By most accounts, the latest Fantastic Four movie (like all of the previous ones) wasn’t very good. Director Josh Trank admitted as much when he said that the version he initially tried to make would’ve gotten better reviews, and Kate Mara—who starred in it—made it clear that she wasn’t really in any rush to see the movie once they finished filming it. Even Stan Lee didn’t really like it, but that was mostly because the producers didn’t ask for his input or offer him a cameo. In fact, the response to the movie was so negative that Fox dropped its plan to make a sequel, meaning there will probably be another Fantastic Four reboot in a few years.
Writer and producer Simon Kinberg was also pretty down on the film, admitting back in May that he and 20th Century Fox “didn’t make a good movie.” Apparently, he’s really been thinking about just how not-good Fantastic Four was, because he expanded on his thoughts in a recent episode of the Happy Sad Confused podcast (via io9). In the interview, Kinberg explained that he believes you can’t blame a bad movie on “a single decision,” but that being said, he thinks the biggest problem with Fantastic Four was that it “ran counter to the DNA of the source material.” In other words, he thinks the movie was too dark and too far removed from the “bright, optimistic, [and] poppy in tone” comic book characters that it was based on.
It’s tough to argue with that, since the Fantastic Four tend to be more about thrilling adventures than angst and body-horror, but if he recognizes this now, why didn’t he recognize it then? Even though he’s admitting the movie was bad, this still kind of reads like him trying to distance himself from what went wrong. Plus, in the wake of Batman V Superman, blaming a superhero movie’s problems on it being “too dark” is a little easy. Fantastic Four had loads of problems, and while the tone was probably one of them, it certainly wasn’t the biggest. After all, Stan Lee didn’t even get a cameo. Clearly, that was the biggest problem.