Tag Archive | "Fantastic Four"

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Josh Trank – Fired Or Quit STAR WARS: ANTHOLOGY Film

Posted on 03 May 2015 by Rich Drees

JoshTrank

The big news that finished out this past week was that Josh Trank was no longer to be the director of the second Star Wars spinoff film scheduled for 2018. In hindsight, the announcement was not much of a surprise as Trank was not in attendance for the Star Wars Anthology panel at Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim last month, with the stated reason later given being that the director was sick. Coincidentally (?) enough, the newest trailer for his upcoming film, Fox’s Fantastic Four, was released at the same time that the panel was going on.

Star Wars: Anthology is the umbrella title recently revealed for Disney/Lucasfilms’ planned Star Wars spinoff films that will be released in the years between the main saga’s installments.

In a statement posted at StarWars.com, Trank said –

After a year of having the incredible honor of developing with the wonderful and talented people at Lucasfilm, I’m making a personal decision to move forward on a different path. I’ve put a tremendous amount of thought into this, and I know deep down in my heart that I want to pursue some original creative opportunities. That said, the ‘Star Wars’ universe has always been one of my biggest influences, and I couldn’t be more excited to witness its future alongside my millions of fellow ‘Star Wars’ fans. I want to thank my friends Kathleen Kennedy, [Lucasfilm VP of Development] Kiri Hart, Simon Kinberg, and everyone at Lucasfilm and Disney for the amazing opportunity to have been a part of this. May the Force be with you all.

While Trank is explaining away is leaving his Star Wars film due to an ambiguous “personal issues,” the Hollywood Reporter is reporting that Trank’s handling, or rather mis-handling, of the Fantastic Four production may have led the studio to show the Trank the door more so than him heading towards of his own volition.

[P]roducers on Fantastic Four, set for release July 30 (sic), are said to have faced great challenges pulling the film together given behavior described by one insider as “erratic” and at times “very isolated.” Trank did not offer clear direction, this person adds, saying, “If you’ve got someone who can’t answer questions or who isn’t sure or is in hiding, that’s not good.”

A Fox spokesman says the studio is “very happy with the movie and we can’t wait for audiences to see it” but acknowledges, “There were definitely some bumps in the road.”

While an unnamed studio source tells the Reporter that the studio is impressed with Trank’s talent – “No question there’s talent there. You can’t do [Trank’s 2012 directorial debut] Chronicle by accident.” – they feel that he may not have been ready to be thrust from the world of indie film into the one of big-budget tentpole pictures, likening the director to “one of these kids who comes to the NBA with all the talent and none of the character-based skills to handle it. There’s equipment he doesn’t yet have.”

The checklist of behavior issues that the studio has to contend with from Trank include such things as approximately $100,000 worth of damage done to a home that the studio had rented for the director while the production was in New Orleans. Trank was also reportedly “indecisive and uncommunicative” on set, necessitating producers Simon Kinberg and Hutch Parker to take a more active, on set hand in the shooting.

The film has already gone through a number of reshoots and pickups even though its release is just a few weeks away. The most recent session of reshoots were three days done at the end of last month that had to be scheduled around the availability of stars Miles Teller, Kate Mara and Michael B. Jordan who were all deep into work on other projects. The most reshoots also mean that Kinberg and Parker had to leave the set of X-Men: Apocalypse in Canada, which they are also producing.

Reportedly, it is Kinberg, who was set to work with Trank on the Star Wars: Anthology film as both a writer and producer, who communicated his displeasure with the director to Kennedy, which set in motion the decision for Trank to leave the film. Disney, of course, declined to comment to the Reporter.

If it is true that Trank was bounced from the gig for his Fantastic Four behavior, it makes sense from Disney’s point of view. The studio has much invested in the Star Wars franchise, with it and the films from Marvel Studios serving as a major part of their annual slate. These films need to be in theaters when they are planning on them being there in order to meet certain revenue expectations for each quarter. There is no room for them to miss their release dates. Variety, however, is reporting from unnamed sources that the Star Wars standalone film will be pushed back to 2019, but there has been no confirmation of that.

