Hey, Marvel, Can You Please Save The Fantastic Four Franchise?

Fantastic Four 2015 Lineup

On the behalf of comic book, comic movie, and specifically Fantastic Four fans out there, I'd like to make an appeal to Marvel Studios, as well as the folks at 20th Century Fox. It's about time we got ourselves a proper film based on the first family of the Marvel Comics universe. To date, there have been three attempts to launch a franchise out of these characters, and two of them were released into theaters. Neither of those theatrical franchises were The Fantastic Four we deserve, and there's some pretty stark reasons why.

Fantastic Four 2005 Lineup

With the first theatrical run of films directed by Tim Story, the tone of the series seemed a little too jokey and family-oriented. While there was still a fair amount of superhero business, Doctor Doom was more of a vain egomaniac than his usual world conquering self, and there was a decent amount of low-level hero humor trying to off-set the darker aspects of the film. Though even in the darkest points of either Fantastic Four or Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, the film would never have been as dark as the bigger mistake in the franchise's collective canon: 2015's Fantastic Four reboot.

Hiring Josh Trank to try and reinvent the series was an interesting move that could have made for a promising, more modern take. Also, with Trank's experience directing Chronicle, the pseudo reboot to Fantastic Four, folks would have thought that his efforts on a new film would have made a more watchable experience. Unfortunately, between a tempestuous relationship between director and studio, as well as a hatchet job when it came to the actual editing of the film, Fantastic Four was way too grim/dark for its own good, and nowhere near the tone of the source material.

For the sake of Fox, it's a shame that The Incredibles exists in our world, as that seems to be the closest thing we have to an accurate Fantastic Four film. The Fantastic Four were never a "gritty as hell" product of the Marvel canon, nor did it feel like an overly comedic affair, either. Rather, the series was more of a, well, fantastical sci-fi adventure that hinged heavily on a group of people that co-creator Stan Lee described thusly, in his 1974 book Origins of Marvel Comics:

The characters would be the kind of characters I could personally relate to: they'd be flesh and blood, they'd have their faults and foibles, they'd be fallible and feisty, and --- most important of all --- inside their colorful, costumed booties they'd still have feet of clay.

With each Fantastic Four iteration in theaters, the story seems to love to focus more on the powers and humor of the situation that Reed Richards and his super group have found themselves in. Even with the 2015 reboot, which came in the midst of Marvel Studios' current hot streak, the characters felt like mere vehicles for powers they had acquired. At least, they did when you could follow what the hell was going on. But the problem still remains: while the Fantastic Four may look kind of impressive on the big screen, none of their portrayals really made the audience identify with the characters.

Fantastic Four 2015 Lineup

Now think of a Marvel Studios version of The Fantastic Four. With the work they've put into their current stable of characters, one of Marvel Comics' most recognizable brands could be revitalized into an extremely personal story that just happens to have studio approved superpowers. If Guardians of the Galaxy could give its varied band of misfits the impressive levels of depth and character that have been seen in their two films alone, then surely their approach to Jack Kirby and Stan Lee's storied creations would bring us the first true adaptation of the comic fans have come to know and love.

You've done this before Marvel, what with Spider-Man: Homecoming becoming a reality, and promising to bring us the first truly amazing Spider-Man film we've had in a while. That film may be a crucial barometer to gauge whether or not you should even bother with Fantastic Four, but I think that'd be too late in the game to make said decision. Fans have wanted the Marvel halves of Fox and Disney to form a cohesive whole for some time now, although that was so the X-Men could beat up The Avengers in a gigantic showdown.

Crossing the bridge with Fox on a Fantastic Four reboot not only gives us the opportunity for another bite at the apple, it also lays the potential groundwork for the film fans have been clamoring for. If there are any reasons left why this shouldn't happen, then I frankly cannot see them. So c'mon, Marvel Studios. Kevin Feige says there hasn't been any movement on this potential teaming on either side, so why not make the big move and reach out to Fox for a Fantastic Four reboot? Surely, the fans will thank you.

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Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

Mike Reyes is the Senior Movie Contributor at CinemaBlend, though that title’s more of a guideline really. Passionate about entertainment since grade school, the movies have always held a special place in his life, which explains his current occupation. Mike graduated from Drew University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, but swore off of running for public office a long time ago. Mike's expertise ranges from James Bond to everything Alita, making for a brilliantly eclectic resume. He fights for the user.