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Does Size Matter With Comic Book Film Adaptations?

20th Century Fox

20th Century Fox’s new Fantastic Four reboot came out this weekend, and it would be an understatement to say that it received negative reviews. To put it bluntly: it was torn apart. It’s a shame, considering that the franchise actually merited a reboot to wash the taste of the first two Fantastic Four film adaptations out of our mouths (which don’t look that bad anymore when compared to this new reboot). Alas, it seems that the movie was just meant to re-secure Fox’s rights over the intellectual property of the characters.

It was recently brought to my attention that this week’s Fantastic Four reboot is one of the shortest entries in film adaptations of Marvel comic books. At 100 minutes, it is shorter than every single Marvel adaptation since 1989 except for the 1989 Punisher film (89 minutes), 1990 Captain America film, (97 minutes) Elektra (96 minutes), Fantastic Four: Rise of The Silver Surfer (92 minutes), and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (95 minutes). Hell, even Howard the Duck was 111 minutes.

I’m not saying that all comic book adaptations need to be lengthy and overstuffed, but there is definitely a correlation here. X-Men: The Last Stand, arguably the worst X-Men film, had the shortest running time of that franchise (104 minutes).

An adaptation of a comic book that has been running for decades surely needs enough time to appropriately flesh out its characters and build the relationships on celluloid that have been so carefully put together on the page. No care was taken at all with the new Fantastic Four. It has a lazily-written script and barely any character development at all (I don’t even think Ben and Sue speak to each other until the final 20 minutes) It seems pieced together from random takes like Frankenstein’s Monster personified.

What do you think? Do you think a good comic book film adaptation can be under two hours (or 110 minutes)? I would typically lean toward “yes” if any of the shorter Marvel film adaptations were good, but unfortunately they are not, though taste is subjective. Let us know in the comments below!

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