When JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA debuted and began dominating sales, it wasn’t AVENGERS that was Marvel’s first salvo back. It was FANTASTIC FOUR.
FANTASTIC FOUR was Marvel’s first family. Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1961, it was the first super team created by the duo who would create more iconic characters in their lifetimes than practically the rest of comic-dom combined.
Unfortunately, despite being a wonderful sci-fi adventure family movie waiting to happen (like THE INCREDIBLES…), adaptations haven’t gone smoothly. There’s the reviled 1990 adaptation from Roger Corman that barely saw the light of day, and then FOX’s FF two pack from Tim Story became one of the worst comic book adaptations that arrived in the wake of X-MEN and SPIDER-MAN’s success.
FANTASTIC FOUR was all about family, and in many ways, it’s the closest to a sitcom Marvel gets. The previous movie franchise failed on pretty much every level, especially when it came to casting. Ioan Gruffudd looks the part as Reed Richards, but delivered a performance more bland than four day old white bread. Jessica Alba’s “performance” was almost as invisible as her character, and she was never a good fit as Sue Storm. Michael Chiklis’ Thing wasn’t the worst thing about the movie, certainly, but that’s not saying much (plus, his orange rocks hardly looked better than the Toxic Avenger). On the other hand, Chris Evans as Human Torch was practically perfect casting (even if they made his character one-dimensional), but he’s certainly gone onto whiter, redder, and blue-r pastures now.
The movie lacked chemistry between the leads (save perhaps Chiklis and Evans), and they just bungled the villains. Which is a shame, because FANTASTIC FOUR also has one of the best rogues gallery in comics, starting with my favorite villain of all-time, Doctor Doom, along with the Super-Skrull, Galactus, Annihilus, Mole Man, Molecule Man, the mercurial Namor the Sub Mariner, and the misunderstood Silver Surfer.
Unlike DAREDEVIL, FOX wasn’t keen to give up the rights to FANTASTIC FOUR. A reboot is scheduled, aiming for a 2015 release date (along with every other big blockbuster). THE FANTASTIC FOUR’s script came from newcomer Jeremy Slater, but THOR, X-MEN: FIRST CLASS and frequent FRINGE writers Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz have also reworked it, along with bestselling writer Seth Grahame-Smith. Josh Trank, the writer-director of the critically acclaimed superhero found-footage film CHRONICLE, has been tabbed as the director, with X-MEN: FIRST CLASS and KICK-ASS director Matthew Vaughn producing and Mark Millar providing the hype.
Nothing has been set in stone on the casting front. It’s eerily quiet, considering it’s supposedly coming out March 6th, 2015. So let’s help FOX out, shall we, in another edition of CREEPY CASTING.
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