If at first you don’t succeed…well, in the case of the Fantastic Four film franchise, you make a slightly better sequel that still lets down the die-hard comic book fans and the filmgoing public. Am I wrong? I don’t think anyone rates the first FF particularly high on the list of comic adaptations; it’s overlong and more than a little bit cheesy, even though a miscast Jessica Alba, Chris Evans, Michael Chiklis et all do their best. Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer did wrong a few rights, with a shorter running time and a solid depiction of everyone favorites space-traveler. Even Julian McMahon’s Doctor Doom was a little more menacing. But still, Laurence Fishburne’s voicing of the Surfer was distracting and the less said about the cloud Galactus the better. Since the second film made less at the box office than the first, it makes sense that Fox has decided to reboot the franchise, which has led to all sorts of casting rumors over the last week or so. I thought I’d give my own two cents regarding who I’d like to see wear the FF’s gear. Some gel with the rumours, some don’t.
The word on the street is that Adrian Brody is being thought of as the leader of the group, the brilliant Mr. Fantastic. This bodes well for the franchise, since no one can doubt Brody’s acting chops – the guy has a freaking Oscar. He also asserted himself well in this summer’s action-pacjed Predators. Brody may not be a huge box office draw, but his talent speaks for itself and could go along way to giving the rebooted Fantastic Four some real credibility.
Jessica Alba tried, but she just didn’t pull off the complex nature of Susan Storm, who in the earliest days of the comic books alternated between strong and determined and catty and whiny, but who has been a leading female force in the Marvel Universe for years now. On that note, I would cast a vote for Bryce Dallas Howard to fill the character’s invisible shoes. Howard has a knack for standing out in tent pole films (Terminator: Salvation, Spider-Man 3, where she was also a blonde) and could definitely have some great chemistry with Adrian Brody.
Johnny Storm/The Human Torch
Say what you will about the first two films, but Chris Evans knocked it out of the park as the brash Johnny Storm. In thinking of who could take over for him, my first decision would be to ensure Michael Cera doesn’t come anywhere near the roll. After that, I would actually consider using Jensen Ackles from tv’s Supernatural. Ackles’ Dean Winchester is cool, cocky and heroic, traits that define Johnny Storm as well. You wouldn’t even need to dye his hair blonde.
Here’s what we know for sure – The Thing is going to be CGI, which means whoever is hired would only be appearing briefly as the human Ben Grimm. Rumors are swirling that Fox desperately want Bruce Willis for the role, which isn’t a bad choice, except that he and Adrian Brody are a little far apart in age to follow the classic story of Reed and Ben’s longstanding childhood friendship. Of course, adhering to cannon has never been a big deal for the folks at Fox and Willis has the kind of box office clout that Adrian Brody doesn’t.
Some fans absolutely despised Julian McMahon as one of Marvel’s most lethal villains. I didn’t really have any problems with McMahon’s performance; if anything, the role was underwritten and the character just wasn’t evil enough. The new Doom definitely has to be more badass, and if the rumors are true, it will be True Blood’s Stephen Moyer who will be putting on the iron mask worn by the ruler of Latveria. Not a bad choice at all, except that Moyer will likely have to wear lifts if he snags the role.
So those are my pics for the new and improved Fantastic Four. As for story lines, even though it’s too soon, I would love to see the mighty Galactus actually done right on the big screen. The Devourer Of Worlds deserves it, as do the legions of fans who got shafted on the last film. One thing is for sure – it’s going to be interesting to see who gets to bring the new version of the World’s Greatest Comics Magazine to life.