Friday, 21 February 2014



Fox have apparently cast their new version of The Fantastic Four, and as with any comic book movie casting news, the fans are polarized. Well, actually for the most part fans are outraged, but that's fans for you. We get outraged easily.

Not only is this new Fantastic Four very young, but Johnny Storm is now African-American and Ben Grimm/The Thing is... Billy Elliott. No, seriously. They've apparently cast Jamie Bell as Ben Grimm. It's okay, I don't really know how they thought of him either. Great actor, but for The Thing? nah. The rest of the cast consists of Miles Teller as Reed Richards/Mister Fantastic, Kate Mara as Sue Storm/The Invisible Woman and Michael B. Jordan as the aforementioned Johnny Storm/Human Torch.

The young cast suggests to me yet another origin story. Sigh. Sigh again. Why can't we just have a FF movie where they're already established as heroes and not have to go through the same old getting used to abilities/becoming a proper team routine? There was a chance to break the mould a bit with a new take on The Fantastic Four, but if it's yet another origin story then I have even less interest in it than when this supposed casting news broke.

The previous Fantastic Four films, starring Ioan Gruffudd as Reed, Jessica Alba as Sue, Chris Evans as Johnny and Michael Chiklis as Ben, weren't perfect by a long way, but they were true to the spirit of the characters and were decent fun. Especially the second movie, Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer (aside from Galactus showing up as a giant space fart). Seriously, give that flick a second chance. Just hold some Kirby art over the screen when the big G shows up.

Anyway. This new one. As long as it still has a similar origin, Doctor Doom and suchlike then some semblance of the FF can be scavenged. If they go a completely different route to that which has been established and appreciated since the early 1960s, then audiences will wonder what all the fuss was about in the first place and shun the movie. Now if you'll excuse me I'll get back to reading flame wars about the cast.

Comic book resources have put up a poll about the casting (which has now apparently been confirmed). Cast your vote!

PANELS TO FRAMES is my comic movie column, which usually runs at Lost In The Multiplex. The column is running here right now as LITM is on hiatus due to much-needed maintenance.

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