Fantastic Four re-boot on its way from Chronicle director Josh Trank

The first family of comics, the Fantastic Four was born out of Stan Lee’s frustration as a writer and the steady decline of sales on the science fiction and monster books peddled at street corners by his publisher. Lee’s wife suggested that since things were going down fast anyway, why not write a comic the way he always wanted to? He had nothing to lose, after all.

Despite the superhero boom of the 1940’s, the genre had fallen out of vogue, supplanted by talking animals and humorous titles starring Dobie Gillis and Jerry Lewis. This was largely due in part to the witch hunt started by Fredric Wertham who pinned the degradation of youth to comic books. It hit the medium hard and the Comics Code Authority limited the creativity of the artists and writers. That is, until what is regarded as the Silver Age of comics exploded. In DC Comics, this was reflected by the relaunch of the Flash, across the street at what would become Marvel Comics, it was the arrival of the Fantastic Four.

Dubbed as ‘heroes with problems’ the FF struggled with the bills, finding a parking spot and escaping the press while battling world-threatening entities. It’s common practice now, but at the time the standard practice was to portray superheroes as lantern-jawed do-gooders without a sliver of personality. In sharp contrast, the Marvel superheroes were all personality!

A mixture of science fantasy and superheroics, the Fantastic Four were explorers of the strange and wonderful, themselves transformed into freaks by weird cosmic rays. The unique quality that remains a hallmark of the FF is that they are a family. They argue and disagree, but there is a bond that cannot be broken within the team that makes them special. Artist/writer Jack Kirby is also a large part of the success of the Fantastic Four as his signature style left an indelible mark on comics. The collaboration of Lee and Kirby on the FF is legendary and shaped the future of modern comic books for generations.

Throughout the many years, there have been several different creative teams on the Fantastic Four and different lineups as well (my personal favorites include the John Byrne run and the current Jonathan Hickman series). There have also been cartoons and a pair of motion pictures (unless you count the Roger Corman one and that makes three).

Unlike most, I hardly damn the two Fantastic Four movies as awful, they are lacking some superb quality that should have been evident on screen. Seriously, these movies should have had all the impact of The Avengers and the end result felt thrown together in places, mostly in the portrayal of Doctor Doom. However, the family dynamic, hokey humor and action were well displayed and Michael Chiklis as the Thing was inspired while future Captain America Chris Evans as Johnny Storm nearly stole the show. However, Jessica Alba and Ioan Gruffudd had zero chemistry as Sue Storm and Reed Richards and that’s inexcusable.

Since the Avengers is the third highest grissing movie in the history of film… 20th Century Fox want to give it another try. As Chris Evans stated after the second FF, the films were not major hits but it showed audiences and the studio that such a movie could be done.

Maybe third time is the charm?

‘Chronicle’ director picked for ‘Fantastic Four’ reboot
Via Movies

July 12, 2012, 11:15 AM EST
By Brent Lang
Twentieth Century Fox has tapped Josh Trank to spruce up its “Fantastic Four” franchise, a studio spokeswoman told TheWrap.

2004’s “Fantastic Four” (©Twentieth Century Fox)
The 28-year-old director made a big splash last spring with his low-budget feature “Chronicle,” a found-footage film that tracked three high school students with telekinetic abilities.

Made for a mere $12 million (roughly the cost of the bagel and cream cheese budget on “Rise of the Silver Surfer”), “Chronicle” racked up strong critical reviews and $126.6 million at the worldwide box office.

It appears that Fox is taking a page from Warner Bros. and Sony’s strategies for Spider-Man and Batman, by taking an up-and-coming director without a lot of big-budget experience and allowing him to find the heart in a comic book franchise. The first two “Fantastic Four” movies were financially successful, earning over $600 million globally, but the consensus among many fans and critics was that they were loud and dumb.

The Fantastic Four are a superpowered family who routinely save the world but also have to grapple with infighting and jealousy. Now it’s up to Trank to discover the spark that makes them sizzle.

2 thoughts on “Fantastic Four re-boot on its way from Chronicle director Josh Trank

  1. I think we agree on the good and the bad of the recent FF movies. In #1, the fact that we didn’t really get Doctor Doom until the final act… and it was literally minutes before the end credits to boot…. that made for a weird movie.

    Movie #2 was kind of a Silver Surfer movie… and Galactus was a letdown… although, DC/Warner must have liked it because I swear you could take the Galactus footage and the Parallax footage and shown out of context without the heroes, I defy people to say which was which!

    I think the actors were fine… but the scripts were lacking. FOX clearly didn’t put as much into the FF movies as Sony, Universal, and now Marvel have been doing. I would have liked to see them turn a corner, rather than another reboot… but now that Chris Evans is Cap… he can’t be the Torch anymore!

    I think a good choice of story for a movie might be the Puppet Master. He doesn’t require big budget, and yet he is a good enemy… and (spoiler) as the father of Ben Grimm’s Alicia, it makes for a nice sub-plot to deal with too.

    Another good story is the one (I forget the name of the story) where the guy who hates the Thing switches bodies with him intending to destroy the FF… only to be enthralled by the family and ultimately sacrifices himself to save Reed. That would make a really good movie… and they could tweak the danger to save on F/X money in the alternate dimension if they want.

    I was also hoping to see the Thing’s appearance evolve over the course of a few movies from the original blobby look to the rocky look he had later. And how great would a Hulk/Thing battle be? IF they could cross-over between the companies and do that, it would be great.


  2. I thought the previous Fantastic Four films were dreadful – for me it was down to the poor, second tier cast (Julian McMahon as Dr. Doom particularly spoke volumes about the quality of the production) and any real sense of style and imagination (I mean they’ve got about a hundred issues worth of great Jack Kirby art for reference). Obviously there were budget restrictions on the films, which is why we got a big cloud standing in for Galactus, but regardless of that there was a lack of vision from the director.

    To do The Fantastic Four justice you really need a big budget, that’s just the nature of the concept. For me it should have the scope of the original Star Wars trilogy and the sense of adventure and fun you would associate with the Indiana Jones films. If you’re not going to pump money into a comic book adaptation that involves super powers, inventions, space travel and aliens then there isn’t any point in doing it. The Fantastic Four could be a great movie if done right.


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