Random Fantastic Four Movie Thoughts

By | Thursday, February 22, 2024 Leave a Comment
Last week, Marvel announced a primary cast for their upcoming Fantastic Four movie. I hadn't planned on weighing in at all, but I'm drawing a blank on what to write about today, so I figure I'd throw out some thoughts on what I think should/shouldn't be in the movie. I'm not as invested in the characters as I used to be, but I do have some cred on the topic -- I had my first letter published in that comic back in 1988 in which I was also awarded a No-Prize; when fan sites were a thing, I ran FFPlaza.com (the largest, most comprehensive FF site on the web by a wide margin) for over a decade; and I've even helped out some of Marvel's writers and editors out by doing research and providing continuity checks. With some of that out of the way, here's what I think should/shouldn't be in the upcoming movie (in no particular order)...
  • No origin. We've seen it; it's been done. And it's not even necessary. ("How can you do a superhero movie with no origin story?" "The Incredibles.") Not to mention that if you try to use the original origin, it makes no damned sense to today's audiences. And there's not a decent way to update it without changing a lot of the motivations and characterizations -- regardless if it's a rocket or dimensional portal or whatever, the root problem is that maybe only two of the team should be there in the first place. Maaaaybe three if you add a scientist background for Sue. Johnny has no place there, and if you change things so that he does, he's no longer the same character. Skip the origin altogether.
  • No Doctor Doom. I know he's everybody's favorite villain and the MCU needs a new big bad with them having to drop Kang, but Doom isn't your opener. He should be more of a Thanos type threat, where he's only hinted at for several movies before he becomes the actual antagonist. In fact, I would suggest there should not be a villain at all! Why? Because the Fantastic Four aren't superheroes. They're a family, they're explorers, they work for the betterment of mankind by pursuing ideas and boundaries that will help Earth. They've not there to fight bank robbers or Nazis or whatever. Sure, they'll stop a purse snatcher if it comes up but that's not their goal. Let's leave villains out of this. (I'll get to story ideas that don't include villains in a bit.)
  • The offical art that Marvel presented has a very '60s vibe to it. I think this is definitely the way to start. This does several things. First, it immediately differentiates them from every other Marvel movie; they've got a unique tone right off the bat. Second, it explains why they're totally absent from all the Avengers related movies and the Thanos storyline. Third (and admittedly this is really minor) it lends credence to Dr. Strange's quip in Multiverse of Madness about how the Reed Richards he meets "charted in the '60s." (Fun fact: there was actually a band also called the Fantastic Four that got to number 6 on the R&B charts in 1967 with "The Whole World Is a Stage." Strange's commment had two meanings!)
  • The '60s vibe should be treated as if it were other media from that time period. That is, it should be set up and presented with the campy vibe of 1960s' science fiction movies like Fantastic Voyage and The Angry Red Planet. They shouldn't go as campy as Adam West's Batman or anything, but it should give the same vibe as going to a drive-in in the '60s.
  • But that should only be the first act of the movie. The team should go off exploring or adventuring somewhere where time runs differently than in our reality. The Negative Zone, for example. They jump in back in the '60s and when they come out, it's been a few hours or maybe days for them, but it's been decades for everyone else. They pop up in the MCU in the current continutiy (sometime after The Marvels) and suddenly find themselves having to adjust to a half century of technological and social changes. Which gets me to what should be the hook of the story.
  • Instead of villains, the story should then focus on how these four people have to adjust/adapt to life in the 21st century. Reed has no problem with the technology updates, but is even more clueless when it comes to social cues. Ben is now additionally haunted by the loss of many of his old friends. Sue has to catch up on what feminism and activisim looks like now. Johnny is initially excited for all the new stuff and the promise of even greater celebrity, but gets literally slapped in the face when he tries his old pick-up lines. Maybe he gets slapped with a sexual assault lawsuit too. The story, then, is on them acclimating to 2025. Can they maintain their 1960s-era optimism in light of... well, whatever this hellhole of a world has become?
  • Now, if you want to additionally tie it into the MCU more broadly, then you bring in the Skrulls. While the heart of the movie should be the emotional elements stemming from what I listed in the previous bullet, the superficial plot can revolve around the team helping to find the Skrulls a new home. That's a danglng plot point from Secret Invasion and The Marvels, so have Reed either design an entirely new scanner that can find a suitable homeworld in a way that Carol Danvers couldn't and/or have the team terraform some otherwise uninhabitable planet.
So that's what I think should happen. I doubt it will; it's not any prediction of any sort. I'm just throwing out what I think should be in a FF movie.

(Also, I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that the fan art I'm including here was done by Luis Felipe N.)
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