Thursday, February 15, 2024

Fantastic! Fantastic?

Yesterday, Marvel announced the cast of the upcoming(ish) Fantastic Four film, and the announcement was Valentine's Day themed because... Reed and Sue are a couple?

(I've heard that there was a leak imminent and Marvel wanted to get ahead of it.)

Anyway, I hope it will be good. A decent film adaptation has been a long time coming -- yes, I know, The Incredibles -- but part of me does wonder if it's cursed and should be left well alone. But it's the Fantastic Four, you know? They are very much a cornerstone of Marvel, even if all the films have been rubbish and -- if we're honest -- no one really likes the comic either.


I have two main hopes for the film, neither of which I feel confident will be happening.

  • Skip the origin. The origin story of the Fantastic Four is by far the least interesting bit. They go up in a spaceship. Cosmic rays. Crash. Superpowers! If we really must have this on-screen, it can be covered in a credits montage, like the opening of Superman II, and the film can start with them already established.

  • Do not make Doctor Doom the villain. Doom is one of Stan and Jack's greatest creations, and he's an integral part of the Fantastic Four concept, but most of the best work with the character was done after they moved on and Doom engaged with the wider Marvel Universe. It would be an awful waste to reduce him to the bad guy who gets done over at the end of two hours. The rumours that Marvel is rejigging the big Kang metaplot to use Doom instead give me a bit of hope that he won't be squandered. Fingers crossed.

The casting of Pedro Pascal as Reed Richards also worries me a bit. Pascal seems to be one of the genuinely loveliest people on the planet, which makes me think that in casting him as Reed, Marvel thinks Richards is a nice guy. He really isn't. In the Four's very first appearance Reed causes an accident that gives his friends powers (yay?), calls himself "Mr Fantastic" in response, and dubs his alleged best friend Ben -- who has been transformed into a hideous rock monster and probably needs some support right now -- a "Thing". And this is in issue #1! His behaviour does not improve.

You can make a complicated, difficult Reed who is still a good guy; it occurs to me that Peter Capaldi's Doctor is probably the best accidental adaptation of Richards. He's fiercely intelligent, infinitely curious, generally on the side of good, but absolutely weapons grade terrible with people, because empathy is not a legitimate scientific discipline. Will Marvel go in that sort of direction or will it be Cuddly Daddy Reed? I fear the latter.

(At this point, I should link to my article on Reed Richards, which was apparently the most popular thing I wrote in my former life as a comics journalist. Enjoy.)

So there you go, my thoughts on the Fantastic Four film, which won't be out for a year and a half, if at all. A comics -- sort of -- piece on the blog. What is this, 2006 or something?

Friday, February 09, 2024


I feel terrible posting this video, because of my crippling self-loathing, but I also realise it's good for my "brand", whatever that is. There's also a US sale going on, so:

I feel sick.