Today, comic book movies have become the dominant form of life at the global box office. Many films based on both Marvel and DC characters have been huge successes at the box office and many of them have been equally popular with critics. One huge exception was the most recent Fantastic Four movie. The film, directed by Josh Trank, was rumored to have serious problems even before it hit theaters and the final result didn't win over many fans. Trank himself received the brunt of the criticism for the movie, and the director now says that he feels that was unfair.
It's been five years since Josh Trank directed a movie following the ill-fated superhero project, but Trank is back with a new film about the final days of Al Capone, and in the promotion of his new movie, he's talking more than ever before about his last one. The director says that the public's understanding of what what was going on behind the scenes wasn't really the way that it was. According to Trank...
For me, it was unfair because the perception publicly was that there was one person responsible for this not going the way it should have gone, which is an easy thing to believe. You’ve got all of these professional adults who worked on a lot of movies and all these well-established industry insiders who have been making these types of movies for a long time, and here’s this young, relatively inexperienced filmmaker being described as in over his head. They said I wasn’t communicating with people and didn’t want to play by the rules. I was described as working against everybody else’s wishes in a way that was destructive.
Any film director largely ends up taking the bulk of the responsibility for any film they are part of. When the movie is a success they get the credit, possibly more than they deserve. When it's a failure, they take the blame, possibly more than they deserve. The reality, as Josh Trank tries to explain to Variety, is that he was actually just one of many people who was responsible for Fantastic Four becoming the movie that it did.
Josh Trank doesn't absolve himself of all responsibility, he admits that he is to blame, but believes he was only part of the problem. Trank hits back at the idea that he was uncommunicative during the production of Fantastic Four and instead believes the issue was that his communication simply didn't blend well with the people he was communicating with. Trank goes on...
The problem was I was communicating ideas that didn’t mesh well with everybody else’s. That’s not their fault and it’s not my fault. It was the wrong combination of people to get together and make something creative.
Those of us on the outside will likely never know the entire truth of what happened during the production of Fantastic Four, but it wouldn't be the first time that a clash of perspectives and ideas led to a movie that felt muddled and unfocused, and it's difficult to argue that Fantastic Four isn't that.
Marvel's first family will get a third bite at the apple now that they're back home under the Marvel Studios banner. Certainly, Marvel seems to do a good job of bringing a singular vision and focus to its properties, so whatever difficulties the next Fantastic Four movie might have, it likely won't be this.