Remake & Reboot: The Fantastic Four Movie

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. And in the world of comic book movies, that’s been the case — and in some cases they’ve pulled it off. The most popular hero in the world, Superman, is a poster child for this — after the lackluster performance of 2006’s Superman Returns, Warner Bros. has dusted off their pants and are jumping back in the saddle with 2012’s Man of Steel. And in an attempt to help out our friends in Hollywood (and engage in a little bit of fun ourselves), we’re going to look at some sub-par super-hero movies and re-envision them for another go.

First up is Fantastic Four. Marvel’s First Family has seen the silver screen on three occasions — an abortive low-budget film in the early 90s, and a pair of movies in 2005 and 2007 by director Tim Story. At the time there was talk of a third film with all the actors already signed on, but the studio got cold feet after the second film raked in half the first film. And fans weren’t too keen either, with RottenTomatoes.com giving them 26% and 37% positive reviews respectively. In 2009 Fox announced that had plans to reboot the franchise, even throwing out a potential name (Fantastic Four Reborn) and some casting potential. If Fox doesn’t make a movie soon, a clause in the contract with Marvel allows the movie rights to revert back to Marvel — and Fox surely doesn’t want to give up a potential money maker. So let’s help them out.

The Concept:
At the heart of the Fantastic Four mythos is the idea of a family unit going through a crisis and coming out the other side with a new look on life. For some its a gift, and others it’s a curse. Much in the same way Lee & Kirby’s original debut redefined superheroes, these need to be fallable and full of humanity. This also needs to be full of science — and I’m not talking high school science class, but something broader. This thing needs big ideas.

Maybe you could dispense with the origin — or keep it in the title credits — and jump right into the FF acting as a family unit. And forget Dr. Doom as your first villain, or Galactus even — much like Nolan’s Batman Begins, it might be better to leave them on the shelf for further down the line. The FF have the most unique and memorable rogue’s gallery of all super-hero teams. What about the Skrulls — an green-skinned alien race invading each by pretending to be us. The invading force could be led by none other than Super-Skrull.

Remember, this would be unlike typical super-hero movies — big ideas, but with big monsters. It’s like A Beautiful Mind mixed with District 13. These aren’t super-heroes — these are science-heroes.

The Director:
The previous film series took a comedy director and gave him the keys to one of Marvel’s biggest franchises. While risks are sometimes good to take, maybe a more informed risk would be prudent this go around. Consider director David Yates — a TV director who broke out by directing four of the Harry Potter movies. He knows how to deal with a sprawling cast, expensive special effects and media scrutiny – and best of all, he’s likely looking for a new project to make a name for himself on. This is it.

The Cast:
Like I said, theย  team itself requires a group with an amazing ensemble feel — so either 4 people who already know each other, or who are good enough actors to make it work.

Reed Richards / Mr. Fantastic: Comic fans have been trying to find the perfect role for Jon Hamm in a super-hero movie, and this might be it. Although he’s not much a family man in Mad Men, Hamm’s got enough range to put it off while also showing a bit of brains. He has just the right talent to be a super-hero who’s known more for his mind than his super-powers

Sue Storm / Invisible Woman: Although she’s stated several times she doesn’t plan on being in any super-hero movies, Reese Witherspoon would be a perfect fit for Fantastic Four’s lone female. She’s proven herself numerous times as an A-List actress and she has the drive to match wits with Jon Hamm as Reed Richards any day.

Johnny Storm / The Human Torch: Although some speculation has him as the role of Reed, I think Jonathan Rhys Meyers might be best for the team’s brash hothead. He’s shown it with aplomb in the TV series The Tudors, and has some real-life antics to match Johnny Storm’s wild side.

