We Can Never Have a Good Fantastic Four Movie

We can never have a good, successful Fantastic Four movie. Their time has passed and it’s not their fault. But everything good and unique about the Fantastic Four has been mined for other movies. The F.F. were the first in Silver Age comics, but look like the last in movies.

First, Stan Lee got away from the concept of teenaged sidekicks and gave us the Human Torch, a teenager as an equal partner. Later came Spidey. Lee and Kirby also introduced the family aspect of a team; they lived together and fought together. This has now been seen for years by millions in the X-Men movies.

Fantastic Four Annual #5 double splash page
Fantastic Four Annual #5 double splash page

The Fantastic Four have no secret identities. That’s been on the screen in several movies, including The Avengers and Iron Man.

The concept of the Thing, a misshaped, ugly “monster” with super-strength was original in Fantastic Four #1, but it has been on the screen in several movies, and a TV show as The Incredible Hulk. Reviewers have pointed that out, not knowing the Thing came first.

Fantastic Four #1 page 12
Fantastic Four #1 page 12

The BIGGEST THING is that the Fantastic Four cannot have a great villain: he has been stolen. Lee and Kirby created Doctor Doom in 1962. George Lucas stole it for Star Wars in 1976. You cannot have the full Doctor Doom…people will think that the original is a rip off of Darth Vader. Worse, Kirby extended that character in the New Gods comics in 1970. Lucas gave us the “Dark Side”; Jack Kirby had given us “Darkseid”. Lucas gave us the “Force”; Kirby had created the “Source”. And, of course, the big surprise in The Empire Strikes Back was that Luke Skywalker and Darth had the same relationship as Darkseid and Orion in 1970. (Then Lucas goes on Charlie Rose and says he got his ideas from studying Joseph Campbell). Ironically they are all owned by Disney now.

Doctor Doom

So while the comic was one of the most important and original of the time, its influnce was so great that it can only be looked at as an imitation today. Or, if they get drawn back (every pun intended) into the Marvel Universe, they’d make great guest stars.

One thought on “We Can Never Have a Good Fantastic Four Movie”

  1. I liked the 2005 Fantastic Four movie. I don’t think the fact some of the comic book’s innovations have already been seen on-screen precludes a successful movie (if that were the case no sequel or reboot could ever succeed; and Darth Vader has multiple sources besides Doctor Doom and I don’t think movie-goers mind having more than one villain that wears a mask, any more than they minded Harry Potter copying Lord of the Rings). I think someone could do a good FF movie if they 1) respected the original source material; 2) picked a strong villain (which means not reinventing Doctor Doom if they use him, but unfortunately they’ve messed that up enough times that they now need to pick another FF villain, and they already used the Silver Surfer as well); 3) used a good source plot that lent itself to screen adaptation (a task made harder by their previous mishandling of some of the best stories they could have used); 4) cast top actors instead of unknowns; and 5) stopped sacrificing the quality of the movie to Hollywood’s twisted, totalitarian instinct to force politically-correct garbage on the public. Since Fox and Marvel chose to do none of the above with the current movie, they have earned their self-inflicted loss. To pick up the pieces I recommend they stop rebooting the origin and start with a good screenplay.

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