It finally happened today. After months of staying silent and not showing any official footage, 20th Century Fox released The Fantastic Four trailer today. Set for release on August 7, this reboot will follow Reed Richards, Sue Storm, Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm as they gain extraordinary powers while traveling to another dimension. For a teaser trailer, it did a unique job of showing just enough to entice the viewer while not giving away too much action or plot-wise. At the very least, comic book fans now have a better idea of what to expect when they sit down to watch it.
While the trailer itself was not at all horrible (although it did feel generic), there were several things that felt off about it. For a film based off a group of superheroes that popularized Marvel, this didn’t feel anything like the stories about Marvel’s First Family, and there were several missed opportunities in this trailer to showcase material that would have excited fans even more. Granted, teasers hold back a lot of material so they can entice moviegoers, but even taking that into account, here are the main concerns we have towards The Fantastic Four trailer and what it could mean for the film itself.
We Have To Sit Through Their Origin Story Again?!?!Obviously with lesser-known heroes, it might be necessary to show moviegoers how these heroes got their start/powers, but when characters are being shown that have already been on-screen before (twice), there’s no need to spend as much time (if any) on the origin. The Fantastic Four may not be at the same level of popularity as Batman or Spider-Man, but their origin story doesn’t need to be retread again, or at least be the main focus. The main difference this time is that the four heroes will be traveling to an alternate dimension (the Negative Zone) instead of outer space, which is based off their Ultimate origin, so hopefully a new landscape will be enough to distinguish itself from the 2005 Fantastic Four movie. Either way, those four are coming back with weird conditions, and people are going to be freaked out.
This Feels More Like Sci-Fi Than SuperheroWith all the adventures they have in outer space, alternate dimensions, other time periods and such, the Fantastic Four is rooted in sci-fi, so it’s great if these elements can be infused into the movie. It’s another thing if these same elements completely take over the story, and as a result what makes these characters iconic is put on the back-burner., i.e. being superheroes and fighting strange threats. Aside from the guys turning to rock and flame, this trailer felt closer to something like Prometheus or Interstellar than it did The Avengers or X-Men. It is possible to achieve a balance between the superhero side of things and another genre. Captain America: The Winter Soldier was a political thriller and X-Men: Days of Future Past was a time-travel epic, but both still felt like superhero adventures throughout. The Fantastic Four feels solely like a sci-fi story, which isn’t a bad thing, but because it’s based off superheroes, it comes off looking weird. Maybe the superhero elements will be more noticeable once the team has to use their new powers to take on Doom.
There’s No Lightheartedness To ItIt’s the same problem that Man of Steel dealt with: unnecessary darkening. While the Fantastic Four have dealt with their fair share of serious events, they’ve always been light, good-humored characters. There’s no reason to go all The Dark Knight on it. Not every superhero movie has to feel the same, but the stories need to stay true to the essence of the characters. This feels overly dark and serious, and much more reminiscent to Josh Trank’s 2012 hit Chronicle than the actual Fantastic Four. To be fair, this isn’t much of a surprise, since Trank and others have been describing it as "grounded" for awhile, but these words should not be used to describe Marvel’s First Family. Say what you will about last decade’s Fantastic Four films, but at least they had a sense of humor (even if it was misplaced at times).
Where Are Their Powers?A brief shot of The Thing’s back, several blink-and-you’ll-miss-it shots of Johnny Storm flaming on and a shot that shows Reed Richards presumably about to stretch. That’s the extent of the Fantastic Four’s powers in this trailer. The purpose of a teaser it to… well, tease the audience about what’s coming. But c’mon! They couldn’t have given us a few more demonstrations of the four using their abilities? A few added shots of Reed actually stretching, Sue Storm turning invisible, The Thing rampaging and Johnny Storm flying was all that would have been necessary, and it only would have added a few more seconds. Set-up for how they get their powers is fine, but fans mainly want to see these powers in action!
There’s Still No Doctor DoomEven if we didn’t see much of their abilities, at least we got to see the protagonists. The same can’t be said for the antagonist, Victor Domashev, a.k.a. Doom (evidently he hasn’t earned his evil Ph.D yet). While we know what the character’s background and personality will be, there still hasn’t been photos of him other than those leaked images of the Doom costume on the green-screen set. It’s unfair to judge a character’s look until it’s been touched up in post-production, which is why this trailer would have been the perfect opportunity to feature the villain’s unusual appearance. There’s a brief shot at 1:21 of an unknown man attacking some soldiers, but there’s no way to know if it’s Doom. We’ll just have to wait a little longer to get our first look of Toby Kebbell as the Fantastic Four’s arch-nemesis.