A lot of what has been said about Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four over the past six months (be it on this site, our sister site Bloody-Disgusting, or most film sites in general) has not been positive. For better or worse, right or wrong, that’s just the nature of the business when it comes to a troubled production. Sometimes such films yield fantastic results, such as Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece, Apocalypse Now. Sometimes they yield creative disasters, like Jimmy Hayward’s Jonah Hex.
I am approaching Fox’s reboot of Fantastic Four, which debuts this weekend, with caution, but also hope. I don’t want it to turn out to be a mess and/or a bad film. I have not yet seen it, but when I sit down with it later in the week, I’m still hoping to be surprised. Star Miles Teller, our new Mister Fantastic, hopes you feel that way too and has taken to defending the film…
“We tried to make something coming from a more dramatic standpoint so we’re hoping that people enjoy it and recognize that we’re trying to do something original,” he shared.
“Rarely are films of this size critically well received… This is not a movie we’re going to go on (review website) Rotten Tomatoes and it’s going to be at 80 or 90 per cent,” he added. “We did try to do something more than soulless, popcorn action.”
Kudos to Teller for sticking up for the film when few else are, especially when the studio itself has seemingly given up on it. After all, you don’t intentionally hint at an X-Men crossover for the first sequel, nor do you can the 3D conversion, if you have faith in the film’s potential success. Teller seems to be quite sincere in his interview as a whole and I truly hope that the film lives up to the intentions he conveys here.
That said, it’s hard to look at that Rotten Tomatoes comment and not shake my head. First off, I don’t personally put stock in Rotten Tomatoes or Metacritic scores. If you count yourself a film fan and take those numbers as gospel and use them as the main deciding factor when it comes to seeing a film or skipping it, I truly question your love of the medium.
I have no problem with the existence of either site and they can be immensely helpful for getting a grasp of a film’s acceptance, as well as a guide of sorts for casual movie fans to gauge their interests, so no offense meant to those that utilize it for those reasons. Moving beyond personal stances, bringing superhero movie Rotten Tomatoes scores into the conversation isn’t helping Teller’s cause at all, even with the “80 or 90 percent” goal he has set…
Going even older, Batman: The Movie (1966), Superman (1978), Superman 2 (1981), Batman Returns (1992), and Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993) all make the grade. Furthermore, Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), Iron Man 3 (2013), and Ant-Man (2015) are all teetering on the edge at 79%. A few more lie below that in the high 60s and low 70s. Mind you those percentages are not a mark of quality, but simply a measurement of how well these films have struck a chord with the critical community.
Does that mean that Teller’s Fantastic Four, which is currently sitting at a 20% on the infamous site, is being judged unfairly? No. It also doesn’t mean that it’s awful. After all, Blade and Blade 2…films from the start of this craze that I would still pit against some of the best efforts we are receiving today…currently sit at a 54% and a 57%, respectively.
The point here is not that Teller’s defense is invalid, but that slamming a system (right or wrong) that clearly DOES regularly reward films of this type with a high score is not the best way to go about it. While some industry professionals and fans might not like to admit it, many of these films actually ARE received well by both critics and audiences alike.
Once again, I wish Teller and his latest effort the best and I applaud him for standing up for it when few others will. In this case, however, he’s really not helping Fantastic Four by throwing out a ratings site example that is harshly judging his film while routinely hoisting similar films high. I can’t make a personal call myself just yet, Miles, but perhaps there’s a chance that the probably really is with your film and not critics and audiences?