Oh joy, the new Fantastic 4 movie to be more "gritty and realistic"

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After “The Dark Knight Returns” and “Watchmen” had unparalleled critical acclaim and universal adoration from fans with their more mature, darker context, comic book companies stumbled over themselves giving their characters a “grim and gritty” makeover.

Characters like the X-Men, Batman and Daredevil instantly were written with a far more serious slant and even the normally fun Spider-Man had to get darker – in his case literally with the switch to a nearly all black costume. The phrase “grim and gritty” became a bit of a joke as every writer wanted in on the action even with characters where it wasn’t a good fit.

Speaking at WonderCon, Simon Kinberg, screenwriter and producer of the new “Fantastic Four” film can expect a tone that seems equally as ill-advised for the first family of Marvel Comics.

As Singer created with the original ‘X-Men’ movies, Christopher Nolan created with the ‘Dark Knight’ movies, Jon Favreau and Marvel created with the ‘Iron Man’ movies, all the best superhero franchises – Sam Raimi did it with with ‘Spider-Man’ – they create a tone and that is the thing that defines them,” Kinberg told HitFix.

It’s not the stories that differentiate them from each other,” he said. “Sometimes the characterizations aren’t that distinct. It’s that the tone is different and in some ways [that’s because of the] lessons learned from the original ‘Fantastic Four’ movies, but also because of Josh Trank’s natural instinct for more realism, for more of a dramatic approach to things. This will definitely be a more realistic, a more gritty, grounded telling of the ‘Fantastic Four.'”

That sounds terrible frankly. The FF are unique because the tone Stan Lee and Jack Kirby established was a family unit who bickered among each other nearly as much as the strange villains they encountered. While the FF have some serious elements — Ben Grimm’s quest to regain his humanity top among them — the group is a terrible fit for a “gritty” characterization.

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The Avengers films, the new standard for comic book movies, steer away from “gritty” takes on characters and opt for something far more radical – making the characters and stories fun. One of the reasons “The Man of Steel” didn’t thrill everyone was because it was a “grim and gritty” take on Superman. Just because it works for Batman doesn’t mean it will succeed with Superman. Ditto with the FF.

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For all the complaints of the original two FF films, directed by Tim Story, the tone of the group was correct. They were a family and there’s some genuinely funny aspects of a family teaming up and going on adventures. Dr. Doom? The action? The acting? A completely different story. Completely.

This sounds like the wrong way to go with the film and greatly diminishes my excitement for this project. What do you think?

  • keith

    sounds like they need to send this movie to the negative zone, 1960 70s reed Richard style

  • keith

    why did Michael b Jordan had to get caught up in the bull… I mean I know black actors cant afford to not get their face on screen, but after fruitvale and the chronicle ( which is probably a better movie than the FF already), but this is that kind of crap he needs to avoid. Yet keep getting dem checks. I just want people to ask wheres Wallace when it comes to his career

  • Jace

    Looks like this is going to be another Marvel franchise that needs to get back under the Marvel Studios umbrella asap. I mean nothing about the FF4 is gritty and realistic.

  • Fred

    You could not be more right my friend, there definitely is nothing gritty and realistic about the FF. You can already tell the director and writers don’t get it by what they’re saying here. You can’t make comic and fantastical gritty and realistic, this isn’t about ordinary humans with no powers. Bottom line it’s all about making a good film which I’m not convinced the people in this camp can.

  • Thanks. Thing is the FF is such a great license that done correctly it could rival The Avengers with all of their galaxy spanning adventures and plethora of characters to draw from.

  • Fred

    In the right hands the FF could have been bigger hits and definitely better movies than the ones we’ve seen. I definitely don’t think it could reach ‘Avengers’ level money of course, it doesn’t have that much potential, but it has the potential to exceed what we’ve been given on the big screen in the right hands.

  • keith

    I think after this cluster f, if marvel is able to get this back, they need to stay alright time to introduce the real FF in the campaign for the next movie.. in about 10 years after the stink wears off. Im calling a bomb on this now.

  • I’d so love for Marvel Studios to get this license now. The FF has a TON of excellent stories that could keep movies cranking out every other year for a decade.

  • keith

    seriously though, they are freaking adventurers. but im sorry at this point just give me 2 more incredibles and Im done. FF going going gone man

  • Yep, much more excited about Incredibles 2 at this point.

  • Fred

    I agree, bring on the “Incredibles 2” baby.

  • Fred

    And Jeff you’re right on the money about a dark gritty tone not working for every character, for the likes of Batman, Daredevil, Blade, Pushiher, Deadpool cool, yes it definitely works for them. But not every comic character, imagine if they would have made “The Avengers” dark, gritty and over realistic, it would have sucked like hell lol. ‘Cap 2’ was sable to have more of that dark gritty feel because of the tone of the film and the absence of super powered beings along with the political tones of the film of course. But it still was able to maintain the fun,humor and wit of previous MCU films as well.

  • Thanks man. It’s so silly that they think the problem with FF is that it wasn’t gritty enough. Ugh. The strength of Marvel Comics back in the day was that each book offered a unique experience. They didn’t try to make Captain America like Thor or Thing like Hulk.FF never works when played too serious.

  • Fred

    I agree my friend, Fox’s minds are not in the correct stratosphere. The problem with the FF films wasn’t because they we’re light and not dark and gritty enough, the problem was the films absolutely sucked lol. The only redeeming qualities about those horrible films we’re Evans as Johnny Storm and Michael Chiklis as Ben Grim, they we’re pretty good and everything else was terrible. You look at Marvel Studios and they’re just so far ahead in the CBM game that they’re leaving everyone else in the dust.

  • keith

    disney is sitting back laughing at FOX lol

  • keith

    plus I think they are screwing up going with the young FF. Cant Fox just do like WB and release this as a straight to DVD anime movie? Build up a want for this and prove it can be done. EMH set up so much stuff and laid or reestablish so much ground work till its not even funny and I thought that show was going to be horrible but I was proven wrong from the first episode. Light with just enough sci-fi and seriousness in it. Why is this so hard? I remember talking to some older guys who were so excited with FF first movie. Im sure they will avoid it like the plague. Seriously how in the FF did fox get these Marvel properties?? explain this again?

  • keith

    oh jeff maybe its time for an arrow update. Damn if deathstroke isnt a good villian to have for a season!

  • LOL. It’s on the way actually. On my To-Do List. SHIELD is gonna be a day behind though as I’m watching Kate Upton, I mean “The Other Woman” screening tonight.

  • For years Marvel was parceling out its licenses to any and everyone who showed a semblance of interest in Marvel product.

    Keep in mind it hasn’t even been a decade since Marvel Studios raised the bar for Marvel Comics. Previously, Fox’s X-Men and FF and Sony’s Spider-Man were the most profitable of the bunch so it’s not like Marvel had any reason to abandon those partnerships until recently.

  • Ben

    What happened to all the fun superheroes? The only proper fun superhero we have left is Iron Man (who now suffers from PTSD) and Thor (or more specifically Loki). Spiderman, Superman and Fantastic Four are supposed to be the lighter side of superheroes to offset Batman, Daredevil, Punisher and Wolverine. How dark have those characters got to get if the light characters get even darker?

    Serious doesn’t mean success. Not enthusiastic about Fantastic Four at all.

  • Excellent point Ben. The variety of the characters is what makes comic books so fun. If everyone was like the ones you mentioned (somewhat like how the new DC comics are), it quickly becomes boring and predictable.

  • Fred

    Give us the fun in the sun baby lol.

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