Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #192 - Fantastic Four movie (2015)
Hi Mom, BRACE YOURSELF. Lots of content here. It's intentional. I like to wrap-up. I like to collect past content together in one place. And in my two different blogs, I have written a fair amount about the Fantastic Four. Though I want to write about the Fantastic Four movie (2015), I have a lot more content here about The Fantastic Four to bring together much of what I have written before, mostly (though not exclusively) in my T-shirts blog: T-SHIRTS CATEGORY FANTASTIC FOUR and SENSE OF DOUBT CATEGORY FANTASTIC FOUR.
Okay, so, I had to see it, even though it made many people's worst films of 2015 list. But it's the FANTASTIC FOUR, and they are my favorite, and so...
PLUS, I bought the DVD of the film for you to give to me symbolically, Mom. THANK YOU.
IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS IN THIS MOVIE SKIP AHEAD TO THE SAFE TO READ NOW SECTION.
So, it was pretty awful. And my review will not be organized. I am going to ramble. If you venture forward, prepare to deal with it.
Though pretty awful, there are redeeming factors for me as a comic fan and a huge Fantastic Four fan, but all things considered, the other two films may actually be better.
BUT there were visually some things that made it worthwhile, and I liked the characterizations, despite the limited time spent on them, though I do think Ben Grimm got that short end of the story both as a human and as the Thing.
Really, all the characterizations were pretty bad. Grimm (Jamie Bell) suffered because he was off screen for a long time and then brought back in an artificial way simply to be in the crew to get his powers. What a terrible tragedy. Imagine getting a phone call late in the night to meet your friend, whom you have not seen in months, for what is essentially a joy ride to get shafted with "powers" that turn you into a huge rock thing with apparently no penis (the Thing goes pantless, IE. "naked," throughout the movie). I will be pissed at my friend, too.
Reed Richards (Miles Teller) is supposed to be smart but we don't see much of that smart. Sure, he has incomprehensible doodles in his notebook as pre-teen, then he builds a teleporter to another dimension as a teenager, and granted this then buys his way into an off the books black ops government-funded think tank where he catches on to what they're building with very little study time. But we don't really see him solve problems using his super brain. Instead he's a socially awkward teen and "gosh, shucks" goofy.
Johnny Storm (Michael B Jordan) is too one-note. He's a rebel and a hot head. But he's also a mechanical genius? Okay...
Susan Storm (Kate Mara) may be the most interesting character in the film, but she is not allowed to do much either with her brain, with the Reed-Victor Von Doom (Toby Kebbell) triangle, or with her powers.
And so, the film didn't really know what to do with its characters. Even Victor Von Doom was one-dimensional and more or less completely undeveloped.
And yet, my favorite part gave a little character development. Reed tries to chat up Sue in the facility library. She has ear buds jammed in her ears. He asks her what she's listening to, and she says "Portishead." He thinks Portishead is a person and she corrects him. That's it. Cute moment and good mention of Portishead, who are not really on the music landscape right now (and the film is supposed to be set in the present though it's somewhat unclear).
There are a few more moments in which it is clear that Susan prefers Reed to Victor, but there's no real scene or scenes that define, well, anything.
There's eye candy for fans especially, such as a glimpse of a well done Baxter Building. There's some good SFX. But none of that redeems this film from being a narrative mess, ill-conceived and poorly executed.
As a huge Fantastic Four fan, I will not quibble with all the changes to the mythology because updates were needed and even making the characters younger is not a terrible idea. But if changes are going to be made, they should be improvements, and here, they are not. The handling of Doom is terrible and ultimately stupid in the extreme. As I already mentioned, Ben Grimm is called up to participate in a trip to another dimension simply so he can become the Thing, which is also pretty stupid.
Apparently, there will all sorts of issues in production and ill-treatment either of the director (Josh Trank) by the production company or the other way around. The director wrote an apology for the film's poor quality before it came out. But I don't care about any of that. At some point the film is simply judged on its merits.
Just past halfway through the film, it loses cohesion, and it becomes a series of scenes that are needed for a film of this kind and yet the scenes don't hold together, the characters don't hold together and are unexplored, the dramatic tension is nullified because neither the narrative nor the characters are supporting much of a story, and though there are some nice SFX, the whole thing collapses like a flimsy house of cards.
