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This past summer’s Fantastic Four reboot was intended to put Marvel’s First Family back in the spotlight, and that was certainly accomplished…just not in the way they intended. Not only did the reimagining earn poor reviews, but it’s only made around $168 million worldwide, making it one of the biggest flops of summer 2015. Despite the negative reception, 20th Century Fox is insistent on releasing a sequel to keep the franchise going, but it’s clear that they’ll need to make some radical changes for Fantastic Four 2. Ant-Man director Peyton Reed, who worked on his own unrealized Fantastic Four movie early last decade, has some advice on what specifically to fix for the future: the tone and its visuals.
Reed noted that the original pair of Fantastic Four movies was broad and "pitched toward younger children," while the reboot went in the opposite direction and became overly dark. Reed explained to Yahoo! that the key is meeting somewhere in the middle. As he put it:
I just personally feel like they have not gotten the tone right. And man, it’s a bummer. I think the tone has got to be one of optimism, and you’ve got to take it seriously.
2005’s Fantastic Four and 2007’s Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer certainly skewed more towards comedy and goofiness, though to be fair, the Fantastic Four comics have always been fairly lighthearted. 2015’s Fantastic Four, on the other hand, felt like it was trying too hard to be like Batman Begins, and for this type of property, that wasn’t the right creative direction. If they’re looking for another source of inspiration for Fantastic Four 2, they should give The Incredibles a watch.
As for the visuals, Reed believes there’s one member of the team that deserves extra attention in having their powers realized properly in live action: Reed Richards, a.k.a. Mr. Fantastic. Reed said:
I think they haven’t really gotten Mr. Fantastic’s powers right visually on screen. I think there’s some really badass ways to make that [character] work. I just know there’s a great Fantastic Four movie to be had. I’m convinced that it can work.
It’s a difficult task making superpowers look "realistic" in live action, but in Mr. Fantastic’s case, Reed is correct. The team leader’s stretching looked overly artificial in the original series of films, and the reboot didn’t improve things much (as seen below), so the visual effects team will need to find another way to make Reed Richards look cool while he’s using his abilities in the sequel.
Fantastic Four 2 is tentatively set for release on June 9, 2017, and if the filmmakers behind it are wise, they’ll take Reed’s pointers into consideration.