So it’s finally here – the first teaser trailer for 20th Century Fox’s Fantastic Four reboot , and judging by the response, curiosity is very high.
Given the up-until-now secretive nature of imagery and information about Josh Trank’s film, early fans, early critics and impartial observers alike are getting a rare, true first impression of the film in a way that’s unusual for the superhero genre. So with that in mind we asked some of Newsarama’s writers and friends to write a short review of their initial reaction. And here are the results:
This may come from a place of diminished expectations, but watching the new Fantastic Four trailer, I have to say — I’m pleasantly surprised. That said, this may have to do with just how much mood the trailer set up, and how little the trailer actually showed. Fox is continuing the “quick montage” trend of most superhero movies, which bombards us with images but gives us next to no context. We get our best glimpses of Michael B. Jordan as the Human Torch, and Miles Teller as Reed Richards, but there’s very little showing what this story is actually about, either in terms of plot or themes. Yet perhaps because this film has already been so maligned by the fan base, I couldn’t help but enjoy the spectacle — I certainly liked this trailer more than Ant-Man’s, that’s for sure.
Right now, this trailer sort of gives us what I think a lot of people were expecting early on in the production of this film, before rampant internet speculation soured many fans’ opinions — Jordan still sells this movie as best he can, working on his car in a tank top, and scoring the best moment of the trailer as he bursts into flame. Sue and Ben, however, get very short shrift, and if you think Teller is too insufferable to cast as the brainy Reed Richards, well, this trailer won’t dissuade you, at least. While the sweeping musical score and menacing voiceover adds plenty of drama to the trailer, the substance behind Fantastic Four — how they came to be, what they’re up against — is a secret that will have to be revealed another day. – David Pepose, Best Shots Reviews editor
By all rights, I shouldn’t like the Fantastic Four trailer as much as I do. “My” Fantastic is the mid-period Stan Lee and Jack Kirby team, the one that’s practically pop-art on the page: colorful, upbeat and with those chunky Joe Sinnott inks. The Ultimate Fantastic Four book, which is clearly an inspiration to the movie, left me cold — but there’s something about this teaser that totally rings true for me.
A large part of it is that I recently re-read the first Lee and Kirby issues, and they’re scary; they’re about body horror and transformation and the unknown in a way that this trailer feels very faithful to; it’s not “the” Fantastic Four, the ones in the comic book that’s been around for 50 years, sure, but it’s certainly something that’s recognizable as Kirby and Lee’s original intent.
Beyond that, there’s the fact that it just looks like a good science-fiction movie — the visuals are impressive, Miles Teller’s Reed Richards looks charmingly nerdy, and there’s a lack of the “And here’s the super villain they must face!” formula that we’ve seen in Marvel and X-Men trailers recently. It looks like something different, and in many ways, that feels as faithful to what Lee and Kirby were trying to do originally as much as anything else. – Graeme McMillan, The Hollywood Reporter’s Heat Vision columnist, Newsarama contributor
One of the first things about the trailer that called to my inner geek is the narration and its focus on the fear of our own scientific ability. That theme is at the heart of the Fantastic Four's origin, and to hear it recognized right up front in this movie trailer is promising. The film looks like a nod toward the Ultimate version of Fantastic Four, and the filmmakers are going the route of inter-dimensional travel, like the Ultimate books did. That's fine, and it makes sense in today's "we've-seen-space-and-it's-not-so-scary" mindset, but I didn't see a lot in this trailer that makes me think the other dimension is going to be particularly interesting. Lots of dramatic music, but very little in the way of threat.
As a particular fan of Sue Storm, I did wonder how she'd be portrayed. The brief shot of her working some computer magic has the feel of War Games to me — and it shows how far we've come in the depiction of women since that movie: Instead of the clueless character played by Ally Sheedy playing off Matthew Broderick's geeky guy, this movie is advertising a (hopefully) brilliant Sue Storm to work with the geeky Reed Richards.