Fantastic Four has bounced around on Fox’s schedule with two other announced release dates for this year before the studio finally settled on August 7. It should also be noted that Fox has already announced a summer 2017 release date for a Fantastic Four sequel, though no creative personnel, including Trank, have been announced as attached to the project. It is unclear if Trank’s possible non-involvement is a result of a studio decision or one made by the director due to anticipated time needed for his Star Wars: Anthology film.

After years of seemingly uninspiring news about Fantastic Four, the most recent trailer did instill some hope in for me the project. Unfortunately, this latest word of additional reshoots so close to the film’s release goes a way to dashing them again.

So far, there has been no announced replacement for Trank on the project, but I wouldn’t be surprised if stories about a shortlist of directors under consideration for the job start to appear very soon.

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New FANTASTIC FOUR Trailer Hints At A Tolerable Movie

Posted on 19 April 2015 by Rich Drees

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Know what’s a good way to get your trailer overlooked? Release it the same week that the trailers for two other, much more anticipated films release trailers of their own. So kudos on that, Twentieth Century Fox, for releasing a new look at director Josh Trank’s upcoming Fantastic Four film the same weekend when everyone is talking about Star Wars: The Force Awaken and Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice.

And in a way, it is kind of a pity, because for me at least this is the first indication that the film will not be a complete trainwreck. Sure, it looks as if the tone is too dark and gritty compared to the comic book series source material, but there are brief hints that some chemistry and interplay between the four heroes – Reed Richards (Miles Teller), Johnny Storm (Michael B. Jordan), Sue Storm (Kate Mara) and Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell) – might actually exist. We also get our first official look at Toby Kebbell‘s Victor Domashev a.k.a. Doctor Doom. But even on a weekend where we wouldn’t have had two other more anticipated trailers that this would indeed pale in comparison against, this new look does excite so much as it generates a begrudging feeling that person this film won’t be such the cinematic equivalent of root canal surgery that all reports have been leading us to believe. Probably just a regular tooth scraping and cleaning. Either way though, it is still feels like a trip to the dentist.

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The First FANTASTIC FOUR Teaser Trailer Has Been Released

Posted on 27 January 2015 by Rich Drees

Fantastic-Four

After years of speculation and just a day after we got our first real look at it via a still picture, Twentieth Century Fox has released the first trailer for their upcoming superhero adaptation The Fantastic Four.

At first blush and as expected, this ain’t your dad’s Fantastic Four. It definitely appears as if director Josh Trank and writer Simon Kinberg are pulling much of their inspiration from Marvel Comics “Ultimates” variation on the title from a few years ago.

Well, it doesn’t look 100% terrible, but I am still not quite convinced that it really encapsulates what made the characters popular for over 6 decades. We still have a ways to go until the film’s August 7 release, so I tend to think that Fox’s marketing department still has a job ahead of themselves.

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Our First Look At The FANTASTIC FOUR’s Uniform Is Just As Bad As Expected

Posted on 26 January 2015 by Rich Drees

FantasticFour

Superpowered comics quartet the Fantastic Four have fairly basic but iconic uniforms. Simple blue with the number 4 on their chests. There have been numerous variations of design over the years, but they all could be reduced down to those two simple elements.

Well, not anymore.

This evening Twentieth Century Fox has released to Collider our first look at the costumes that the heroes will be sporting in this coming summer’s reboot of the cinematic franchise adapted from the six-decades old comics series. And it looks nothing like what we’ve seen before, as we can see from the photo below of star Michael B. Jordan chatting with screenwriter Simon Kinberg.

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So far, the studio has been very aggressive with keeping this film under wraps, very strange and worrying for fandom given that the film is just months away from its August 7 premier date. It is something that Trank addresses in an interview with Collider –

[W]e really want the audience to have the proper reaction to this material seeing it for the first time. You’ve really got to put your best foot forward. You can’t just leak an image to strike up a conversation. You want people to see something that has thought behind it. And the teaser should do just that. With conversations online, you can’t really control it. In this day and age people have come to expect that artists are going to give everybody information on Twitter about what they’re doing, but not every artist is like that. I’m not really like that. If I was painting a picture I wouldn’t want to take a picture of a single paint stroke. I’d rather show people what it looks like when it’s done.