How to fix it? Re-think the paradigm.
We have a glut now. The film industry is saturated with superhero films, which have become very popular due to successes like The Avengers and The Guardians of the Galaxy. However, the Fantastic Four shows no imagination at all in making a movie that is not like the Avengers. By not trying to be a blockbuster, a good film about the comic book world's first family may BECOME a blockbuster.
The Fantastic Four are a family first and foremost. Secondly, they are dealing with a family dynamic while responding to world-threatening crises. They respond with ingenuity, grit, and initiative.
Give up on the origin. Reboot the Fantastic Four set years into their development as a team and a family. Have guest stars like the Inhumans, the Mole Man, and so on who are taken for granted as part of the mythology. No one's doing this kind of thing. All the film makers think they have to ESTABLISH mythology. No, that's not the case. The mythology is already there in the comics. Take it as established, find a story that hits the right notes of family, cool inventions, and threat (maybe not even a global crisis as that kind of thing is getting old), flavor the whole with complicated relationship with other powered beings and explore the CHARACTERS.
Does that sound like a pitch?
Well, it was.
+++++++++++++++++ SAFE TO READ NOW +++++++++++
Obviously, I am a HUGE Fantastic Four fan. There was a TV cartoon during the important formative years of my early childhood (1967). Kirby was at the height of his powers when I started reading comics, and the 1967 issue of The Fantastic Four that was my first Fantastic Four comic and one of my first ever comic books (see explanation farther along in this MONSTER blog).
So at a formative time for me, the Fantastic Four was MY superhero family. Around the time that Susan Richards gave birth to a child, my mother gave birth to a child while the team dealt with Galactus, again.
Worse than suffering a poor film, the team no longer exists in the comics. After the fragmentation of the Secret Wars, the Thing and the Human Torch both have roles in current comics but Mister Fantastic and the Invisible Woman along with their children are off the landscape. There's no Fantastic Four comic.
There's a hole in the Marvel universe, like a hole in a mathematical function.
So presented here, for the first time, pretty much all my Fantastic Four content, mostly recopied though in some cases simply linked.
But first, really, the creator of the team. JACK KIRBY. Here's the category on Kirby and below a quickie note, one of my favorites bits from my T-shirts blog, to explain the injustice of his situation. JACK KIRBY - T-SHIRTS CATEGORY.
"Kirby Screwed" is taken from T-shirt #83 X-Men Logo.
KIRBY SCREWED: I just read the first issue of a new magazine called Comic Book Creator. The issue can be read for free online. There is also a great blog article on Comic Book Justice: Taking Credit (Part One) about Jack Kirby. Though not directly related, but in keeping with my trend for recommending books, another book that I frequently recommend to my wife along with Pattern Recognition as "one of the best books on the shelves of this house" is Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, which explores the ways in which comic book creators of yesteryear were not fairly compensated for all their creations. There may be no comic book creator as prolific and as poorly compensated as Jack "The King" Kirby.
Just for some quick perspective on this issue: Kirby created Captain America, the Fantastic Four, The Avengers, Spider-Man, Thor, Iron Man, the Hulk, Doctor Doom, the Silver Surfer, and The X-Men among many, many more. The total movie revenue (just movies, not the merchandising or other related revenues) earned so far from just those creations listed is SEVEN BILLION DOLLARS ($7,310,655, 909). This figure does not include revenue from Iron Man 3 or any movie thereafter.
Jack Kirby died in 1994. The Marvel/Disney empire is reaping astronomical profits based on Kirby's creations. Kirby's family has received exactly zero compensation in profit sharing from the movies featuring these creations.
Reflect and connect.
Have someone give you a kiss, and tell you that I love you.
Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.
- Days ago = 194 days ago
- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1601.15 - 10:10
REPRINTED FANTASTIC FOUR CONTENT
Originally presented in Weekly Comics for 1405.14.
Fantastic Four #004 - It's no surprise that I am going to keep writing about and shilling for my favorite comic books.
If I have not made the point enough times on this blog, I established well on my T-shirt blog how much I love THE FANTASTIC FOUR.