On the bad side… we've been told that these actors were chosen because they could act, but they don't actually say anything in the trailer, which is a little concerning. And I miss the blue. The Fantastic Four wears blue. Right? But on the good side, Reed doing experiments in his garage as a kid is all kinds of awesome, and the movie feels like it has a youthful appeal that I think will work well with this superhero team.
Beyond that, my quick impressions are that the special effects look pretty good, but too brief to really reach any conclusions. (I'm not even sure I want to guess what that split-second of Thing-type rocks means.) And although we've been burnt with former Fantastic Four movies, this version has enough promise for me to shift into wait-and-see-more-before-I-judge mode. – Vaneta Rogers, Newsarama contributor
Having recently watched/reviewed as many Fantastic Four adaptations as possible, I can say this is a very good trailer for Christopher Nolan's Interstellar.
Anyone see Miles Teller in Whiplash? It's so good. – Zack Smith, Newsarama contributor
Take the last few seconds off this teaser trailer and could you even tell that this movie was an adaption of a sixty-plus year old comic book? It was a very interesting and ultimately very smart way to approach a movie that is loaded with more negative baggage than just about any other comic book property being made into films today.
Watch it again and imagine that you haven’t lived your whole lives knowing at least the most general concepts behind The Fantastic Four, what do you see? Classic ‘capital-S-with-an-exclamation-point’ science imagery and a sage-like monologue about the glory of human endeavor. Words and pictures like these have stirred audiences’ interest as far back as The Right Stuff and right up to today’s films like Interstellar. So when the giant rock-man appears in silhouette at the end and the name of the movie flashes on screen you see that sixty year-old concept and think ‘ok, let’s do this!’
Now think of this same trailer, but drop in some of the names and visuals you expected to see. Johnny Storm yells “Flame On!” Thing goes “It’s Clobberin’ Time!” Doctor Doom talks about himself in the third person, Mr. Fantastic stretches himself into the form of a slingshot. The trailer is not about a new world and human achievement, it’s an effect showcase. Some small detail ends up dominating the conversation and a movie with already low expectations stays that way.
20th Century Fox did themselves a lot of favors today. The outlook for this movie has completely changed. - Seth Robison, contributor
As a Fantastic Four purist, it's difficult to separate my love of the trappings of Lee and Kirby's genre-defining hundred-issue run from the requirements of modern cinema. Going into this first teaser for Trank's new film, I was hoping to catch a glimpse of the hopeful, bright, sci-fi bonanza of the world's greatest comic magazine. And while I was disappointed by just how dark everything looks, the themes of exploration and discovery are pervasive in the clip.
Rather than feeling like the embattled production recent muckraking has painted it as, Trank's Fantastic Four comes through this clip looking less like a scuttled superhero piece, and more like a major sci-fi blockbuster - signs that bode well for his vision. Ignoring comparisons to other films in the genre, and foregoing what this teaser doesn't show - namely Doom - what it does deliver is, to even a dyed-in-the-wool naysayer such as myself, encouraging.
It's tough to go whole hog supporting a movie you know won't deliver the experience you dream about, but my impression of Trank's Fantastic Four has improved measurably with this glimpse, showing that he, at least, has a strong handle on the film's sci-fi roots while eschewing the silliness of previous movie attempts. Whether Trank can capture the heart and soul of the FF in its family dynamic, and avoid the pitfalls of going too dark and dreary remains to be seen. But for what it does provide, this first Fantastic Four teaser is a winner. – George Marston, Newsarama contributor
There's not much action in the Fantastic Four trailer, but there is a keen understanding of the characters, and the personality traits that drive the narratives of the comics. The previous Fantastic Four movies went for a sense of goofball, family fun, not too different from the way Mark Waid wrote the comic back in the early 2000's. I give the trailer for the new project props for highlighting two emotional tones Jonathan Hickman's played up in later Fantastic Four comics: a sense of wonder in the face of scientific discovery and the horror of not knowing what you may find at the other end of that portal to a new world.
