Fantastic Hating

fantastic four cast

Fantastic Four drops this week, and we will soon find out if it truly is the abomination that so many were claiming it would be.  That is, of course, assuming that you didn’t already permanently make up your mind a year ago.  I tell you, more people have decided sans serious evidence that this movie is going to suck than I’ve seen before, to such a degree that it’s going to hard to trust most of the reviews the movie is going to get.  Many have even bought into a stupid rumor like Dr. Doom being a hacker because it supports their preconceived notion that the movie is going to be terrible.  Now while I don’t have any real intel or predictions into how the movie is going to be, I plan on going in to see it with an open mind.  But way too many people have already decided that the movie is a goner based on the following pieces of truly solid evidence:

  1. Johnny Storm is black in the movie
  2. Marvel Studios didn’t make it
  3. Johnny Storm is black in the movie
  4. Fox didn’t do a supersized presentation at Comic Con either last year or this year
  5. Johnny Storm is black in the movie

That’s about it.  The casting of Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm was a bridge too far for a lot of people.  While I’ve developed some sympathy for wanting to keep characters as they were and are in the source material, for this to be an absolute deal breaker is a bit much.  That one thing shouldn’t color (see what I did there) your perception so much that you latch onto every strawman you can find to reinforce your substance free downgrading of a movie a year in advance.  Now look, it may not be any good.  But if you think casting a good actor who’s a different race than the print version of his role is going to be the reason why, then just stop it already.  Delete your account.  If you really wanted a another Fantastic Four film but that one thing immediately turned you against it…….I got nothing for you.  If you allowed that one thing to lead you so far down the rabbit hole that you’re going to boycott the movie and hope it tanks so they’ll be forced to do it again and “get it right”………get a life already.

And the same thing goes for the crowd that’s going to skip it because they’re beloved Marvel Studios didn’t make the movie (for those who don’t know, Marvel does not have the movie rights to the X-Men, Fantastic Four, or Spider-Man).  There’s a contingent out there that believes that if any of those properties fails at the box office then the company that holds them will somehow surrender or sell the rights back to Marvel.  This is the logic that led people to engage in all kinds of reaching to declare Amazing Spider 2 a flop last yer even though it grossed the same amount of money worldwide as two other movies in the same genre (Cap 2, Days of Future Past) that were considered major hits.  The success of Marvel Studios has some people honestly believing that they are the only people who can make good superhero movies.  Never mind that a lot of these people also believe that Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 are two of the best superhero movies ever made, even though they were done by the dreaded Sony and not Marvel.  The new logic says that if we sit the next offerings from Fox and Sony that they’ll fail and the companies will be forced to just give everything back to Marvel.  Don’t hold your breath waiting, folks.

Here’s the reality.  The Fox-owned properties (X-men, Fantastic Four) aren’t going anywhere.  The X-men and X-men related films have all been very successful, even the bad ones like Last Stand and Wolverine: Origins.  The Deadpool trailer that just dropped has people more than ready to fork over their cash in February of 2016.  The previous Fantastic For films were profitable and this one will be too, even if it takes overseas proceeds to get it there because the budget was in Ant-man territory ($130 million or so).  And on top of all that Fox isn’t in the position that Sony is in with bad management and a hack that exposed a lot of their bad ideas and practices so there won’t be any internal pressure to make any deals with Marvel to share Spider-man onscreen.  You can complain and scheme all you want, it’s not going to matter.  If you want a ‘better’ Fantastic Four movie the best way to get it is go see this one on opening weekend and then give a legit critique on your movie site of choice.  If it opens well then falls off the map and gets bad word of mouth then yes, some changes will be made for the next one.  But that’s it.  The properties are valuable to the companies that hold them and a failure at the box office will only lead to a shelving and retooling, not a handover to Marvel.  But I don’t see it failing.

Why?  Because whether it’s by accident or on purpose, Fox has a formula that’s worked.  Their movies aren’t so much superhero movies as they are sci-fi/adventure films with superheroes as the main characters, so while they have managed to piss off the diehard fans who are serious comic readers they have made the majority of the audience, who do not read the books, happy with some perfectly enjoyable summertime popcorn flicks.  Even people like me who seriously read a lot of books, haven’t read enough X-men stuff to be wed to any particular characterizations or storylines.  And I have no history with the Fantastic Four.  Outside of them just making a bad movie altogether I probably will at least find it watchable.  If it’s any good as a movie then the “I just want to be entertained” portion of the filmgoing audience, which is a lot larger than the true to source material portion, will be fine with it.  There aren’t enough people who truly care about the Fantastic Four to make it sink or swim based on how they judge how well it matches the books.  Shoot, the book itself got canceled this year because it wasn’t selling anymore and the characters have been dispersed to other teams.  You really think that’s enough to make it fail and go back to Marvel?  Sorry folks, that’s not gonna cut it.  So see it, don’t see it, whatever.  Just understand that your year old pre-baked opinion, if you have one, isn’t really going to matter much.

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