Ben Grimm / The Thing: Although the casting of Michael Chiklis in the previous flicks was interesting, the directing played him off more as comedy than most would have liked. What if you brought in well-heeled actor James Gandolfini (Sopranos) to voice the part. Remember, if we skip the origin then we would only see the rocky Ben Grimm — giving a chance to go completely CGI like Gollum in Lord of the Rings ; Gandolfini could simply voice the part and allow an expect stunt person like Doug Jones or Andy Serkis to play out the movements. ย 

Super Skrull: Filling out the cast as the face of the Skrull invasion, this part would be ideal for Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. He has the physique, and more importantly, the talking ability to seem like a viable threat against Marvel’s First Family.ย 

Comments

  1. I dont think that the FF can ever be sucessful as a movie franchise. Just from listening to my friend’s opinions of the movie, what they hated most was what I think is essential to a FF movie, the family dynamic. Say what you will about the movies, but I think they nailed the family aspect, it’s just that your mass audience doesn’t seem to want that out of their superhero movies

  2. Well it looks like the Skrulls might be in the Avengers movie, which would tie them up with Marvel Studios… so how about Mole Man as the first villian (backed by a hoard of Godzilla sized monsters).  Cast Danny Devito or Warwick Davis as Mole Man…

    or if we want to explore the family issue from another side with the bad guy… Puppet Master, the step father of Alica Masters (Thing’s girl friend). 

  3. Some damn good ideas here.

  4. Well fucking done.  I like all of your suggestions!

  5. Are you aware that Jonathan Rhys Meyers is among the earths worst actors? Also, y’all need to stop the Mad Men obsession from getting in the way of your casting choices; you can’t have Jon Hamm in every lead super-hero role! I think they should do an all out sci-fi movie, maybe get Duncan Jones to direct it? Studios should develop stronger creative relationships with the comic writers, when dealing with the adaptations?

  6. I actually liked both of the FF movies, and thought that the Rise of the Silver Surfer was a fun movie. 

    Looking at your concept here, I think your casting is PERFECT!  I think a lot of this is dependent upon a good director and a good script.  You know, like most movies. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. It is hard to imagine the Silver Age Marvel origins apart from the nuclear-related angst of the Cold War that was integral to these characters (Hulk, Spider-Man, FF, etc.). It seems to me that the reconstructed origin in the earlier film fell flat because it didn’t feel relevant to viewers. In the wake of the disaster in Japan viewers may identify more closely with that element now.

    Also, isn’t Jonathan Rhys Meyers a little old to be playing a teenager? There are plenty of rising teen stars who could fill the role of Johnny Storm. Maybe this could be the Beeb’s entre into film? J/K ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. Jon Hamm isn’t right for Mr. Fantastic.  You need someone nerdier.  Say what you will about Ioan Gruffudd, but he was nerdy enough, and had the right amount of leadership abilities to make a great Reed Richards.  I don’t know who else to put into the role, but not Jon.

    Reese Witherspoon isn’t a perfect choice, but I like her.  Personally I kind of like January Jones, the new Emma Frost, but since she is the new Emma, I don’t want her playing Susan.  Reese is a great choice.

    Jonathan Rhys Meyers is a good choice.  He’d be a little more of a ladies man then Chris Evans.  Chris was good, but he was a little too juvenile for Johnny.

    James Gandolfini could manipulate his voice I guess, but I just can’t hear him being Ben.  And him playing Ben before the change is a horrible choice.  I say just bring back Chiklis.  If you don’t want Chiklis back then Bruce Willis would be okay.

    The Rock as the Super-Skrull is a great choice.  I’m not really crazy about a Skrull invasion in the movie, but if it was just the Super-Skrull, I would like it.  Maybe Super-Skrull would make Reed realize that there are other Skrulls on Earth posing as important people, building up to a massive invasion in a future movie.

    The problem with doing a great Skrull Invasion story is that Fox owns Fantastic Four.  They’re not in a shared universe with the Avengers and doing the Invasion would be extremely self contained and uninteresting.  Plus, we’ve already seen the Super-Skrull in Rise of the Silver Surfer when Johnny took on all four FF powers at once.  I would rather see the Fantastic Four fight Nihilus, Blastaar, and the Negative Zone.

  9. At risk of being disputatious, may I point out that Johnny Storm WAS a juvenile? He was 16 when the series began. Instead of romanticizing him as a “playa”, embracing the character as Stan Lee conceived him in the early days of the comic (that is, as a TEENAGER) could open up a younger demographic.

