Director Josh Trank Doesn’t Think ‘Fantastic Four’ Is That Bad

Published on November 25, 2019

2015’s Fantastic Four reboot was plummeted by audiences and critics alike, and it was a substantial box-office bomb. It was a failure that didn’t rise above 20th Century Fox’s previous adaptations of the fabulous four Marvel heroes, including Mister Fantastic (Miles Teller), Susan Storm (Kate Mara), Johnny Storm (Michael B. Jordan), and The Thing (Jamie Bell).

The end result wasn’t a shock given the movie’s highly publicized production issues, with director Josh Trank and the studio reportedly not seeing eye-to-eye on the project.

20th Century Fox gutted Trank’s gritty take

Coming off the successful low-budget superhero movie, Chronicle, Trank jumped at the opportunity to play in a bigger sandbox with Fantastic Four. His vision for the Marvel heroes was reportedly more gritty, grounded, and with more character than action. Apparently, his take on the material didn’t fly with 20th Century Fox, who ordered reshoots and cut the movie to bits and pieces. The finished film is nowhere near what Trank intended.

The drama heated up enough to the point where Trank himself, before the movie’s opening weekend, tweeted, “A year ago I had a fantastic version of this. And it would’ve received great reviews. You’ll probably never see it. That’s the reality though.” He was, arguably, one of the movie’s greatest critics. Subsequently, and perhaps due to the stories about his poor on-set behavior, Trank lost out on directing A Star Wars story. Things only got worse from there when Fantastic Four opened in theaters, scoring a 9% on Rottentomatoes and only making $167 million worldwide. The movie cost a reported $120 million but add on marketing and the cost of reshoots, and that box-office figure only looks worse.

All the emotions

Since the movie’s release in 2015, Trank has been tight-lipped about his unfortunate experience, but he’s now opened up again about his complicated feelings towards the film. On Letterboxd — a site to rate movies and keep track of what you’ve been watching — he posted a review of his own movie, writing the following:

Great cast.

Everyone in the film is a great actor, and overall there is a movie in there, somewhere. And that cast deserves to be in THAT movie. Everyone who worked on Fant4stic clearly wanted to be making THAT movie. But…. ultimately… It wasn’t.
Did I make that movie they deserved to be in?
To be honest?
I can’t tell.
What I can tell is there are TWO different movies in one movie competing to be that movie.
Is there a #releasethetrankcut?
Doesn’t matter.
I’m not Zack Snyder.
Zack Snyder is a storied, iconic, legendary filmmaker who has been knocking it out of the fucking park since I was in high school.
Me? Then?
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.
It’s a part of me.

— Josh Trank, Director.
Two out of five… ain’t bad

Trank gave the movie two out of five stars, adding it was the first time he had watched it since two weeks before it was released. At the time, he was in a terrible state of mind. Looking back, it’s not as bad as he expected, but he hopes one day the characters get their due in a quality movie. As he wrote, he could go on and on about what went wrong with Fantastic Four, but that’s for another time.

That other time might be when his next movie, Fonzo, arrives in theaters. There’s no question when Trank’s third feature film comes out, which stars Tom Hardy as an old Al Capone losing his sense of reality, he’ll face questions about his Fantastic Four reboot. The gangster drama is due out in theaters next year.

Jack Giroux is a Staff Writer at Grit Daily. Based in Los Angeles, he is an entertainment journalist who's previously written for Thrillist, Slash Film, Film School Rejects, and The Film Stage.

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