Josh Trank‘s all-new, all-different Fantastic Four hits theaters everywhere next year, exactly 10 years after the first time a major Hollywood studio tried to make Marvel’s First Family, if not an Avengers level chart smasher then at least an X-Men par hit movie. But it wasn’t either. Despite getting enough grease to warrant a sequel, Tim Story‘s two Fantastic Four movies remain a giant example of what not to do when adapting a comic book into a film. But seriously, how does Story feel about his movies 10 years after the fact? Let’s ask him.
While Story was talking to ScreenCrush about his new film, Think Like a Man Too, he took a time out to reflect on where it all went wrong in regards to Fantastic Four. “Look, I don’t want to say only the fanboys, but I’d say the normal audience has just gotten into more serious tone,” Story said. What he’s referencing was the release of Batman Begins, which came out mere weeks before Fantastic Four.
“I don’t want to say ‘darker,’ because that doesn’t seem right. But, just a little more straightforward. And I don’t know if that’s come from the videos that kids are playing now or whether it comes from what I consider to be a great medium now, television. It just has a lot of darker stuff. I don’t know where it really comes from, but the tone has gotten a lot edgier and kind of straightforward. It’s going to be interesting just to see, when you think of some of the few superhero movies that may garner a different tone, like an ‘Ant-Man’ or even with rebooting Fantastic Four. It’s going to be interesting to see if there’s room for that. I just like laughing and when it can make you kind of smile, it just makes the characters a little more accessible. We’ll see what happens.”
Long story short, Fantastic Four was ahead of its time. The current slate of Marvel movies seem to enjoy the weird and the unconventional, just look at Guardians of the Galaxy, or the appearance of Thanos at the end of The Avengers, or the slate of upcoming movies that includes Ant-Man and Doctor Strange. In the present environment, one might get away with a giant humanoid Galactus in blue and purple, but back in 2007 maybe not so much. Instead, the bosses were freaked out by the prospect of the old fashioned Galactus, hence… The cloud.
I think at the time there was a little bit of a fear of going all of the way with that. Because it’s hard to completely grab the concept. You know, if you know about Galactus, you know how powerful he is and how big or small he could be. And the fact that he does travel in a spaceship and so forth and so on. That’s a very big concept to kind of digest. And I think at the time we made the movie, I think the studio also had a little fear of what that was going to be. I think to a certain degree, we shied away from it because of that. But, I think in today’s world now, especially with them looking to do things like Ultron.
In other words, if Tim Story had made his Fantastic Four movies today, they would have been better received. Maybe.
Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Because the Silver Surfer, if you know his origin, it’s very alien. It’s outer space. It’s a whole other thing and, so, I don’t think at the time I was making the movie the appetite was for that. I really don’t believe I could have gone that far then. I don’t believe I could have. So, when you look at where the audiences are now, it would be fun to bring that to the screen. The excitement is so big for the filmmaker, whether it’s this group or what — to bring that to the screen, yes, to answer your question, it would have been really fun to do it in this day now. It’s just more acceptable of the supervillain because, my gosh, when you think of somebody like Galactus — that’s big. That is big. The costume is big. And you’ve got to really go for it and you can’t just put your toe in the water, you’ve got to freaking dive in.
Of course, maybe Fantastic Four and Rise of the Silver Surfer might have just sucked. The casting for two key parts – the Invisible Woman and Doctor Doom – were way off the mark, the make-up effects on The Thing were sub-par, there seemed to be no faith in the source material from anyone in the production, they had Vancouver doubling for New York City, and last, but not least, Galactus was a GIANT CLOUD! Hopefully, Trank can do, and will do, better.