  10. Why does everyone keep wanting to CGI the Thing??  Gosh, do I have to keep reminding people of Ang Lee’s Hulk all the time??  I guess the motion capture stuff is better than doing a total CGI, but I still think it works better to have the actor in the room.  Chiklis was great.  I don’t care what anyone says.  Thinking outside the box, how Jeffery Dean Morgan for the Thing??  I know they’d never get him, but doesn’t it make you giddy thinking about it??  I think Rhys-Myers is a bit old at this point for Johnny and can anyone really do a better job than Chris Evans did??

  11. @marshak75  Ang Lee’s Hulk looked great.

  12. i like the idea of the FF vs. the Skrulls since it could tie into the marvel movie-verse since (allegedly) they’re using them in the avengers movies.

    that said, i’ve never liked reese witherspoon

  13. Johnny was a juvenile, but what’s the point of a remake if he’s going to be the same Johnny?  Why not just continue where the franchise left off.  I’d rather see a different take on him, even if its a slightly different one.  In the original FF movie he was slightly older then the Johnny from the comics and his personality wasn’t very fitting and make him 16, going into space, isn’t very fitting.  But I see your point cahubble09.

    CGI Hulk was horrible marshak75, but a real life, breathing, living, organic character like Hulk, or the Navi from Avatar is hard to do.  But a CGI man made out of stone would look awesome because he’s not living, breathing, skin.  But I do agree with you, a guy in a suit is better then a CGI character.  I just think they should do something different.  If anything else, they could have a guy in a suit, then upgrade his look a little  with a little CGI to make him look more like stone.

    wangman31888, the FF are owned by Fox and the Avengers are owned by Marvel.  They can’t cross the two movies together as long as another production company owns the rights to them.  And the cost of getting the rights back to Marvel is too expensive.  The X-Men, Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Daredevil, and Ghost Rider will never cross paths with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, unfortunately. 

  14. @conor  Agreed.  Also, it looked much, much better than the Ed Norton one.

  15. i like your casting but i wouldnt have the skrulls. That said, I agree with mikegraham6, it just doesnt work as a movie.

  16. I think the Rock would work better as Namor but maybe that’s just me.  Also, I remember Elizabeth Banks was gunning to play Sue Storm in the Tim Story film so somebody should be sacked for dropping the ball on that one.

  17. I think the key is the portrayel of Reed.  The can’t make him simply a science nerd.  If he is the “smartest man on the planet”  he should act different then your typical nerd.  He should always be multi-tasking, maknig intutive leaps that other people don’t see, and just generally harder to sympathize with.  

  18. @thepowerout  You need to watch some Tudors.  Watch it beyond just the first couple episodes to see the range Jonathan Rhys Meyers has.  Ignore the action flick with him and Travolta, that was a bad director and script combo.  There are some actors that do need to be told how to act, other actors that ignore those directions *cough* Bruce Willis. 

    My vote for the villain would be for Mole Man!  You could see lots of creature effects (bring in Del Toro’s team just for that), and in true Marvel style a villain you can sympathize with.

  19. Actor suggestions = perfect!

  20. @Conor – nope.

  21. @KickAss  Yep.

  22. I look at Ang Lee’s Hulk as a noble failure, but it wasn’t the effects and CGI that were the problem. I thought Bana was great and I loved how the Hulk looked like him. Now the poodles and Nick Nolte… that’s another thing.

    Plus the CGI was Hulk was a decade ago. It’s not a good yardstick to measure what can be accomplished now. There are enough digital character victories to know it’s all about the performance of the voice actor and the animator.

  23. that is the first Jon Hamm casting i have ever seen considered on this website that makes the slightest bit of sense.

    In terms of Director, if we’re doing this thing were we come up with dream situation. I think, Duncan Jones would be great. He has awesome sci-fi chops, he could bring those hickman like “big ideas,” as the iFanboys like to say, to the movie

  24. @conor, I never said it didn’t look great. It just wasn’t very interactive.  Yes, it was a long time ago, but the Thing has to be somewhat real in the shooting.

  25. Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    I’d really like to see a low budget version of Unstable Molecules. 

  26. I always thought Annihilus would make a pretty bad-ass villain for an FF movie, and presenting the Negative Zone would really give them a chance to have the FF doing crazy cool science and exploration.