Check out this entry for T-shirt #344 - Fantastic Four, which contains a lengthy review of the first new issue of this current run of the Fantastic Four comic book, plus a ton of Fantastic Four content and a collection of links for all of my previous Fantastic Four content on the T-shirt blog. Lest I forget, there was some Fantastic Four content on this blog. In fact, it was my first blog entry here at SENSE OF DOUBT:
THE “New and Improved” INVISIBLE WOMAN: Does she look like she needs protecting?
So, with this week, I come to the fourth issue of the current issues of Fantastic Four, better known as The World's Greatest Comic Magazine.
Here we have a return of the Frightful Four, who attacked Ben Grimm and a powerless Johnny Storm. Though Mr. Fantastic and Invisible Woman arrive, the battle goes poorly, especially without the Human Torch. The Thing gets clobbered by a new Bulldozer, a woman, the original's daughter, who has donned the gear and has a bad attitude for all things Fantastic. Just in time, the FF crew -- She-Hulk, Ant Man, and Ms. Thing -- show up and lend a hand. Turns out the whole thing was a lure. Unable to resist attacking Johnny when powerless, Reed Richards engineered a lure for the Frightful Four's vanity, knowing they would be beaten and captured.
Though this issue is not the best of the lot so far, it's a crucial story for what's to come, and the final scene sets up the next story. As the Fantastic Four return to the Baxter Building after bagging the Frightful Four, they find themselves locked out of their home, their children re-located to a "safe" location, and the team served with papers to appear in court.
More to come as it appears that issue #5 came out two weeks later!
This is a link to the original post: T-shirt #207 - Fantastic Four Grey
I love the Fantastic Four. I love the family dynamic, the strong sense of history despite Marvel's revisions and rebooting, and the top talent that often takes on the comic that came to be known as "The World's Greatest Comic Magazine" when Lee and Kirby helmed the flagship title.
The Fantastic Four is a family, and the book is at its best when it remembers that the core concept is family.
It's a bit of a non-traditional family with a man in an "uncle" role living with his best friend and that man's wife and the wife's brother. And though the addition of the first child, Franklin, was traditional (as a product of Sue and Reed's conjugal union), the introduction, later, of Valeria, who would have died if not for the intervention of Doctor Doom: See Valeria Richards Wiki. Again, more subject matter for another day as I plan to devote myself to short assorted nuggets of content since I am here at the beginning of the work week.
The image on the shirt was drawn by John Buscema, who replaced Jack Kirby on the Fantastic Four title, producing issues 107-141 with Sinnott on inks, starting in 1970. Writers Roy Thomas and Gerry Conway.
There is a controversy over who actually invented the Fantastic Four (I side with Kirby), but this is a subject for another time. I have other Fantastic Four shirts.
I have written about the Fantastic Four off and on throughout the blog, such as when I shared a cover gallery and one of my favorite FF covers in T-shirt #168, when I wrote about how Jack Kirby was screwed in T-shirt #83, and when I wrote about the Silver Surfer and shared another of my earliest FF covers in T-shirt #104. Though interestingly, I have not shared my earliest FF cover (#69) as an image yet on this blog. Guess what? Yes, that is also a subject for the next FF shirt. :-)
Today is a collection of random thoughts and pictures. Enjoy.
|One of the final Images|
of John Buscema's FF run
Originally presented in T-shirt #305 among other comic book covers.
Originally presented in T-shirt #344
T-shirt #344 - Fantastic Four Logo - printed - blue-long-sleeve
I have been awaiting the launch of the new Marvel NOW! Fantastic Four with a mix of dread and anticipation of dread. There was just a lot of dread, actually. Terrible fear and dread and anxiety that there would be misery and suffering that could not be salved with any healing balm.
Really. It's like those plastic troll dolls with the blue hair, you know those? For three months, now, I have felt like hundreds of those little dolls with their fake beady eyes were drilling into my brain and planting dread spores, sitting on the back of my skull with their cantilevered drill works and scaffolds and the terrible and sickening malaise of what could be A VERY AWFUL COMIC BOOK.
Thankfully this was not the case.
IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS IN THIS COMIC SKIP AHEAD TO THE SAFE TO READ NOW SECTION.
There's been a great deal of discussion about James Robinson (new writer on the Fantastic Four comic for MARVEL NOW) in the comic book store. My good friend and fellow writer Jeffery Johnson has been hyper-critical of James Robinson because of his recent, dreadful work on DC's Earth Two and especially prior to the new 52 the abysmal JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRY FOR THE JUSTICE series, which I did not read.
Prior to these "terrible" comics (for the record, I did not have as much of a problem with Earth Two as Jeffery did, though I will admit that some of the plot elements were handled in a sloppy fashion), James Robinson was held in very high esteem, so much so that an announcement that he would take on one of my favourite comic books would not strike terror in my entire dermal layer. In the past, especially the 1990s, James Robinson had created great comics such as LEAVE IT TO CHANCE (with the amazing Paul Smith), Golden Age and The Justice Society in the 1990s for DC, and of course, he wrote the amazing STARMAN (with Tony Harris) that I have discussed at length in T-shirt #138 and T-shirt #276. Given the dread I felt that a writer with a good track record but recently uninspired work would ruin my favourite comic book family, I am pleased with the first issue of the new Fantastic Four for MARVEL NOW.
In dramatic fashion, the splash page features a determined Susan Storm Richards, the Invisible Woman, sitting at a desk writing in a journal. For effect, the page is mostly shrouded in shadow with the one lamp providing the light around her seated figure.
Immediately fans will note the red uniform rather than the traditional blue (as in my photos of the t-shirt), which James Robinson has claimed there's a purpose for the red uniforms, though this purpose is not revealed in the first issue.
Sue is recounting a tale, in a diary entry to her children, at some point in the future, of the tragic events about to unfold in the lives of the Fantastic Four. By the point of her journaling, Reed Richards, Mister Fantastic, is a "broken man, a shell" ; Ben Grimm, the Thing, is imprisoned on murder charges sealed by Reed's testimony; her brother Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, is "a lost soul" and is shown drinking in a bar surrounded by women; and she confesses to being heart broken and alone.
This opening sequence introduces the characters after a fashion as any good first issue should do, which then opens on a double page splash in true epic comic book tradition, tying the team to its roots of monster fighting, which distinguished the very first issue in November of 1961.
The titles follow on another double-page spread heralding this tale as the "FALL OF THE FANTASTIC FOUR."
The battle ensues in which the characters are further defined for those who are picking up the comic for the first time. Reed, the genius, must calibrate his neutralizer gun while the rest of the team distracts the creature and protects the innocent. When it looks as if the Thing is injured or killed from a blow by F-F-FOOM, Johnny Storm shows his concern for his best friend and then his natural tendency toward mocking and heckling when he sees that his friend, Uncle Ben, is all right.
The team works together to defeat the monster as each has a role to play in ensuring that Reed's neutralizer does the job. With the major battle out of the way establishing the heroes as courageous, efficient, and powerful, Robinson plugs in the heart and soul of all the Fantastic Four comics: the personal relationships. Aided by some gorgeous art by Leonard Kirk (pencils), Karl Kesel (inker), and Jesus Aburtov (colors), the personal stories unfold, connecting to the recent continuity (Valeria is in Latveria with "Uncle" Doom) and establishing conflicts: Sue is hurting and lashes out at Reed, Ben wants to get back together with Alicia, and Johnny signs away his space-faring freedoms to a new tour contract. Meanwhile, as Reed and Sue bond over the grieving the absence of their daughter, the Future Foundation children run amok in need of supervision an discipline, reminding us all that this book is first and foremost about a family.
Much like an episode of The Waltons, the comic ends with the characters shown one at a time, happy, for now. Reed and Sue are nestled in each others arms, Ben and Alicia have reunited, Johnny flies happily through the night eager for his new career to begin, the Future Foundation children are covered in chocolate and dreaming blissfully. Sue's diary narration returns here to remind us that this is all the beginning of the end as she wrote at the beginning of the comic. The story ends as an ominous hatch marked only as "GATEWAY F" has its status light change from SEALED to UNSEALED and frightening insectoid creatures spill forth, bursting out of the Baxter Building and into the Manhattan night.
