“Fantastic Four” Franchise: An Expedition
A fourfold dose of adventure, action, and fantasy…
“Fantastic Four” is a fictitious superhero team of American comic books by Marvel Comics which has been adapted into several animated shows and action films.
When it debuted in 1961, this superhero squad introduced a new level of realism thanks to Jack Kirby and Stan Lee. Ever since its introduction, it has remained a mainstay of the Marvel comic book realm.
Synopsis of the Comic
After gaining their superpowers with the exposure to cosmic rays during a scientific mission to outer space, the four characters of the “Fantastic Four”-Reed Richards, a technological prodigy, becomes Mister Fantastic, who can stretch his body to numerous forms and sizes; Susan “Sue” Storm becomes the Invisible Woman, who can generate tremendous invisible force fields and blasts; Johnny Storm, the Human Torch who can generate Flames and also surround himself with them to fly; And Ben Grimm, who transforms into the hideous Thing with tremendous strength, durability and durability owing to his stone-like skin.
A dysfunctional, though loving family has been shown in “Fantastic Four” from its debut in 1961. Dr Doom, the planet-eating Galactus, the Kree Empire's despotic enforcer Ronan the Accuser, Annihilus, Prince Namor, Silver Surfer and Kl'rt are all recurrent villains of the comic.
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This whole film series is based on Marvel Comics and features sci-fi, action-adventure, and fantasy genres as well. It paved the stage for the subsequent superhero series thereafter.
How about going through the series one by one?
Fantastic Four (1994)
Created only to acquire the film rights of the Fantastic Four from Marvel Comics, Bernd Eichinger engaged Roger Corman to make a low-budget dummy Fantastic Four film titled the same based on the comic.
In 1994, a trailer for the adaptation was released in theatres, and the actors and director remained busy with a promotional tour. The first film in the series, however, was never released.
Those who objected to the film argued that it was created just to maintain the licence. In the end, 20th Century Fox decided to make a big-budget version.
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Fantastic Four (2005)
The next film in the Fantastic Four series, based on the Marvel Comic of the same name, was released in the United States on July 8, 2005.
After Roger Corman's disastrous B-movie attempt, this was the second live-action picture to be made, which was directed by Tim Story, released by the 20th Century Fox, and starred by Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans, Michael Chiklis, Julian McMahon and Kerry Washington.
With this comic book adaptation, you'll learn all about how the squad got their super-hero traits and bizarre powers and how to stop the wayward Victor Von Doom or Doctor Doom, four astronauts whose lives get changed after being exposed to a cloud of cosmic radiation in outer space must utilise their abilities to defeat him before it's too late.
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)
Tim Story directs the sequel of the 2005 Fantastic Four film along with the screenwriter Mark Frost, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, which was released on June 15, 2007.
The film was starred Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans and Michael Chiklis in the lead roles with Julian McMahon, Kerry Washington, Andre Braugher, Beau Garrett, Doug Jones and Laurence Fishburne in supporting characters.
The story begins with the fact that despite everything appears to be going well, the team discovers that they aren't the only super-human powered entities in the cosmos.
Unknown silver object smashes into our atmosphere, emitting cosmic energy and creating huge atomic oscillations. The Fantastic Four reunite once more to take down the humanoid “Silver Surfer” who was serving his master Galactus to destroy the earth.
But Surfer's journey across the world frees the Fantastic Four's old nemesis, Victor Von Doom, from his captivity. After being unable to join forces with Surfer, Doom attacks him and eventually joins the four in their attempt to capture him.
However, there is an appearance of one enigma, the planet-eating, intergalactic lord of Surfer: Galactus. To save the planet from his wrath, the Fantastic Four and Surfer will have to face him together.
Fantastic Four (2015) – The Reboot
20th Century Fox remakes a reboot of the Fantastic Four, stylized as Fant4stic, which was released on August 7, 2015.
Directed and co-written by Josh Trank and starred by Jeremy Teller, Michael B Jordan, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell and Toby Kebbell, this picture, to many, was also a great critical disappointment after the box-office failure that was Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. This movie was called one of the worst ever by reviewers.
This narrative shows that to help Professor Franklin Storm's protégé Victor Von Doom complete his “Quantum Gate” gateway to another realm, childhood pals Reed Richards, Ben Grimm, scientist Sue Storm and technician Johnny Storm join the team.
Success is achieved, and the crew sets off for “Planet Zero.” It's a pity that Victor is left behind when the entire structure collapses due to a freak accident. The machine, however, blows up, changing the four's molecular-genetic level, giving them superhuman ability.
Several later after activating a portal structure in the realm, the megalomaniac conqueror Victor reappears. The team must put aside their disagreements to save the planet from its impending catastrophe as the Fantastic Four.
Superheroes with untested skills – can they stop the megalomaniac who wants nothing but the world?
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The Cancelled & Untitled “Fantastic Four”
“Fantastic Four” was set to have a sequel to the rebooted series on June 9, 2017. However, as a result of the failure of the film, it was later cancelled.
Disney acquired most of 20th Century Fox's assets, which resulted in Marvel Studios regaining the rights of the series. ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe' will be the setting for the next relaunch of the “Fantastic Four”.
In what way is it that Fantastic Four continues to make mistakes?
As much as “Fantastic Four” has been squandered on the big screen by Fox, it has yet to receive a suitable adaptation. These films under Fox's label weren't huge hits, either in terms of box office or critical reception.
Fox never quite got it right in this winning game of live-action movies. For decades, the series was subjected to scathing critiques, with fragile economics undercutting the fans' hopes.
Despite each film's improvement over its immediate predecessors, the “Fantastic Four” did not have a positive connection with the cinema in general.
Each of the films had its own set of obstacles that prevented them from achieving success on the big screen. There were a lot of obstacles that prevented Fox from becoming a household name.
To some extent, the squad and the characters were portrayed as caricatures. The films were dreary, the people were unrecognizable, the discussions were forced, and the family relationship was phoney. When it came to the storyline, there was no heart at all because of the experiments.
Aside from the Four heroes, the adversaries were not dealt with fairly in the film. “The Destroyer of the World” Galactus, Doctor Doom, and the intergalactic herald Silver Surfer were all reduced to a huge cloud of dust.
This resulted in half-baked depictions due to the lack of attention paid to their strength and origins as well as their intentions and what makes them evil.
Most fans were left unsatisfied by the series as a whole since all of the films garnered mediocre reviews from the general public and reviewers.
Many of the movie's dynamics need to be balanced. Rather than focusing just on a typical superhero squad, it is necessary to integrate family turmoil as well as romance and heroics.
“After all these years… All our adventures… We’re still together… We’re still a team! The Greatest Team Ever!”
- Reed Richards
Despite each of these films being an abject failure, juvenile and simplistic with little value outside its spectacular effects, the superheroes– The Invisible Woman, The Thing, The Human Torch, and Mister Fantastic were not merely New York City superheroes; they were explorers, bridge-builders between earth and beyond planets, and travellers of the realms of science and magic.
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we'd hopefully get to see fully developed characters with a ‘grounded' plot, plenty of adventure and explorations, mysterious scientific discoveries, and character development.