Why 'Fantastic Four' could be terrible or amazing

In 2005 and 2007, comic fans got two movies based on one of Marvel's most enduring franchises, the Fantastic Four. Unfortunately, they were both basically hot garbage. But with today's relentless hunger for new movies based on comic book properties, 20th Century Fox said "what the hell" and went ahead and made a reboot called, alternately, Fantastic Four, or more obnoxiously, Fant4stic. Despite the property's cursed luck in other ventures, this new flick could live up to its name and be truly fantastic…or it could be doomed to fail as other FF films have before.

The Powers Of The FF Look Great So Far

The last two Fantastic Four movies had pretty good special effects, but they weren't anything to write home about. The powers of the four leads themselves were pretty underwhelming, and very rarely did you feel like you were watching anything truly "fantastic." It was a few steps above the Power Rangers. But the reboot seems to have figured out how to make these powers look not only believable, but interesting and cool at the same time. This time around, Fantastic Four seems like an intriguing sci-fi movie, instead of a ridiculous superhero slugfest.

But Live-Action Thing Is Replaced With CG

This could go either way, really, but anytime a principal live action character is replaced with a computer generated facsimile, the results leave much to be desired. It's bad enough that most blockbusters today are full to bursting with computer-made effects and sets. But when the Thing, a full fourth of the movie's lead characters, is basically drawn on a computer, he can't help but lose some of the heft and weight he would've otherwise had. That said, the original franchise's rubber suit Thing was completely terrible, so this could still turn out to be the lesser of two evils.

Director Josh Trank Did Great With 'Chronicle'

Chronicle, Trank's 2012 feature film debut, was a rare thing: a great superhero movie that was extremely original in both its execution and the fact that it didn't adapt preexisting source material. It earned over ten times its $12 million production budget and was a worldwide hit in theaters. It proved Trank's talent and potential as a filmmaker, and that gives us high hopes for what he plans to do with Fantastic Four because of their similar starting points. Young people granted extraordinary powers completely by accident? Trank should have this all sewn up.

Rumors Have Swirled About Big Time Production Problems

Despite how perfectly suited Trank seems to be for the director's chair on Fantastic Four, there have been a few reports about trouble between Trank and the studio. Some anonymous insiders were said to have made some damning allegations: one purportedly called the movie "a mess," and there were rumors that 20th Century Fox mulled throwing the whole film out and starting over. None of that seems to have happened, though, and Fantastic Four is on track for its August 2015 debut. Meanwhile, Trank has stepped away from his chance to direct a new Star Wars flick, possibly in response to the supposedly messy FF situation.

It Embraces A More Modern Version Of The Origin

The last time we saw the FF on the big screen, their origin story was a modified version that appeared in the 1961 first issue of the comic book series. In it, the four head to space, get blasted with cosmic radiation, and develop super powers upon their return. The reboot, meanwhile, adapts the Ultimate Fantastic Four comic book's origin from 2004, where the title characters attempt to explore a parallel universe via a dimensional teleportation machine. It's a smart move to move away from the original story's references to the space race, while providing fertile ground for future stories.

The More Modern Version Is Needlessly Complicated

One major mark against the new origin is that it's a whole lot tougher to explain. The old FF's "went into space and came back weird" origin is so simple that it could be done away with in five minutes of screen time. The new, dimensional portal version might be too hard to explain without really clunky exposition.

Doctor Doom Is Here!

Doctor Doom is the Fantastic Four's most legendary villain. As such, it's nice to know that he'll appear in the reboot, ready to menace the gang with his metal face.

Doctor Doom Is, Like, A Hacker?

It's hard to say just how the FF's arch-nemesis will be portrayed in this new movie. Online, the character is listed alternately as "Victor Domashev" or simply "Doom," and he appears to be some kind of computer hacker or programmer or…something. Now, sure, it's tough to make the movie Doc the power-hungry dictator of an Eastern European nation that he was in the comics. But still, our guts tell us that this new Doom could easily disappoint.

It Clears The Slate After Two Lousy Movies

The last two FF movies were straight up turkeys. They're fondly remembered by roughly no one, and the best part of them—Chris Evans as the Human Torch—has come back to greater super-heroic success as Captain America. The filmmakers are smart to try and cleanse the first two duds from our minds with a flick that seems to embrace the sci-fi weirdness potential that should have always been a part of this franchise.

It Still Won't Be A Part Of The Marvel Cinematic Universe

In the end, though, no matter how good this new flick turns out to be, it only continues to sever the ties between 20th Century Fox's Marvel properties and those being made by Marvel Studios. Sony and Marvel have agreed to bring Spider-Man into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, helping to unify one of Marvel's most important characters with his four-color-comrades. But with this reboot, it seems unlikely Fox will strike a similar agreement, keeping Marvel's First Family too far from their comic book descendants.