I am pleased with the start of the new Fantastic Four comic. James Robinson seems to have shaken off whatever rust or ill-conceived writing ideas were plaguing him at DC lately and delivers a strong first installment to a story that promises to shake the foundation of Marvel Comics' first family. The art is superb and the production values are of high quality. The comic ends with an editorial from new editor Mark Paniccia, sharing of his love for the team and his deep history with it (which shows me that he's about ten years or a little more younger than me).
Hold on tight. I am ready for more. Are you in?
Here's some text I have been saving and was going to present prior to the debut of this issue but decided to wait for the debut instead.
WORD OF THE NERD NEWS ITEM
All-New Marvel NOW! marks a brand new start for Marvel’s First Family – from the award winning creative team of James Robinson and Leonard Kirk! And they’ll take them to places you’ve never seen before in the all-new FANTASTIC FOUR #1 – on sale this February!
The Fantastic Four’s lives are full of deadly twists and turns. They’ve explored other dimensions, fought terrifying monsters, and stood together against some of the Marvel Universe’s deadliest villains! But they’ve always done so together. So what happens when the Fantastic Four go their separate ways?
The brilliant Mr. Fantastic, the compassionate Invisible Woman, the hot headed Human Torch, and the ever lovin’ Thing are about to embark on a new mission full of danger and excitement – and one that will see the Fantastic Four meet their untimely end!
“New readers and long-time FANTASTIC FOUR fans are in for an emotional and action-packed roller coaster ride that will tear the team apart at the seams,” says Senior Editor Mark Paniccia. “Broken hearts, betrayal, conspiracies and even murder will test this family of super heroes beyond anything they’ve ever experienced.”
FANTASTIC FOUR #1 also features a special 75th Anniversary Cover by legendary artist Alex Ross! This stunning cover celebrates 75 years of Marvel with a gorgeous rendering of the Fantastic Four in Ross’ rich, highly detailed style. Don’t miss your chance to own this piece of Marvel history!
All-New Marvel NOW! brings you the biggest creators and the biggest characters in the biggest stories! Don’t miss the beginning of the end for Marvel’s First Family when FANTASTIC FOUR #1 hits print and digital this February!
FANTASTIC FOUR #1
Written by JAMES ROBINSON
Art & Cover by LEONARD KIRK
Variant Covers by ALEX ROSS, JEROME OPENA,
SKOTTIE YOUNG, and KATIE COOK Also Available!
ON SALE FEBRUARY 2014!
GENERAL ARTICLE ON THE NEW FANTASTIC FOUR
Robinson mixes past and present for new 'Fantastic Four'
REVIEWS of THE NEW FANTASTIC FOUR
FROM WORD OF THE NERD
FROM COMIC VINE
FROM COMIC BOOK RESOURCES
+++++++++++++++++ SAFE TO READ NOW +++++++++++
Okay, safe to read here. If it's not entirely clear, I am a huge fan of The Fantastic Four. The transformations of these characters after their trip into space was both exciting and horrifying. Though the dreams of every child comic book reader were filled with the ways in which a serendipitous accident would confer super powers to the dreamer, the story of these four also warned of the dangers. Though Sue, Reed, and Johnny could pass form "normal" when not using their powers, Ben Grimm was forever changed, trapped in that hideous orange rock body. He did not even have the luxury of hiding his monstrosity like the Angel in the X-Men who bound his wings in a special harness worn under regular street clothes or Bruce Banner, who managed times of respite and normalcy, as long as he remained calm, between bouts of being the Hulk. The Thing also established the greatest theme of Marvel Comics' early years, the tragedy and angst of the New Wave of super heroes, more complicated versions of their counterparts from the 1940s and 1950s. Reed Richards carried the guilt of causing his bets friend's seemingly irreversible transformation, though they would both seek transformation all the time, a "cure," which may not be the best thing after all (and never was each time they found a way) as Ben Grimm always returned to being the Thing without the chance to pass for normal. Though Reed was tormented by guilt, Ben Grimm's anger and pain were much more of a driving force for the stories of The Fantastic Four for most of the 1960s and 1970s.
