20th Century Fox has finally released a single paragraph of plot summary for The Fantastic Four, the de-Chiklisized reboot of the sci-fi superteam. The new film arrives next August, and there’s already a sequel planned for 2017, plus the theoretical possibility that Fox’s Fantastic Four could cross over with Fox’s X-Men franchise. Not much is officially known about the reboot—although rumors persist that villainous tyrant Dr. Doom has been reimagined as a villainous blogger named Doom.
There’s no mention of nefarious social networking in the plot summary, but that doesn’t mean we can’t overthink all two sentences in an attempt to decode whether The Fantastic Four will be a good reboot or a bad reboot—the next Rise of the Planet of the Apes or the next Tim Burton of the Planet of the Apes.
The Fantastic Four, a contemporary re-imagining of Marvel’s original and longest-running superhero team…
The irony is a positively acid: The Fantastic Four comic book is actually slated to end early next year. Conspiracy theorists say that Marvel Comics is ending Fantastic Four because Marvel Studios doesn’t own the film rights to Fantastic Four, due to complicated legal shenanigans.
…centers on four young outsiders who teleport to an alternate and dangerous universe, which alters their physical form in shocking ways.
This would appear to gibe with the Ultimate Fantastic Four version of the superteam’s origin. The FF’s old-school origins were rooted in Cold War paranoia, with the team launching themselves into space and getting blasted by cosmic radiation.
The Ultimate reboot nixed the whole space-shuttle thing. It also aged everybody downwards. Classically, the Fantastic Four were a family in the sitcom sense. Gray-templed Reed Richards was Dad; annoyed wife Sue Storm was Mom; and bull-headed Ben Grimm fought hotshot glamourboy Johnny Storm filled out the sibling/child roles.
We already knew that the Fantastic Four movie was opting for the youth-group approach, casting a group of fresh-faced youngsters in the lead roles. But the specific description of the Four as “outsiders” is new. In pretty much every iteration of the FF, they’re pretty much the ultimate insiders: Sweet digs, boundless budget, big brains, and sweet powers. It sounds a little bit like they’re X-Mening the Fantastic Four. Though in fairness, pretty much every movie about hot young people is an X-Men movie now. Nobody understands them! Their souls are pretty, too!
Their lives irrevocably upended, the team must learn to harness their daunting new abilities…
Rough translation: “Much of the running time of The Fantastic Four will be superheroes struggling with whether or not they want to become superheroes.”
…and work together to save Earth from a former friend turned enemy.
Rough translation: “The superheroes will decide to become superheroes.” The former friend turned enemy is almost certainly Doom or Dr. Doom or @DocDoom or whatever they’re calling the Fantastic Four’s most famous bad guy.
The fact that Fox is now releasing an official summary probably means we’re cusping on an official trailer, so start preparing yourself mentally for “young outsider” haircuts.