Ever since Michael B. Jordan was cast as Johnny Storm/Human Torch in the new Fantastic Four movie, the majority of the Internet has not been very accepting to the idea. And, that’s putting it kindly. In truth, the reception has been flooded with real nasty, hateful, ignorant, and racist reactions – the very worst that the Internet can be.
Normally, when the Internet lets loose a wave of hate, talent and creatives just let it pass on by them and ignore it. In today’s case, however, Michael B. Jordan has taken a stance against spoken out about it.
The young and talented actor recently wrote a guest article for Entertainment Weekly in which he addresses the haters and internet trolls that came out to attack. Some of the things he said he saw on the internet were, “A black guy? I don’t like it. They must be doing it because Obama’s president” and “It’s not true to the comic.” Or even, “They’ve destroyed it!”
In the article he says that he understands everyone’s perspective and that he can’t ask this kind of audience to “forget 50 years of comic books.” But he goes on to say that the world is more diverse than it was back in 1961, and that “if Stan Lee writes an email to my director saying, ‘You’re good. I’m okay with this,’ who am I to go against that?”
The actor goes on to share his feelings saying:
“This is a family movie about four friends—two of whom are myself and Kate Mara as my adopted sister—who are brought together by a series of unfortunate events to create unity and a team. That’s the message of the movie, if people can just allow themselves to see it.
“Sometimes you have to be the person who stands up and says, ‘I’ll be the one to shoulder all this hate. I’ll take the brunt for the next couple of generations.’ I put that responsibility on myself. People are always going to see each other in terms of race, but maybe in the future we won’t talk about it as much. Maybe, if I set an example, Hollywood will start considering more people of color in other prominent roles, and maybe we can reach the people who are stuck in the mindset that ‘it has to be true to the comic book.’ Or maybe we have to reach past them.”
He concludes the piece by addressing the Internet trolls directly, saying:
“To the trolls on the Internet, I want to say: Get your head out of the computer. Go outside and walk around. Look at the people walking next to you. Look at your friends’ friends and who they’re interacting with. And just understand this is the world we live in. It’s okay to like it.”
I can’t say I was initially on board with Jordan as Johnny Storm. That’s not because I firmly believe comic characters should be portrayed by their races as depicted in the comic. In fact, there have been quite a few cases where a white character has been portrayed by a black actor and have absolutely crushed it. We have Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and Idris Elba as the Asgardian God Heimdall. Those are two shining examples where the context of the character and performance of the actor transcends race – they are now who we think of when we hear/think of those characters. But I digress…
The reason I wasn’t initially for Jordan as the Human Torch, is the same reason I wasn’t on board with Miles Teller as Mr. Fantastic, Kate Mara as Susan Storm, and Jamie Bell as The Thing – they’re exceptionally young and aren’t conducive of the characters at all.
I’m a fan of the Fantastic Four comics. I have an emotional connection to it. This Fantastic Four reboot has not proven to me, as of yet, to be in-line with what I find familiar to the comic. Whereas I see a trailer for The Avengers of any of Marvel’s super hero movies, I instantly recognize them and get a sense of feeling of what I know and love about those characters. I don’t get that with this movie. That’s ultimately, I think, the basis for a lot of the hate going around about this reboot.
There is going to be trolls and bigots, that’s the Internet for you. For the rest of us, anonymity and emotion often takes hold over our better selves. I wish the Internet wouldn’t be so specious, and instead comment reasonably and intelligently. However, what most everyone is trying to say, is that this is not The Fantastic Four with know or want. Everything else is just stupid Internet noise.