My first Fantastic Four comic book made this motif abundantly clear. I started my reading of Fantastic Four in December of 1967 with issue #69. Looking over the next twenty issues or so, I would estimate that The Fantastic Four was definitely my favorite comic book as I have more of those early issues from 1967-1970 than any other comic book.
The Fantastic Four try to fight Ben and subdue him, for his own safety, as the New York police call in the Air Force to take him out.
In a cover that harks back to King Kong, Kirby does some of his best and most dynamic art work and story telling as Jack Kirby was the driving force behind the excellence of The Fantastic Four comic.
Not only did this comic inspire me for its story and compelling art, but it cemented my FF fandom already fueled by the 1967 cartoon (see ad farther below) from Hanna Barbera.
Also, this issue of Marvel Comics, my first, opened up a whole new world to me of Might Marveldom from writing Stan's Soapbox and drooling over ads for Mighty Marvel T-shirts (see image below). I was entranced by Marveldom and wanted my own No Prize in the Might Marvel Manner. I was a REAL FRANTIC ONE from then on.
Examining the run of issues in that time period, this may be one of the few cases, especially at such a young age that I bought the next issue (#70) as well as seven of the next ten issues (72, 74, 76, 77, 78,79, and 80).
But in December of 1967. I was five about to turn six years old. I was just learning to read. My father (and sometimes my mother) was still reading to me before bed. Often my choices were comics, often I chose THIS and these other Fantastic Four comics. It was all about family. It was all about HOME.
To the left is Ben's final vow to "get" Richards for his betrayals as this story was continued in the next issue.
Check out this art in the page below (page 12) from issue #69. This is some of Kirby's best work. In fact, I would argue that Kirby's work from the issue one through when he left the book in issue 102 is the best and most fertile period of the Fantastic Four and some of Kirby's bets work in comics. Kirby really begins to hit his stride in the issue numbered 20s and 30s and begins the most classic period of FF history with issue 48, "The Coming of Galactus" and especially the run starting with issue #68 and moving through the second coming of Galactus, Doctor Doom stories, Ben in space as a prisoner of a War Games despot, culminating in issues with the Frightful Four, the Inhumans, and the mega-battle issue 100 are some of the most amazing work in all of Marvel Comics history!!
SPECIAL KIRBY TECH STUFF
This nifty blogger, BULLY of Bully Says Comics Oughtta Be Fun is doing 365 days of tech created by the master Jack Kirby. Here's two of my recent faves.
Also, because of Reed Richards' Thing-Finderer...I mean, his Portable Energy-Detector.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2014
Reed may call it the Compu-Beam, but I like to say it's the Fantastic Four's Bathroom Alarm.
MY FANTASTIC FOUR CONTENT SO FAR (on this blog)
I am charting my Fantastic Four content by adding a Fantastic Four category. To sets of links here. First, links in which the Fantastic Four is featured on the shirt. Next, blog posts that featured "significant" Fantastic Four content, by which I mean more than a quick mention or the monthly item in the Weekly Comics List.
FANTASTIC FOUR SHIRT SPECIFIC
T-shirt #207 - Fantastic Four - Grey
T-shirt #235 - Fantastic Four Blue Long Sleeve (DIY) and Comic Book News
SIGNIFICANT FANTASTIC FOUR CONTENT (not shirt)
T-SHIRT #104 - SILVER SURFER, DAREDEVIL BLACK PANTHER
T-SHIRT #185 - BLACK PANTHER-1978
T-shirt #168 KUDL White (Fantastic Four cover featured)
T-shirt #305 - Michigan sectionals (Fantastic Four cover featured)
And over on my SENSE OF DOUBT blog:
THE “New and Improved” INVISIBLE WOMAN: Does she look like she needs protecting?
This post about the Invisible Woman was the first post I ever wrote for a blog and it still exists back at the beginning of the blog roll.
FANTASTIC FOUR WIKIPEDIA
The Wiki entry contains a great examination of who created the Fantastic Four Stan then Jack, Jack then Stan, or both Stan and Jack concurrently. It's worth a look if you're interested. I have too much content on this page to explore it at this time. :-)
...and just because.... (actually I might add my own review of this one later).