green Lantern books -- that it's just too goofy a central concept to work efficiently in any other format beyond animation -- and, to date, I've pretty much been proven correct. (FYI: if you can get your hands on a copy of the Green Lantern Animated series that can out not all that long back, you'll do well. It's a fabulous incarnation that deserves to be both discovered and praised.)
But Hollywood? Well, they don't listen to folks like me, and -- to my knowledge -- there have been three attempts to cinematize the intellectual property. (I know, I know, I know: most folks don't see the 1990's version as an even honest attempt, but it is what it is.)
I did, however, have high hopes for the 2015 version (only to have them dashed pretty quickly), mostly because the 20th Century Fox flick had such a winning cast. Though I'm no fan of Miles Teller and I think he was far too young to even convincingly approach the character of Reed Richards, I still thought his casting was interesting because he was a reasonably hot property at that time. Michael B. Jordan has the obvious physique to fill out the spandex of just about any Superhero that requires a bit of brawn with the brains. And ... Kate Mara? Good Lord, I've been smitten with the lady as long as she's been in the business, and I hoped that the attempt would give her a good reason to suit up alongside her peers.
How did it do?
Centrally, it never quite mastered the tone of the book. There was no sense of family and/or camaraderie (at least, none that I saw); and the actors appeared almost painfully walking through scene after scene that lacked the cohesiveness one monumental origin truly needed. I followed a bit of the controversies that took place behind-the-scenes (director Josh Trank allegedly rather famously feuded with damn near everyone involved, in some cases reportedly coming to blows), and the troubled production pretty much crashed and burned (flame on!) at the box office. In fact -- if I remember correctly -- I think Josh Trank even lost his Star Wars contract when the shenanigans he put everyone through came out. Given the state of Star Wars at present, that result could be good or bad; but civilization didn't quite dodge the bullet that was 2015's Fantastic Four, and cinema suffered as a consequence.
In fact, the 2016 Razzies sent the flick home with its coveted 'Worst Picture' trophy along with two other big wins.
That's gonna leave a mark.
As always, thanks for reading ... and live long and prosper!