Sequel Saturday: The Fantastic Fail, by Mat Bradley-Tschirgi
This weekend Fantastic Four, Josh Trank’s (Chronicle) stab at Marvel’s foursome family, comes out in theaters. 20th Century Fox still has the rights to two Marvel properties- the X-Men and the Fantastic Four. X-Men has paid off in dividends with over half a dozen theatrical follow-ups. The Fantastic Four has only resulted in a duology of live-action films that promised a third which was never made.
The Hollywood Reporter noted that director Josh Trank let loose a tweet that complains the theatrical cut of the film is not his own. Although the tweet was quickly deleted, the damage may already have been done. For a director so early in his career (Fantastic Four is only Trank’s second feature length theatrical film), such a move reminds me of the phrase “You don’t shit where you eat.”
It brings to mind the move Shia LaBeouf (Nymphomaniac) pulled back in 2010 in an interview for the L.A. Times. He described Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull as an example of Steven Spielberg “drop[ping] the ball.” Whether you agree with LaBeouf or not isn’t the point. His shit-talking of a flick he was in directed by one of the Hollywood greats resulted in a shift in his career. Yeah, he did three Transformers movies in total, but he’s been doing mainly indie flicks since then. Perhaps that’s what he wanted all along, but there’s a slicker way to do it than throwing one of the most powerful directors in town under the bus.
The trailers for Fantastic Four come off as dour; think of Man of Steel with a smaller scope. Perhaps the film will launch a new trilogy as Fox wants. The director crapping on the theatrical cut of the flick right as it’s being released is foolish. Part of playing the game is knowing when to keep your mouth shut and when to play ball. Everyone makes mistakes, but with a mélange of social media forms, everyone can see them writ large. I wish Trank the best, but such a move doesn’t exactly quell the firestorm of batshit Fantastic Four rumors.