The new Fantastic Four trailer dropped yesterday and my excitement for August is increasing exponentially. The first trailer was overshadowed by comparisons to Interstellar in terms of its visual aesthetic, but I’m hoping that this trailer will get people talking for the right reasons. And what are the right reasons? I’m so glad you asked. Here are four things about Fantastic Four that I wish people were talking about more, and give me hope that it will not be Just Another Superhero Movie.
1) Reg E. Cathey as Franklin Storm
I was excited about this casting in large part because Franklin Storm is actually, in my view, mostly important because of his absence rather than his presence in both the original 616-Marvel universe and the Ultimate universe that serves as the inspiration for the cinematic reboot. To have Franklin as a character at all, much less played by the incredible Reg E. Cathey is a bold move, and this second trailer confirms that not only does Cathey have some amazing gravitas, but a beguiling vulnerability as well. This is typical of the Fox-Does-Marvel-Redux in that the rebooted series have an emphasis on humanity–not just in terms of making their characters more human and less one-dimensional, but also in focusing on what the existence of superheroes means for humanity. Also, he’s black. Three cheers for black scientists being represented in the media and therefore being recognized as actually existing.
2) The Thing Looking Like Actual Stone And Not Foam
The Fantastic Four have always been elemental in that their powers are the embodiment of the different elements–Johnny Storm as fire, Sue Storm as air, Reed Richards as water, and Ben Grimm as earth–and having a Thing that looks like he is really made from actual stone and not foam goes a long way to hammer that allegory home. I pretty much know nothing about how visual effects are done, so this is 100% movie magic to me. I don’t know if it’s a combination of CGI and other stuff or just pure CGI, but that doesn’t matter to me, because it looks amazing.
3) The Negative Zone
Josh Trank and Simon Kinberg have teased about what it means that this version of the Fantastic Four are not interstellar travelers, but interdimensional. In this trailer we get our first glimpse of another dimension that, as a Fantastic Four comics fan, I hope will be revealed as the Negative Zone. The Negative Zone is one of the weirdest things in the Marvel universe, but it was discovered by Reed Richards and appears frequently in the Fantastic Four comics, so as a comics fan, it gives me joy to see it finally translated onscreen. To put it another way, my joy is not unlike the way I felt seeing Asgard brought to life in the Thor movies in the MCU. These are locations that are incredibly important, and just too big for the small screen not only in terms of budget, but also in scope. They need to be seen in a theatre.
4) The Not-Fistbump
Full disclosure: I fell in love with Chris Evans as Johnny Storm in the first films, which led directly to me reading the Fantastic Four comics. That being said, I’ve been excited about Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm since the casting announcement because he is an amazing actor. Also, I have to say again that I’m in full support of recasting roles with non-white actors. It’s important. It’s important for serious reasons, like media representation, but also for not-serious reasons, like the joy I get from this failed fistbump between Johnny and Reed. Adorable doesn’t even begin to cover it.