  27. @Tork  I think I really like the idea of Namor in a FF movie. Could work the love triangle idea

  28. @thehumaneclipse: I agree. I guess I was thinking that the repartee between a twenty-something Johnny Storm (played by a thirty-something Rhys Meyers) and the Thing would be substantially and qualitatively different from similar witty banter between a teenage Johnny Storm and the Thing. I would find the latter more engaging. With that said, while I think fidelity to the comic book canon is important, I am in no way a doctrinaire pedant. ๐Ÿ™‚

  29. I freaki’ LOVE the idea of Dwayne Johnson as Super Skrull. Make that happen!

  30. Director should be Spielberg

  31. The problem is for some reason we think we have to have famous actors in these movies. Why not cast people who can act AND actually look the part without looking at their names?
    Otherwise we end up with more of the same crap.

  32. What’s your definition of lackluster in regards to Superman Returns? I’m just curious. Because Batman Begins only made $5M more than Returns. Do you go by gross vs. budget? Because honestly, $200 million isn’t really all that bad for most movies. And yes, I say this knowing that the budget was $270 according to the site. But I’m also saying most movies.

  33. @conor  I’m the opposite.  I really didn’t care for the first Hulk movie, but I loved the second.  I was much more emotionally attached to Norton’s characterization.  I also thought the CGI fit with the background/landscape better than in the original film.

  34. @vadamowens I wasn’t speaking to the quality of the film, rather the merits of an all-CGI character.

  35. @conor  Ah. Sorry for the confusion

  36. No. Terrible choices all. Naw. John Hamm is too much of an Ingenue to be Reed, you need someone who’s thinner and more cerebral. I saw someone give a nod to Matthew Morrison (from Glee) somewhere, and that’s more the direction you want. Reese would be okay, but just OK. I think that Naomi Watts would be a better choice: natural Blonde (unlike Alba) who has classical looks. Johnny Storm can be anyone who’s pretty and can play a complete toolbag (that’s why Evans did so well in the first film), and “The Thing” HAS TO BE Brad Garrett. He has the voice, the size, and the acting chops. Gandolfini doesn’t fit the role, he’s okay as a Mob Father, but not as a giant but gruff pilot. And SuperSkrull, meh: whatevs. Find me a Good DOOM and that’ll be the key here. My first choice would’ve ben the guy who played Klytus in the 1980 “Flash Gordon” movie, but he’s dead. You need someone who can go TOTALLY over the top and really sell the fact that he’s a crazy Latverian despot. 

  37. Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    That’s not what ingenue means. 

  38. I don’t like the Jon Hamm casting suggestion here, but…I could warm to it. (I have no suggestion myself.)

    All other casting suggestions are great, especially Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Dwayne Johnson. I could really see Meyers as Johnny.  (As for the Super Skrull background, you could even explain him as an alien skrull who was accidentally exposed to the same “radiation”/cosmic rays/whatever the FF were exposed to, so he got powers along the same lines as theirs, but because he’s an alien you ended up with the sweet of them, instead of just one. This way, you can just have the Super Skrull without the whole race of skrulls showing up — and it doesn’t require the skrulls to make him in the FF’s image. Just an idea.)

    And I would love a CGI Thing.  Up until now all the Things have looked like guys in rubber suits. I want a rocky Thing moving around and being taller, wider, and just bulkier than a regular actor could be.  He needs to be imposing in size, but then happy and comical with the kids. I think Chiklis was okay in his suit, but it really fit the idea of a squishy, muddy, smaller Thing from the first issues, but nowadays Ben is a really big bruiser (and don’t skimp on the rock).

    I’m still up for a period piece from the 60s — Reed with the pipe, test tubes, big computer rooms, typewriters — you know MAD MAN the thing up.

    But if it’s in the current day, then we need the kids…or at least Franklin.  Skip the origin (perhaps imply it in the title sequence like in the Incredible Hulk), but make sure we have a family here.  The kids make then a family.  (“Hold on, kids, Uncle Ben is here!“)

    And they need to be a world famous team.  I mean, it isn’t simply have they have no secret identities; they are celebrities.  Villains know right where to find them,

    And if 20th Century Fox could make some sort of deal or something with Sony to just have Spider-Man swing by the window, I would love it.  He doesn’t even have to come in.