Trailers tend to be schlocky exercises in comedy beats, shrilly drama, or CGI action, but here you get a ballooning sense of dread for the future Richards family. The narrator's voice says "consequences" when you see Johnny flame on, it mentions "sacrifice" when you see Ben Grimm as the Thing. In subtle ways, the trailer is hitting on the character traits that add humanity to these heroes. And to me, that's the best way to translate a comic from the page to the screen. - Kenneth Butler, Laptop Magazine & Tom's Guide web producer, Newsarama contributor
Love how the Fantastic Four trailer highlights Kate Mara and Michael B. Jordan's dialogue and personalities. Oh wait. - Draven Katayama, Best Shots reviewer
That trailer is definitely something new, unexplored. Treating it like hard sci-fi instead of a toy commercial. It's a new conceived notion of what a superhero movie could be. They're explorers, breaking their teeth and becoming a team. The whole thing looked somber, but Fantastic Four is at its core a tragic accident and how these characters come out of it as it builds character and are united. The score is interesting, too. Again, more quiet and epic than the usual superhero flare. It takes some notes from Ultimate Fantastic Four it looks like with a younger cast, but we've known that.
Having Reg Cathey's narration is a good example of what to expect and I thought fit the new direction. We really didn't see who these characters are though, but just giving an idea of the visuals. It's treated as a teaser, and I'm perfectly fine with being teased — I want to see more. - Lan Pitts, Best Shots reviewer, Newsarama Contributor
Hopefully I won't be the only one watching this trailer and at the end going, "Huh." From the trailer, it looks like Fantastic Four will be a movie with cosmic-sized consequences and it seems like these characters are going to be left to the wayside as the plot tries to be as grand as possible. Despite the great visuals and special effects — the silhouette of the Thing actually looks great – this trailer doesn't make me feel like this is a Fantastic Four movie yet.
These characters on screen might have the names and abilities of the comic book versions of the Fantastic Four, but the trailer makes it seem doubtful there'll be any further similarities. And maybe that's not such a bad thing if the story ends up being well-written and character driven. Overall, this trailer ends feeling ambivalent and indicating any faults we'll find with the movie will be on the writers and director Josh Trank alone. - Michael Moccio, Best Shots reviewer
The blizzard may have proven anticlimactic, but the new Fantastic Four trailer has far exceeded my expectations. That said, it’s super dark. Way darker than I thought it’d be. I’m not sure if I can take it completely serious yet.
Still, I was expecting it to be a hilarious train wreck. I still have no idea if it'll be even halfway decent but the tone, at least, is a lot more interesting than the strange humor of the first films. As one of my friends said, it could've been a lot worse: when Reed asked what was coming, that voice could have answered, "Doom." Ugh. Also, Ben doesn't look like an orange Rice Krispie treat anymore, so that's nice. - Marlene Bonnelly, Best Shots reviewer
Just off the top, I am still rooting for this movie. Josh Trank's second foray into the superhero genre has had a real rough go of it since pre-production and the fan reactions to everything that has leaked so far has been less than great. All that aside, I still find myself excited for it because its the Fantastic Four, and nothing could be worse than the first two, right?
So this trailer is very moody and sullen at times, and it holds its cards very close to its chest in regards to showing off the Four's powers, but the thing that really struck me is the feeling that this is going to be more hard science fiction than anything else, and that should get the rest of you excited as well. Before the Four were full-fledged superheroes, they were explorers, flinging themselves into the void for the sake of discovery. Jonathan Hickman used this harder sci-fi edge to great effect in his run with the "First Family of Comics," and I think the movie could as well.
Sure, we only get one good shot of the Thing and Johnny finally lighting up, but who care? A teaser teases and this definitely evoked a few good feelings in me as I watched it. I am still in this movie's corner, despite the fact that the larger comic community isn't... yet... - Justin Partridge, III, Best Shots reviewer