Fairly or not (spoiler: it’s not), it’s becoming increasingly clear that the ongoing Marvel Studios success story is basically ruining the prospects of many fans (myself included) to have any kind of proper “anticipation factor” for Marvel Comics adaptations made by anybody else. It’s one thing to have a vague sense that this or that film might be better off in other hands, but another to know (in the case of an adaptation) that A.) you’re not getting a version remotely close to what you might’ve hoped to see and B.) that you all but certainly would be getting that version if not for circumstance of contracts and rights issues.
Case in point: This new most-recent trailer for FANTASTIC FOUR, which has me struggling to figure out if I’m underwhelmed and irritated that it looks like a drab, dreary misuse of The Fantastic Four or that it looks like a drab, dreary movie – period:
The previous trailers weren’t wonderful either, but at least there was enough vagueness at play to make it a legit question whether this looked like an outright bad movie or a movie I’d otherwise be more into if it weren’t trying to convince me it’s a FANTASTIC FOUR movie.
Thus far, what they’ve been selling has looked more like Josh Trank’s obligatory “bigger-budget version of the low-budget movie you just broke big on” entry with FF trappings awkwardly stuck to it; and while this still looks like that it’s also clearly meant to be the “Yup, it’s Fantastic Four!” trailer: Everyone is onscreen using their powers, reveal of The Thing, shot of Doctor(?) Doom while someone says “doom,” etc. For good measure, they’ve even thrown in the “hard open on city-skyline over loud bass sting” thing, so you know it’s a superhero movie.
And it mostly looks just… bad.
I like some of this. The general look is dreary and glum, which is about as tonally opposite the property as you can get… but it’s a well-shot, handsome looking version of dreary and glum, like someone working to imitate David Fincher’s preferred aesthetic. The cast seems to have chemistry, I like Reed not knowing how a fist-bump works, Michael B. Jordan continues to impress, etc.
The downside? Everything else. I dig the shot of Reed’s arm-muscles shifting around, but at the same time it makes me worry that they’re going to “nerf” his power-set away from “guy made of rubber” to “has stretchy limbs.” Kate Mara doesn’t seem to be registering as either Sue Storm or as a general presence. The Thing looks like he’d make a decent rock-monster minion in a fantasy feature of some sort, but he’s just not Ben Grimm and I always hate versions of The Thing that go the easy “made of rocks” route rather than the more alien, interesting classic designs.
Doom? Egh… it’s only one shot (and then another from the back), but you can already tell they’re going with him being another “altered” person like the heroes (the mask looks semi-transparent, maybe containing some kind of energy or for life-support) and… like I said, egh. I’m all for reinterpretation, but when it comes to Doctor Doom you’re not just talking about another piece of Marvel/FF mythos – you’re talking about one of the greatest villains in popular fiction of all time. Is it seriously too much to ask that we get a proper version of him onscreen before all the revisionism?