Trank does not state when that teaser will be coming out, so this one image will probably only fuel the discussion he seems to want to avoid. And once we see that teaser? Will we suddenly be able to buy into his vision for the film or will fandom find itself even further upset over they way things are shaping up for the film? Personally, I am starting to think that Trank has an interesting story that is going to stray far enough away from the core Fantastic Four concept that I may find myself wishing that he just told it as its own unique story away from the Fantastic Four franchise entirely.

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Sony E-Mail Hack Has Spoilers For Fox, Warner’s Superhero Film Slate

Posted on 16 December 2014 by William Gatevackes

x-men-vs-fantastic-fourThe Sony Data Breach is a big story, and the amount of information and the nature of its content is what makes it so big. Sony might try to waive a few lawyers in the faces of news outlets to stop them reporting on the leak, but as long as there are juicy tidbits to be revealed, the stories will be continue to march on. However, the latest info to come to light might encourage other studios to chip in for Sony’s legal team. The latest round of leaks includes behind-the-scenes information pertaining to Warner Brothers and Fox’s movie slate, in addition to Sony’s troubled Spider-Man franchise.

What has been released in the latest round? Let me tell you:

kravens-last-huntJeff Robinov has found a new job, and he has an idea for a Spider-Man reboot: Yes, you read that right. Former Warner Brothers Jeff Robinov has found a new job (he’s founded his own studio called Studio 8) and Sony is contemplating rebooting the franchise for the third time in less than fifteen years.

Comic book film fans will read Robinov’s name an wince. He was the Warners’ executive in charge of fumbling the studio’s attempts to bring DC Comics properties to the big screen. He most famously was a proponent of making all superhero films “grim and gritty” like The Dark Knight and might be part of the reason why Superman turned into a neck breaking vigilante in The Man of Steel.

So it should come as no surprise that The Daily Beast reports that that Robinov’s idea to reboot the Spider-Man franchise is to adapt perhaps the grimmest and grittiest arcs from the comics, “Kraven’s Last Hunt,” a storyline where Spider-Man villain Kraven the Hunter gains the upper hand over the hero, shoots him, and leaves him for dead, buried alive. While the real Spidey is out of commission, Kraven adopts his identity and tries to carry on in his name in a far more violent fashion. The story ends with a defeated Kraven taking his own life via a shotgun in the mouth.

Cheery, summer blockbuster material it is. Also fitting that Robinov picks an arc where Spider-Man is barely in the work that acts as his big comeback.

The film would feature an older Spidey, and there would not be another origin story. Robinov also has an apple-pie-in-the-sky list of potential directors, including Brad Bird, Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee (Frozen), Damien Chazelle (Whiplash), Joe Cornish (Attack the Block), Glenn Ficarra & John Requa (Crazy, Stupid, Love), James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy), Don Hall & Chris Williams (Big Hero 6), Phil Lord & Chris Miller (The LEGO Movie), Joachim Rønning & Espen Sandberg (Kon-Tiki), Colin Trevorrow (Jurassic World), Edgar Wright, and David Yates.

Sony was doing the hard press to get Spider-Man into Captain America: Civil War: The Daily Beast covers a different e-mail exchange between Michael De Luca, co-president of production for Columbia Pictures, to Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment that reveals a whole passel of scoops. One is that De Luca really thought loaning Spidey to Marvel for a cameo would be a good idea:

I really feel, in my heart of hearts, that the new spiderman [sic] in cap 3 could just appear in his own film, be it sinister six or a kick ass spidey film of his own, after that intro in cap 3 and people would be cool with it.

There have also been leaked e-mails where Marvel appears to be totally into the lend/lease of Spidey. So how can we make this happen?

Fox IS working towards a Fantastic Four/X-Men crossover: In the same e-mail chain, as De Luca encourages Pascal to create an expanded universe with the Spider-Man characters, he states that Simon Kinberg told him that Fox is working to an eventual crossover between the  Fantastic Four and the X-Men. This is the same Kinberg who has been shooting down that possibility for months.

Of course, De Luca doesn’t give us a timeline, but the meeting between the two franchises might come sooner than you think if the FF reboot is dead on arrival.

