Nine Fantastic Four scenes we want to see on the big screen!
Few superhero movies have been approached with as much audience malaise as Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four, the fourth adaptation of the Marvel Comics series (if you count the 1994 unreleased Roger Corman version). Information about the film was barely trickled out at first, and it seemed for all the world like 20th Century Fox – the studio rebooting their previous and unpopular Fantastic Four franchise, which spanned only two movies between 2005 and 2007 – had something to hide.
And then the trailer came out, and audiences were… less than enthused. If anything, we still can’t tell exactly what’s going on. The movie comes out in barely a month (on August 7, 2015) and we have basically no idea what’s happening in it, other than there’s a big spire of light, and it probably takes itself super seriously. But… we can dream. We’re such big fans of The Fantastic Four that we wanted to share the moments, images and ideas that we really want to see in a movie, whether or not Trank’s film actually provides them.
Because someday, someone’s going to do a Fantastic Four movie right, and at least some of these things should be a part of it.
Fantastic Four Scenes: The “Real” Doctor Doom
We’ve had three Fantastic Four movies already, and the closest we’ve ever come to an accurate depiction of their greatest nemesis – and one of the greatest villains in comic book history – was in the bootleg Roger Corman version from 1994. How sad is that? While reports that the new Doctor Doom gets his start as a blogger (really?) doesn’t inspire much confidence, we suppose it is possible that in a roundabout way they might finally give us the Doctor Doom we want: a scientist on par with Reed Richards, an egomaniacal would-be world conqueror, and a benevolent dictator whose oppressed people love him with all of their hearts.
Speaking of which…
Fantastic Four Scenes: Latveria
Doctor Doom conquered Latveria, his home country, a tiny Eastern European nation with a population of about 500,000 but which quickly became, under Doom’s guidance, the ninth richest nation in the world. Three Fantastic Four films later and we’ve still never had a good look at the place in live-action apart from Doctor Doom’s castle. Would it kill filmmakers to finally let us take a peek at this fascinating country, complete with the awesome holiday “Doom’s Day,” which takes place whenever the heck Doctor Doom says it does?
Fantastic Four Scenes: Deus Ex Doombot
In the comics, Doctor Doom is hardly ever defeated, only inconvenienced. A big part of the reason is because he almost never does his own dirty work, enlisting high tech “Doombots” to fight for him. Introduced in his very first appearance, The Fantastic Four #5 (way back in 1964), the Doombots were a great way to let the Fantastic Four overcome Doom’s latest villainous plot while still walking away unfulfilled. “We’ve got you now, Doom!” and then he just blows the hell up, while the real Doom laughs over an intercom. Foiled again, Richards!
Fantastic Four Scenes: The Yancy Street Gang
Ben Grimm has a hard enough life as it is, saddled with rocky skin that probably flakes if he doesn’t bathe in moisturizer every day. Making his life a lot harder was the Yancy Street Gang, a group of bullying pranksters from his old neighborhood that Grimm used to lead as a youngster. Now that he’s a celebrity, they have a tendency to send him booby-trapped presents that turns every visit from Willie Lumpkin into a potential nightmare. Grimm’s relationship with his old gang had its ups and downs over the years: he built them a recreational facility, and even found out that Johnny Storm was actually the one sending those explosive packages for all those years. But the constant reminder of where he came from, and the resentment those street toughs had over his newfound celebrity, was a big part of his ongoing emotional problems. We’d like to see at least some shades of that.
Fantastic Four Scenes: Ben Grimm’s Opposable Thumbs
Remember how in the 2005 Fantastic Four movie The Thing’s thumbs didn’t work? That movie cost $100 million and they cheaped out on his freaking thumbs. We’re pretty sure that CGI can handle it in Josh Trank’s upcoming film because seriously… who’s opposed to thumbs?
Fantastic Four Scenes: Giant Monsters
What’s the cover of Fantastic Four #1? The Fantastic Four, fighting a monster. Monsters are a big part of the Fantastic Four mythology, coming as they did right after a lengthy period in which Marvel Comics produced a lot of monster comics and no superhero books to speak of. They gave the heroes a sense of scale, overcoming impossible behemoths and unthinkable odds, and solidified the team as an adventurous group discovering new life forms and – when necessary – kicking the crap out of them. With this new team traveling to another dimension, and with the monster-ruling Mole Man playing a supporting role (played by The Incredible Hulk’s Tim Blake Nelson), we sure would like to see at least one of the danged things finally show up on the big screen. They can’t really beat up human beings and still come across as heroic celebrities, but giant monsters? Yeah, that’s fine.
Fantastic Four Scenes: The FF — Rebels
The Fantastic Four didn’t originally just fly up into space and get bombarded by cosmic rays, they stole a danged space shuttle. These people were willing to sacrifice everything in the name of science, and that’s an aspect of their characters we’ve never seen in the movies before. It gives a little karmic justice to their mutations, a sort of poetic “I told you so” after they mutate and get all angsty about having powers. Yes, the new Fantastic Four movie finds the team traveling to another dimension instead of traveling into outer space, but their program could still shut down at the last minute, forcing them to take matters into their own hands. These aren’t goody two-shoes scientists. These are badass scientists, and that’s what we want.
Fantastic Four Scenes: Kirby Krackles
Jack Kirby was the first Fantastic Four artist, and still all but indisputably the best. A big part of his talent came from visualizing ideas and concepts that by their very nature couldn’t be visualized. One of his most iconic visual conceits was what became known as “The Kirby Krackle,” which turned energy into a mass of evocative bubbles, practically popping in front of your eyes with power. It’s one of the great artistic inventions in superhero art history, gorgeous and simple, and the sort of thing that could easily be replicated on camera with the use of modern CGI effects. And it would look awesome.
Fantastic Four Scenes: H.E.R.B.I.E.
Back in the 1970s, when DePatie-Freleng Enterprises optioned the rights to The Fantastic Four to use in a kid-friendly animated series, they weren’t allowed to use The Human Torch. Rumor has it that they were afraid kids would set themselves on fire, but it probably had more to do with the rights simply being unavailable. Anyway, like many pop culture oddities, H.E.R.B.I.E. (Humanoid Experimental Robot, B-type, Integrated Electronics) started off as a joke but gradually became legitimized as a memorable part of the “real” comic book canon. A lot of us, perhaps with a little bit of embarrassment, have quite a bit of affection for the little guy. This probably has a lot to do with his appearances in Chris Eliopoulos and Marc Sumerak’s Franklin Richards: Son of a Genius comics, in which he essentially played the Hobbes to Franklin’s Calvin. Either way, he’s never made it into a live-action movie, and it would warm our heart to see him in one form or another.