Fantastic 4 Teaser Breakdown

From the director of the sleeper superhero flick Chronicle, that showed us that a mix of found-footage highjinks and a cast of near-nobodies can amount to a decently entertaining film, comes Hollywood's next big reboot. That's right, I'm talking about the much-under-wraps Fantastic Four film, set to release August of this year. With little known about what may occur in this secretive project, just recently we got our first taste of the film's new cast, as well as its dark new atmosphere. From eerie British narrators to shocking alterations to the main cast, this reboot looks to set the stage for a whole new franchise from 20th Century Fox's Marvel universe. Here to breakdown this vague teaser, I offer some of my thoughts on how this project may go:


We start off overseeing the New York City skyline, accompanied by the usual aspects of dark superhero origin films: eerie piano music, and a gloomy narrator, this time sounding almost like Englishman Benedict Cumberbatch. This Cumber-esque voice ponders to the audience, saying something along the lines of "How did we get this far?" and that "human beings have an immeasurable desire to discover..." This leads into our first glimpse of the home/workplace of Ben Grimm aka the rocky colossus known as The Thing. Printed on the side of this unknown building, we can only assume that this is where a young Grimm might spend his days. 


Looking to the stars, we are then taken to a field, almost reminiscent of Interstellar's equally as mysterious first teaser, where a car speeds along into the dust. This dreary voice narrates on, continuing the list of "immeasurable desires" that humans have. We then take a peek at a possible young Reed Richards aka Mister Fantastic watching, worried, over a radiating device. Unknown as to what this invention is, or what it does, my guess is that it will most likely play into the overall origin tale of this superpowered team.  


As the teaser progresses, we now find ourselves in some type of laboratory, where participants of an experiment, most likely the four main characters, enter some type of containment pods. Dressed in white hazmat suits, our four heroes are most likely using these pods for teleportation, this of course taking influence from the Ultimate Fantastic Four comic. As the comic insists, this teleportation method, which would be developed by a young Reed (most likely the invention seen before), would take the team to the Negative Zone, or the "N-Zone". Not the biggest comic reader out there, I'm not that familiar with this origin tale, but I do know that this "N-Zone" will definitely play a massive role in how these four get so fantastic.


As we move on, the next scene shows a government meeting room, most likely laying out plans for this unknown experiment, as the narrator continues to talk about "furthering these ideals" in order to make a bright future. Next, we get our first look at our main cast, beginning with the bright-eyed and cheery Reed Richards. Played by Miles Teller, who just recently gave a memorable performance in Whiplash as a promising young drummer, Reed Richards takes on a similar persona, this time as a promising, young scientist with an eye for innovation. Soon to be the leader of this superpowered team, let's hope Teller can bring his A-game, and make the stretch in this fresh franchise. Following Richards, we see Ms. Susan Storm, played by the beautiful Kate Mara. Seen here as some kind of computer analyst, it is unknown as to how exactly Storm joins the team in the experiment, but it is certain she will be a sight to see after she gains her abilities (wink, wink). A fan of actress Kate Mara, from her bad-ass role in Netflix's House of Cards, I think she'll do excellently as the cool and calculated Sue Storm, less of a damsel in distress and more of a prominent leader of the team.


We then are introduced to the next teammate, Ben Grimm, Reed's athletic and intelligent ally and friend. Played by a bulky, jock-like Jamie Bell, who is usually seen in more smaller, calculated roles, Grimm's baseball-playing stature will be rocked when the Negative Zone leaves him with a stone-hard hide of orange (or greyish orange as seen in this teaser). Grimm will probably be the most interesting character to see on-screen, as his monstrous appearance is softened by trauma-struck emotions.


The final teammate we meet is Michael B. Jordan's Johnny Storm, "brother" to Kate Mara's Sue Storm. One of the more shocking castings in the reboot, Jordan rejoins his Chronicle director for another comical role, this time with a bit more grit and force. Playing a predominantly white character in the comics, Jordan is taking a massive leap, just as Samuel L. Jackson and the late Michael Clarke Duncan did for their own Marvel Comic roles in the past, letting fans know it doesn't matter what color you are, as long as you embody the character well. A fan who is fine with the change in venue for the character, I hope Jordan brings his own unique heat to the role of the Human Torch.

In the following scenes, quick as they are, we get more glimpses at this teleportation experiment, as well as a peek at Franklin Storm (Reg E. Cathey), father to Sue and Johnny Storm. Given that he is African-American, we can only assume it is Sue that is possibly the adopted child in the Storm family, given Johnny's race. While this is only speculation, it's obvious that Sue and Johnny aren't blood-related, bringing up further questions of the two siblings' pasts. Whether we are told soon, or must wait to see it in the final product, this interesting change from the source material may bring interesting new tidings, or more unfortunate backlash.


As the narrator (which may or may not be Cathey's Franklin Storm) continues his statement, now a warning about the risks and consequences of "new discoveries", we see that this experiment may not end as the team had anticipated. From Sue Storm peering in a conflicted gaze, to someone (who I assume to be Toby Kebbell's young Doctor Doom) dragging themselves out of a fiery wreckage, this teleportation to the Negative Zone doesn't look that pleasant to me.


We then get some shots of Reed, dressed in what looks like a make-shift suit, possibly the rumored containment-like uniforms that the team will sport in their beginning days as gifted individuals. And, finally, in a few quick shots, we are hinted at the transformations of both Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm, Storm looking to be in some abandoned lab hallway, scattered with fallen soldiers. Another city skyline shot later, and we are taken into the Negative Zone, as the hazmat-suited team ascends a rocky terrain. Most likely a volcano or something of that nature, this massive climb may be nearing towards the anticipated moment of the team's gifted rebirth...or their unfortunate demise.  


In the climactic shots of the teaser, we are barraged by a number of speedy teases, from a possible Doctor Doom blasting guards out of his way to a fully-suited Johnny Storm taking on some blue blur (maybe something emitted from Sue Storm in a fit of rage at Johnny). With a final shot of Reed forcing his extendable arm towards the great unknown, we are given the title screen, with the infamous "number as a letter" aspect obviously apparent once more...Fant4stic...(sigh)


In the final scene, we see Reed standing over a dormant figure laying on an exam table. Being observed from behind a window by possibly government officials or scientists, the figure poses the warning of "Be ready for what's coming..." to Reed, pondering to an unknown threat that will encounter the team. After asking what's coming, we see our first shot of the team in full, presiding in front of a grand rock structure, emitting a mysterious blue beam into the cloudy sky. Equipped with various suits of different kinds, excluding an apparently nude Grimm, the team stares in awe of the great but threatening wonder that shines before them.


With this incredibly vague and mysterious teaser, comes an amazing amount of both anticipation and speculation. With the reboot obviously taking influence from the Ultimate comic series, this new film will definitely be a whole lot different from the 2005 franchise, with grittier characters and a clean slate as to how the team gets their abilities. However this shiny new reboot may turn out, I'm hopeful that it will surpass the early franchise of kiddie jokes and bad makeup, and replace it with bad-ass special effects and involving character development. With Chronicle resulting to a decent take on a dark superhero idea, I have faith that director Josh Trank can bring this superpowered team into mass popularity, just as Bryan Singer did for X-Men. 


With this superhero-themed post coming to a close, and Marvel and its various studios popping up in entertainment news all over, it's only appropriate to segway from here into my newest post, coming later this week. Unless you live under a rock, or you're just not a movie person, you may know about a certain red and blue web-slinger that has made his way into a new home at Marvel Studios. If you do know what I'm talking about, stay tuned this week for my thoughts on the unknown future of the Spider-Man film franchise...        

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