Jeff Nichols will be directing 2018’s Aquaman : In news that not even a whisper has appeared anywhere up to now, De Luca mentions that Mud director Jeff Nichols will be directing Jason Momoa in 2018’s Aquaman for Warner Brothers. While Nichols is anything but a household name, Mud received very good notices. And, lest we forget, Marvel built its film empire by hiring great directors that normally would fly under the radar.

Spiderham12Marvel is high on Spider-Ham, Sony on Santa Claus Burglar, neither on Tordenkakerlakk aka The Thunder Cockroach: While which studio owns the rights to what character is a fun game for comic book film websites to play, Sony and Marvel have it down to a science. And, apparently, a spreadsheet. Business Insider states that a spreadsheet listing the Spider-Man characters broken down to which ones Sony might want to use one day, ones that Marvel might want to keep, and ones neither seem to have an interest in has been leaked by hackers.

What characters? How about every single character to appear exclusively in a Spider-Man comic book from the very beginning. There is no character too obscure, as the list ranges from The Black Abbott to the Hypno Hustler. The spreadsheet states that Marvel has “frozen” the rights to Spider-Ham, an anthropomorphic version of  its character,which apparently means that Sony can’t use them. Sony however is very interested in a character called the Santa Claus Burglar, a petty thief how dresses as Santa to dupe young kids into letting him rob their houses. The character has appeared in only one issue (as far as I can tell) and was eventually defeated by Spider-Man and the real Santa Claus.

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First Official FANTASTIC FOUR Plot Description Doesn’t Sound All That Fantastic

Posted on 04 December 2014 by Rich Drees

FantasticFour

We’re eight months away from director Josh Trank’s reboot of the Fantastic Four franchise hitting theaters and so far there hasn’t been much news about the film that has instilled much confidence that the end product will much of an improvement over last decades two rather atrocious Fantastic Four films. If anything, it has been looking as if this upcoming adaption of the classic comic book series might turn out even worse, if possible.

So does the newly released, first official plot synopsis for the film sound like it could turn opinions around on the film?

THE FANTASTIC FOUR, a contemporary re-imagining of Marvel’s original and longest-running superhero team, centers on four young outsiders who teleport to an alternate and dangerous universe, which alters their physical form in shocking ways. Their lives irrevocably upended, the team must learn to harness their daunting new abilities and work together to save Earth from a former friend turned enemy.

Nope, I guess not.

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Rumored Synopsis For FANTASTIC FOUR Reboot Makes The Rounds

Posted on 18 November 2014 by William Gatevackes

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I got into a discussion with my cousin James Merolla, one of the creative minds over at the Culture Overdose website, over whether a movie should be condemned will still being in production. He believed that my condemnation of the Fantastic Four reboot based on the spoilers Toby Kebbell gave us was narrow-minded because judgement should be made only after seeing the finished product. I argued that I know enough about my likes and dislikes and when it comes to adaptations, the further away it gets from what made the source material great, the worse the film turns out to be. Hopefully, this argument will not make Christmas Eve dinner too awkward.

So, less than a week after that, I see a report on ComicBookMovie.com of what has been making the rounds of the Internet as the official synopsis of the Fantastic Four reboot, and I don’t know if the conversation above had anything to do with it, I found the synopsis eased my fears slightly Slightly.

Of course, you have to ask if the synopsis is real in the first place. It does deviate greatly from last leaked synopsis (which I summed up here, because Fox made us take the actual synopsis down) and it does read like something constructed from what we know of the reboot with elements added from the comics to create something that might be more appealing to fans. Whether this is because Fox wanted us to have a better view towards the product or a fan who wants to play with the minds of the FF fanbase remains to be seen. We probably will know if we get another take down notice.

Here is the synopsis summary as it appeared on CBM. I’ll reserve my comments until after. It goes without saying that spoilers lie ahead.

