No, I am not writing the Fantastic Four movie, although Marvel, if you are looking I am available and my rates are extremely reasonable. I am though going to take a look at what has becoming the lonely redheaded step-child of the collective Marvel Movie Universe, the Fantastic Four.
Once known as Marvel’s first family, the comic book that really launched Marvel into the superhero genre the Fantastic Four (FF) have pretty much become a joke whenever anyone tries to make a movie out of their storied history. The first two Fox efforts, had a certain charm about them, but didn’t pull the numbers the movie execs were looking for, and the latest incarnation Fan4astic was just a five-finger stinker.
Now with the FF in development wasteland, and the characters scattered across the Marvel books (because Disney doesn’t want to do comic book movies for the characters other companies own the rights on) the question is, can another FF movie ever be possible?
Forget About Contemporary! Fantastic Four = Mad Men
I believe it is and can be done in such a way that it would totally reinvent the FF and bring box office all at that same time. You see, the problem with the FF they are kinda cheesy and a product of their time, which was the 60’s and I think that is where a FF movie should be set. Just look at that Jack Kirby panel, it tells you everything you need to know about the team.
Think about it, a FF movie with Mad Men attitude and a barrel full of their Hypertech. Forget about trying to make the FF contemporary, they simply do not fit, their tech is crazy, silly, quite cheesy and belongs in another era of the Jetsons, but that is how you make them work as a team. We need to make this a period Superhero story and from there it writes itself, because the FF naturally fit into the 60’s.
The MCU has now established a precedent of using legacy heroes in their universe with Peggy Carter or Antman, and I don’t think it would be a stretch to reach a decade further back with a story about a super-team of the time. You can use an opening credit scene to establish their origin, roll credits with a barrel full of cheesy FF merchandise, spinning news magazine covers to establish the FF as Superhero celebrities and then tell your story in full over-the-top 60’s grandeur.
You can even bring the FF into the current MCU timeline, by having a time experiment or dimension hop go wrong and blast them into the future. You would have Reed Richards figuring out all the new tech based off his less elegant (over the top) Hypertech of the day and butting heads with Tony Stark, Johnny Storm stuck in mad men attitude for picking up women and totally striking out, Susan Storm finding out about equality and bringing it to Reed (who is still stuck in the 60’s) and of course Ben Grimm (played by an actor in a prosthetic suit) can be even more grumpy now he is really displaced from everything he loves… But that all would be a story for another time.
The Fantastic Four has a long and storied history in the Marvel Universe, it would be a shame for them to swept away because as a superhero movie they really don’t quite work. But with a little era shift, they would be so bombastic and unusually we could see them return to glory. This has to happen,.. So who’s with me?