It has been said that the new ‘Fantastic Four’ reboot from Josh Trank is the worst non-Marvel Studios Marvel movie not starring Nicolas Cage. Okay, I said that, but there are still some incredibly scathing reviews circulating about 20th Century Fox’s latest attempt at film franchise for Marvel’s First Family. Trank tried to justify the quality of the movie by passing the blame to the studio earlier this week, but that’s not going to stop fans from tearing it apart. However, it seems that there is at least one person who stands in the director’s corner.
Screenwriter Max Landis took to his Twitter to defend his ‘Chronicle’ collaborator and ‘Fantastic Four.’ Though he doesn’t explicitly address the quality of the movie starring Mr. Fantastic, the Invisible Woman, the Human Torch, and the Thing, he does try to explain how hard filmmaking can be sometimes, especially after your first film was a critical hit:
“HEY, it’s 1 AM. You know what, f*ck it. Let’s be real here. ‘Chronicle’ was an incredibly rare and easy ride. I loved writing the script. I enjoyed our producer, John Davis, and our exec, Steve. I also loved collaborating with Josh, who I think is brilliant, and whose ideas inspired my script. I fought hard for him to direct.
But ‘Chronicle’ was a complete fluke. We had so much control because the movie was, in relation to other movies that year, TINY. Some holes opened up in Fox’s slate and Chronicle was cheap and unique, so they were kind enough to make it. Only took six months. At the time, I was like ‘THIS IS F**KING INCREDIBLE I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS IS HAPPENING.’ I’d sold scripts, but it was my first greenlight. Josh, who’d been for-hire editor and whose only experience behind the camera had been a web series, was a smart, fun collaborator. During the shooting of the film, I had almost no input, but I was lucky in that the studio and Josh stuck astonishingly tight to my script.
But again, even this is a fluke. It was an original idea, a dark character movie with a first time director. Fluke. Freak of nature. But I didn’t know that and I’m sure Josh didn’t know that either. In the five years since I sold ‘Chronicle’, I’ve learned the hard way. You take huge hits in this industry, creatively, but that’s only after you’ve been given the opportunity to take huge swings, which is rare.
A movie like ‘Fantastic Four’, an assignment with a lot riding on it, was always going to have a tremendous amount of cooks in the kitchen. People always ask me when I’m gonna write a superhero movie. I have. I’ve gotten those jobs. They’re very intense and stressful. As a writer, I’ve been lucky to work on many, many projects – and seen how different and how hard each road can be – for five and a half years. Josh didn’t get that chance, and his second major project, after one with total freedom, was one with intense oversight.
So I don’t think anyone’s wrong or right, necessarily, and I don’t imagine anyone cares about my opinion. But I do think it’s important to say that if you’re not prepared going in to not FIGHT like hell, but WORK like hell, it’s gonna get ugly. No one is trying to make a bad movie. This job is only very occasionally romantic. Don’t let it own you, try not to let it hurt you. Because sometimes it’s so much f**king fun. But it’s still a job.”
Landis makes some good points, but I don’t think studio interference is completely to blame here. The script was the weakest link in the whole thing. Before this ‘Fantastic Four’ was released, I used to say that ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ was the worst thing Fox had done to Marvel, but at least that movie had a beginning, middle, and end. Trank’s movie was all beginning. The entire thing was a first act. Could this have been the result of too much involvement from Fox? It’s a possibility, but I still think that the film would’ve been a smidge better if the script was solid from the start.
What do you think about Landis’ comments on the criticism of ‘Fantatstic Four’? Do you think that people should go easier on Josh Trank? Sound off in the comments below.