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Sunday, September 10, 2023 

No, another Fantastic Four movie won't save Marvel's fortunes

The UK Guardian tells of plans to produced yet another adaptation of Fantastic Four for the big screen, and asks whether this could salvage the Marvel franchise's fortunes, which have been flagging lately:
A decade on and there’s a marked sense of malaise out there. Despite the Marvel movies having clocked up nearly £30bn in worldwide box office returns, as well as more critical hits than an entire Legends of Zelda campaign, and despite the news that James Gunn is taking over as DC head honcho and they have finally got rid of Batfleck, a sense of doom is all around us. Comics legend Mark Millar has spoken about 2019’s Avengers: Endgame being the last great Marvel movie –what about Spider-Man: No Way Home or Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness? – while David Ayer went on record to discuss how having 2016’s Suicide Squad taken away from him by Warner Bros almost broke the up and coming film-maker, while ruining his relationship with Hollywood.
Well it's hard to care at this point what's going on with those adaptations, seeing how wokeness has taken over. And even without that, there's the lack of creative freedom worth pondering:
Ayer? The failure of Suicide Squad stands as an indictment of Hollywood’s hyperactive approach to film-making. This was a film-maker with nothing but positive notices in his wake prior to signing on to direct what was pitched as the ultimate bad guy movie. It had Will Smith as Deadshot – an actor with an almost supernatural ability (at the time) to rock up the box office billions – and Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, during a period when you couldn’t have found an ingenue with more hype if twentysomething Lauren Bacall had suddenly stepped out of a time machine and made herself available for duties. Yet Warner, according to Ayer, panicked after the critical brickbats aimed at Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and the adulation targeted towards the then-recently released Deadpool, and (as was widely documented at the time) handed rewrite duties to the team who came up with the movie’s popular first trailer.
This is surely a case study in how conglomerates have damaged creative freedom, if they're going to mandate extensive rewrites following a poor reception for a movie like Batman V. Superman. Guess even contracts don't avail. But again, it's hard to care as I've long ceased to think it was a great idea to adapt these comics to the silver screen. Now however, here's the main focus, a possible 3rd or 4th iteration of Fantastic Four in the works:
Is that movie Fantastic Four, now not due out until 2025 after writer’s strike delays, but still sitting pretty in the cosmic fantasy future, a sparkle-eyed panacea primed to cure all superhero fatigue?

Previous big screen adaptations of the classic silver age comic book beloved of hippies and true believers alike would suggest that this is something of a minor effort in the pantheon. And yet, Marvel has pulled off similar tricks before – if you had told anyone back in 1999 that movies about Iron Man and Black Panther would one day gross more than $1bn each, they would have looked at you like you just stepped out of one of Doctor Strange’s mystical wormhole portals from the exotic land of Kamar-Taj. In terms of the history of comic books, this is one of the last remaining A-list properties to have never been brought effectively to the big screen. And Marvel now has the chance to succeed where previous rights holders 20th Century Studios so abominably failed.

The latest casting rumours suggest we might even be getting the luminous Vanessa Kirby as Sue Storm, with Josh Hartnett as Doctor Doom and Matt Smith or Adam Driver as Reed Richards, AKA Mister Fantastic. It could happen, and director Matt Shakman might just find a way to make this the most intriguing superhero movie since Endgame.
Forget it. By this point, they'd do better to just leave Marvel's Fantastic First Family alone. Even if they don't rely on "diversity" casting for this planned movie, that doesn't mean it won't be held hostage to the kind of wokeness that's become a sad staple in modern major cinema. Not to mention liberal political propaganda. And special effects have become more annoying than thrilling. I got only so fed up with heavy FX a quarter century ago, and I firmly believe it'd be far better if animation were to serve the purpose live action dominated far too much for decades. If major studios wanted, I'm sure they could launch marketing campaigns effective enough to sell everybody on animation as much as Japan's long been convinced is worth it. Instead, all we get is more frustrating live action blockbusters that aren't availing any.

I'm a big fan of the FF, and own a lot of the stories from the time when they mattered. But I cannot and will not support yet another superfluous live action blockbuster movie based on them. It's way past the point where it'd matter.

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About me

  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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