Well that took a dark turn. In a summer that included Terminator:Genisysysys and Zombie Adam Sandler’s latest vehicle Pixels, Fantastic Four may be the biggest disaster of all as the 2015 round of superhero movies ends on a epic downer.
What a difference a year makes! Last year Guardians of the Galaxy was killing it and superhero movies were riding an all time high, with the mothership Avengers on the horizon. A year later Joss Whedon leaves Marvel with rational human beings on twitter threatening to murder him and his old bosses at Marvel struggling(to care enough) to integrate any heroes with lady parts into their larger story. Age of Ultron was a success, but did not reach the heights of the original and got its ass kicked commercially by Chris Pratt, high heels, large dinosaurs, and larger plot holes. And critically it could not compete with movies like Fury Road and Rogue Nation. Still the movie was a huge success and set the stage for the next phase of Marvel movies. But boy did Whedon/Marvel end ugly.
It’s a tribute to everyone involved that Ant-Man did not turn out to be Fantastic Four just a few weeks earlier. Marvel owned what happened with Edgar Wright and brought in Peyton Reed. The movie got by on the Marvel formula and the immense charm and talent of its cast. But those hoping for a Guardians of the Galaxy style breakout were disappointed. Still, I don’t think anyone could say Ant-Man was anything but a success.
There is not really much more I can say about Fantastic Four that has not already been said by smarter people than me. Josh Trank butchered the concept and Fox butchered the movie. The result was an unholy union of shortsightedness and laziness. Fantastic Four is a concept designed to be a PG-13 moneymaker but Fox can’t be bothered to put in the little bit of effort to make it work. The result was a despicable attempt to find the shortest path to a quick buck, leaving a bad taste that will probably linger for a while and may put the FF on the shelf until well into the next decade.
Even though we are done with superhero movies for the year, we are nowhere near done with superheroes. Agents of SHIELD is coming back after a strong 2nd season, plus popular shows Flash and Arrow will be back and expanding their own little universe with
Justice League Legends of Tomorrow. Gotham will be doing a bunch of random nonsense that might be entertaining, and Supergirl will see if CBS can balance the expectations of superhero fans while attracting viewers from its core audience(I’m not optimistic). Add to that Jessica Jones and the two best superhero shows on “TV” in Daredevil and Agent Carter early next year(I think), and you have a lot to help banish the memory of the FF disaster.
And if Superhero TV is not your thing, Superhero movies 2016 opens with an immediate palate cleanser in Deadpool come February.
Deadpool looks to be everything that Fantastic Four was not; a labor of love by people that genuinely care about the character. I’m a little leery of internet popular movies making bank, but this is as close to a sure bet as I think we will get.
And then the TITANS. The controversial sequel to arguably the most controversial superhero movie ever made, Batman v Superman: Friendship for Everyone drops in March.
I honestly can’t wait to see how the internet reacts if this movie is actually good. Then Captain America returns with a few guest stars in Civil War. All of Marvel’s movies have obviously been set in the Marvel Universe, but this will be the first Marvel Universe movie. Can they balance a strong narrative while showcasing a world with so many moving parts? I’m not betting against them, and can’t wait until we get our first look(The Force Awakens probably). The X-Men return as Bryan Singer also attempts to juggle a massive cast while telling an iconic comic story. With Marvel and DC finally set to square off, this one is not as big a deal for me. Yes, I’m aware that the X-Men are Marvel, but you know what I mean.
This time next year Suicide Squad will have been released with Doctor Strange on the way. Will we be closer to the Guardians of the Galaxy high or wondering if the major studios are trying to suck all the joy out of superhero movies and destroy the genre? Despite the stink of the Fantastic Four wreckage, I cant remember being this excited for any round of superhero content like the upcoming one. I really can’t wait to see how it all turns out.