Back in 2015, director Joshua Trank seemed to be smack in the middle of a rapid ascent to the top of Hollywood’s big-budget movie apparatus. Propelled by the success of his 2012 debut feature Chronicle—a clever, somewhat prescient ode to our culture’s shared obsessions with superhero movies, found footage, and Michael B. Jordan—Trank had secured not only a shot at finally giving Marvel’s beloved Fantastic Four the movie treatment they deserved; he was also on the hook for his own Star Wars film, the kind of childhood fantasy most 29-year-old filmmakers could only dream of. (And for many of them, given the franchise’s infamous unwillingness to let women direct its live-action entries, possibly not even that.)
A year later, it was all gone. Fantastic Four was a massive flop, the Star Wars movie had evaporated, and, after a high-profile series of battles with Fox over the cut of his superhero sophomore effort, Trank’s reputation as a director was in tatters. Lending credence to the idea that he and Fox (and especially producer Simon Kinberg, whose latest stab at directing a superhero team outing didn’t fare much better) had been at each other’s throats over the film’s tone, editing, and story, Trank issued a tweet the night before its release, lamenting that audiences would never see his “fantastic version” of the film, which, he claimed, would have earned rave reviews.
All of which brings us to tonight, when Trank—whose third film, the Tom Hardy Al Capone biopic Fonzo, is still awaiting a release—hopped on film criticism site Letterboxd to give Fantastic Four a review of his own. Unsurprisingly (given how he’d all but disowned it in the past), Trank wasn’t any kinder to the movie than the majority of critics, blasting the Miles Teller-starring feature with a 2-star review. The text of his write-up is a bit more forgiving, though, even if it mostly takes the form of a rueful ode to the movie’s cast, and a read-between-the-lines condemnation of a process that left “TWO different movies in one movie competing to be that movie.”
Ultimately, though, Trank owns that the movie is part of his career, even if it’s also only “ALRIGHT.” (He also expresses his deep hope that Ant-Man’s Peyton Reed might some day take over the franchise and finally, finally give it the treatment it deserves.) As he says, “I was 29 years old, making my 2nd film, in a situation more complicated than anything a 2nd time filmmaker should’ve walked into. That said... I don’t regret any of it.” Trank also promises that some day we might get the full, bloody breakdown of exactly what happened on the film’s set, which, no offense, is probably a lot more interesting than either of the stories the movie was trying and failing to tell.