Reed is a genius convenience store clerk with Ben. Reed’s parents don’t care about him, and Ben’s dad is abusive. They’re good friends and have each other’s backs. Reed writes a paper for community college on teleportation that attracts the attention of Dr. Franklin Storm, CEO of the Baxter Building research center.
Storm has a son, Johnny, and an adoptive daughter, Sue, whose father, Storm’s old partner, died in an experiment gone wrong. Johnny and Sue are party kids, and Sue is particularly disdainful of science. Reed and Sue don’t get along at first.
Victor Doomashev is a anti-social Eastern European computer programmer and hacktivist who calls himself “Doom”. He hates the 1%, particularly Storm, whom he claims corrupts science for profit.
Storm uses Reed’s paper to complete some equations on a machine to access another dimension, the N-Zone. Reed invites Ben to watch the machine being turned on. Sue and Johnny are also there. Doom manages to hack into the Baxter Building’s servers and use a computer virus to damage the machine, which explodes. Reed, Sue, Johnny and Ben are exposed to otherwordly energy and become mutants with powers that they can’t control.
Storm takes them to the Baxter Building and creates containment suits for their powers. They begin to train. Reed and Storm also begin developing a way to revert the accident. Sue blames Reed for everything, but they eventually become friends and then a couple. Ben can switch off his powers when he’s not in danger. Johnny changes colors based on heat intensity, and Sue has some borderline telekinetic thing. Reed is pretty much Reed.
Doom finds out that the four have acquired powers and becomes angry it’s not him, so he comes up with a plan to break into the Baxter Building to access the N-Zone through the rebuild machine. As a distraction, he reprograms a bunch of stolen military drones, the “Doombots”, to attack the building. The four come together as a team for the first time and save people.
Doom activates the machine and gets technopathy powers or something, basically energy blasts and making machines obey to him, and a fight ensues. The machine goes critical, and, in order to prevent it from exploding and destroying the city, the four push into it and Storm shuts it off.
There’s a countdown before it reaches critical mass. Inside the N-Zone, the four battle Doom again, and manage to leave him trapped there after he disfigures himself soaking up too much power. The Four manage to escape, but Ben gets the blunt of it to protect Reed and can’t switch back.
The machine is destroyed, Doom is gone, the four have learned to work as a team, and Reed vows to find a cure for Ben. And it ends there.

First, the good. The synopsis seems to use the plot from the Ultimate Fantastic Four, Marvel’s in-house reboot of the franchise, as  its structure. So while it is not the story most people know. it still draws on a comic book version of the origin for its skeleton. All four get their powers at the same time, which is an important part of the mythos. And I like the way the friendship between Reed and Ben is presented.

However, the characterization of Doom is way off and doesn’t really work. Even with adding the power-hungry nature of the character from the comics, the reboot version of Doom is a pale imitation of the legendary character. In addition, the film Doom’s motivation doesn’t really seem to fit in with the story. He’s a hacktivist who hates the 1% so instead of going after the Koch Brothers he goes after a scientific research lab? Ehhhh.

But that might just be a clue that the synopsis isn’t at all legit, in addition to where we find Reed at the beginning of the film. I can buy Reed working in a convenience store, but if he was that much of a genius, couldn’t he have at least get a partial scholarship to a major university? And while I know that News Corp owns both 20th Century Fox and Fox News Channel, I doubt even they would be so bold as to make the villain of a film they want to reach a large audience a terrorist that strikes at the 1%.

Like I said, time will tell if this synopsis is legit. We shall see.

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Josh Trank’s FANTASTIC FOUR Will Also Ruin Doctor Doom

Posted on 11 November 2014 by William Gatevackes

Dr-Doom

It’s been a while since we’ve been reminded how much Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four reboot will suck, so some of us might have been lulled into a false sense of hope that it might be halfway decent. So, thank you Toby Kebbell for letting us know that the film will suck more than we ever imagined.

The actor spoke with Collider to promote the home video release of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and they asked him what it was to play Doctor Doom. Well, apparently Kebbell is quite chatty, and this innocuous question opened up the flood gates with him, allowing some spoilers to come spilling out. Unfortunately, one of the spoilers has to do with how the character of Doom will be played in the film. Here’s the quote. Warning! Do not read immediately after eating!

