Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Intrigued by 20th Century Fox's FANTASTIC FOUR

I've fluctuated in and out of being a fan of Marvel's iconic family superhero team The Fantastic Four. I love reading some of the original stories due to their raw Kirby-ism. Similarly, I enjoy much of the John Byrne era for the way it incorporated X-men style soap opera drama to the book. And the Waid/Wieringo era is wildly entertaining. As a whole though, the Richards family has always seemed a little out of place in the Marvel Universe. Sure Reed stopped Galactus, but that victory merely highlights the separation. The Richards family are first and foremost explorers who encounter cosmic entities of vast power and keep them destroying mankind through a combination of scientific know-how and a never-say-die spirit.

The key point here is that the Richards (and Grimm) are explorers. They are Marvel's version of the Challengers of the Unknown, another Kirby creation, with the addition of superpowers and foes the like that only Superman would encounter in DC. As great as the powers of the Fantastic Four are, they pale before Galactus, Annihilus, Ronan, and Kang. When the FF books are at their best, they focus on the super-science, exploration, and family elements. When they are at their worst, the writers portray the team as a superteam more like the Avengers than the explorers they are.

Neither the Roger Corman, nor the more recent Chris Evans vehicle, captured the team in all of its glory. The Corman movie gets some things right, but it also gets so much wrong. Similarly, Chris Evans and Ioan Gruffud are perfect casting for their characters, but the interaction with Doom was off and don't get me started on the Silver Surfer film. I really wanted to like that movie, and I own it, but it just falls flat. With these failures, I wasn't surprised the 20th Century Fox would attempt something completely new with an "update" to the franchise. Like most fans, I was baffled by the choices they were making. The actors cast in the film have talent as performers, but they somehow didn't match what my concept of this team should be.

Then I saw today's teaser trailer. Now I'm intrigued. It looks like the movie will be focusing on a Challengers of the Unknown style narrative, and that is where the FF really shine. I know it's just a teaser, and that teaser's always look good, but I'm willing to give the film a chance. It may not be THE Fantastic Four, but it might just be A Partially-Exciting Four. Besides, the final shot of the trailer is just so STAR TREK V that if the film is terrible, it may just be terrible in the best ways.

Now to decide what game system to use when I convert the film into a campaign.

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