While I have no doubt that the rumored Bryan Singer involvement with Fox’s Fantastic Four reboot would do wonders for the franchise, and help save what was an atrocious first attempt, I think the problem is severe enough that the crisis council needs to start researching some other options.
RF and I have simmered on this for two weeks and we wanted desperately to say, of the recent Fantastic Four film, “It wasn’t that bad. It has potential.”
It’s not the worst movie to be stamped with the Marvel logo, but it’s in the conversation. Maybe Top 5. Having said that, however, we both agreed that the “potential” remains. And we hashed out one sure-fire way to make the most of said potential and rescue Marvel’s First Family from cinematic purgatory. Our patience is wearing thin; this is the fourth attempt at doing these characters justice. We need Marvel Studios to step in.
So that’s step one. Marvel regains the rights and brings the Fantastic Four into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Easier said than done, of course. It won’t be a simple matter of waiting out a failed attempt, as with Daredevil. Fox seems committed to their FF cast and concept, despite the justifiably horrible reception to the recent film.
So buy the rights. And bring the cast along with it. Don’t erase and re-hash; embrace and rehabilitate.
Now slow down, you’re thinking. The MCU is crowded enough. First The Avengers and of all their respective solo ventures, then opening the cosmic gates via Guardians and the impending Infinity action. TV tie-ins with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the aforementioned Netflix Daredevil. Spider-Man. Maybe including the FF in the existing X-Men “Singerverse” makes more sense.
The solution to this capes-n-tights congestion is simple. It’s been tackled already in the comics. Introduce the Ultimate Universe with the Fantastic Four. This is made even simpler given the fact that, in many ways, this cinematic reboot of the FF bears a closer comparison to the young kids of Ultimate FF than it does to the long-standing Marvel “616” family.
The way the MCU is used as a backdrop in Netflix’s Daredevil – with subtle references to guys “with a magic hammer” and Captain America, or not-so-subtle plot takeoffs like the Battle of New York – can be employed here as well. Imagine early references to a Tony Stark who never created the Iron Man armor, or a Captain America that wasn’t ever thawed out and revived. This cinematic FF can continue to exist in their universe, parallel to the cinematic universe being developed by Marvel, as the only super-powered game in town.
A better kicker? Give us a cameo crossover. The new FF film already has the alternative origin device. Instead of a rocket ship bombarded by cosmic rays, the genius kids invent a transporter that sends them into another dimension. Maybe a future trip gives them a glimpse into another parallel Earth, but this one looks a lot more familiar.
Don’t have the FF kids cameo in an X-Men movie; have some recognizable character from the MCU cameo in the next FF movie. Like, say, I don’t know… a grieving Wanda returning to her eastern European homeland. This fictional Sokovia could, perhaps, be neighborly to a fictional Latveria? Which would help solve the next problem.
Get Dr. Doom right. The new film’s Doom might be its most egregious flaw. Here’s an opportunity to fix that problem within the context of this Ultimate universe fold-in. The green-pulsing blow-up sex doll has been eliminated. Done. Left in Planet Zero or wherever the hell that was. But if our Ultimate FF team makes contact with the “616” MCU, we can meet a new Victor Von Doom and have another chance at doing justice to the greatest villain in Marvel history. Maybe this new Victor hitches a ride back to Ultimate MCU: new origin, new motives, and more behind-the-scenes villainy for the FF films a la Thanos with the Avengers and Guardians.
And, last but certainly not least. The fifth and final key to saving the new Fantastic Four. Give The Thing pants.