I’m excited to see it too, and my nerves really…The only thing I can tease you about is what I worked on most was the voice because nobody—even in the cartoons, when I was watching them I was like, “So where’s he from?”  There’s a mild change and I’ll tell you because of our history. He’s Victor Domashev, not Victor Von Doom in our story.  And I’m sure I’ll be sent to jail for telling you that.  The Doom in ours—I’m a programmer.  Very anti-social programmer.  And on blogging sites I’m “Doom”.

Kinda makes you nostalgic for the Julian McMahon version, doesn’t it?

Yes, McMahon’s euro-trash version of Doom was one of the most criticized aspects of the original franchise, as many believe the performance did not have the weight and gravitas that made character from the comics great. Fox and Trank decide to take of this criticism in, examine it closely, and make their Doom even LESS like the comic book version. Just changing his name was bad enough, but making him a cut rate version of “Anonymous?” It seems like they are actively trying to drive fans away.

Doctor Doom is one of the classic Marvel villains. And what make him classic is that he operates from a position of power. He is the king of a small European country. He has immeasurable financial assets at his disposal to fund whatever his genius-level intellect can create. He can attack the Fantastic Four with impunity, hiding behind the veil of diplomatic immunity. He is the opposite of the subversive the film is making him out to be, a simple “anti-social programmer” who is active in the blogging community. Doom does not blog.

I have a hard time figuring out what Fox and Trank are doing with this property. The first set of films were disappointing, but not because original concept was flawed, but rather the interpretation of that concept was lacking. The Fantastic Four did not need a ground-up destruction and rebuild. But Fox and Trank thinks that is just what the concept needs, and is willing to do that. Who cares of long time fans of the concept are alienated, as long as new fans are added on. Hopefully, those new fans won’t add on and the franchise dies a quick death at the box office.

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Fox’s DEADPOOL Movie Is Finally Happening

Posted on 18 September 2014 by William Gatevackes

deadpool screenshotSo, blurry test footage from a proof of concept reel for the long rumored Deadpool is “leaked.” Fans go crazy for it, but Fox makes most of the sites take it down.

Then a higher quality version of that sizzle reel hits, it looks great and fans go even crazier. Fox has that one taken down too.

Now Fox has announced that they will in fact be making a Deadpool movie, that it will open on February 12, 2016, and the director behind that sizzle reel, Tim Miller, will direct the film.

I think we have been played. Either by Fox, looking to garner a little advance buzz for today’s announcement, or by Miller in order to have Fox realize what a potential hit they had on their hands.

Either way, I’m sure there are a lot of fans who don’t mind being used in this way. Deadpool is one of the most popular mutant characters Marvel owns and has a large and vocal fanbase. Many thought that the development hell the character went through, and the way he was mishandled in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, would have killed any chance their favorite mercenary had of reaching the big screen. I’m sure they are now proud of the role they played in getting the film on the big screen.

No word on whether or not Ryan Reynolds will return as Wade Wilson, but his voice acting is a big part of what made that sizzle reel so great. I hope he signs on.

In other Fox comic book movie  news, the studio also announced that their Fantastic Four reboot will be pushed back from June 19, 2015 to the August 7, 2015, the spot formerly held by their Assassin’s Creed adaptation, which will now be released sometime in 2016.

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First Look At New FANTASTIC FOUR’s Dr. Doom

Posted on 28 August 2014 by Rich Drees

Dr-Doom

There has not been a lot of news about Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four reboot at Fox that has instilled confidence in fans of the property. And I dare say that this leaked set photo is going to turn things around on the groupthink opinion on the project. Below you will see a photo of Toby Kebbell in costume as the villain Dr. Victor Von Doom. Now, even allowing for the fact that this is a blurry cellphone picture and that there may be some additional CG work done to enhance the costume, though I don’t see any of the markers on it that we’ve become accustomed to seeing in set pics of other costumes that use CG extension like Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, I am not enthused by this picture at all. Doom has been the go-to villain for Fantastic Four films and I can certainly see the attraction. He’s big and melodramatic and given that his animosity to the team stems fro his broken friendship with Reed Richards, there’s an element of tragedy there as well. But when it is starting to look like the best version of the character we ever got was in the Roger Corman-produced unreleased Fantastic Four from the 1990s, then maybe it is time for Hollywood to dig a little deeper into their FF backissues to find someone new to bring to the screen.

FFDrDoom

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