There’s a lot of talk going ’round these days about actor Michael B. Jordan, a Black actor, being cast as The Human Torch in the Fantastic Four reboot. The defenders usually jump right to racism as the only reason anyone could have a problem with this. But I think that’s just an easy way for these guys to avoid the real issue.

Guess who’s coming to dinner with the FF…?

michaelbI come right out and say I was shocked when I read it for the first time, and I’m a huge fan of Michael B. Jordan. I immediately checked my Twitter stream to see what folks were saying.

Yes, there were some true racist bastards talking trash out there, but most people were simply saying “WHY?” Many were saying that the movie creators should respect the source material (I disagree with this because the source material is crap), and some were saying it ruins the believability of the film.

When I looked at a lot of the responses, many were thinking the same thing I am, even if they didn’t articulate it in a similar way. Namely…what’s up with the naked pandering??

THE PASSION OF THE PANDERING

As far as I’m concerned, this is obviously blatant pandering by the studio in order to get more butts in the seats when the movie opens.

The powers-that-be took a look at the characters as they are, and correctly surmised (as I may have mentioned) that the Fantastic Four sucks.

Something else would be needed to get people to look at these characters, because they sure as hell don’t hold up on their merits. At this point, I’m sure some intern’s lone, timid voice cried out, quavering with (probably warranted) fear and suggested “We could write a compelling story, then produce a cool trailer that grabs people’s attention, couldn’t we?”

Almost before he could finish, a resounding “HELL, NO!!” shouted him down. He was drummed out of the industry, never to work again. Probably working at Verizon tech support or something now.

Anyway, the point is, in order to spice up these bland, tepid, lame characters, they decided to go for the controversy. And it WORKED.

I mean, here I am writing about the Fantastic Four….again.

People all over the web are crying foul on this, including me – and they’re not (all) racists.

Responses

Actor Anthony Mackie says anyone who has problems with this needs to “look at themselves”, suggesting that therein lies the problem.

No. I’m not going to look at myself. I’m not the problem. It’s not even Anthony Mackie. It’s the studio marketing and casting folks who are using people and pandering to specific audiences in order to create this reaction and spike interest in the movie.

Another Anthony Mackie response is the old chestnut “Hey guys, it’s a fictional character, grow up and get a life“. Not his exact words, but that’s his meaning. So, we’re not supposed to care about who’s playing the part, but somehow I guess they would like us to care enough to go see it, right?

I don’t expect any of these actors to have any respect for comic books. I know very few people in my real life that do. Of course, they respect it when it’s a movie. Wow, a MOVIE! Everyone respects movies. I mostly don’t, but that’s just me. Maybe Mackie is right, there’s something fundamentally wrong with all of us who have objections to this. It can’t be that we’re simply tired of naked marketing ploys that masquerade as attempts to be inclusive, getting people all riled up in the interests of “progress” when it’s nothing but a well-designed campaign to get people talking about this sure-to-be-turd of a movie.

The people behind this decision don’t give a damn about progress or inclusion or anything of the sort, all they care about is making that money. Mackie and Jordan certainly know this, but they also benefit from it, so it’s in their best interests to perpetuate the drama and pretend there are no valid reasons to cry foul on this.

I don’t really care too much if there is or isn’t a Black person in the movie. If it looks good, I go see it, if not I won’t. I won’t necessarily see a film because it has a Black cast or deals with “Black issues”. You won’t catch me watching The Butler or 12 Years A Slave, although I did catch Best Man Holiday. So just throwing Michael B. into a bad story like Fantastic Four doesn’t mean I’m in.

And what about the actor himself, Michael B. Jordan? He says “They’re still going to go see it anyway.”

No, I’m not. Hell no.

Not only do I rarely go out to see movies anyway, but I’m damned sure not going to waste my money on Fantastic Four. I usually don’t get around to seeing the movies I actually want to see, at least in the theater. I also avoided Amazing Spider-Man, and I’ll be sitting out Guardians of the Galaxy, too, so I’m already in practice.

I’ve seen Michael B. in almost everything he’s been in. Yes, he was in The Wire, but my favorite MBJ performances are from the TV series Friday Night Lights and Parenthood. Yes, I watch Parenthood. Every episode makes me glad I’m not one.

But, I digress. What I was getting at is that this movie won’t be seen by me. Not only because of this marketing okey-doke, but simply because, well…I don’t know if I mentioned this before, but the Fantastic Four are awful, and almost nothing can make the characters worth watching.

Make it Work

With all this said, I don’t have an intrinsic problem with Johnny Storm being Black, except that the character is a huge womanizing, douchebaggy asshole (and he’s not even the worst of the lot). But, it’s a high-profile role for Michael B., so oh well. Sometimes you’re gonna play an asshole, I guess. Still, since this is happening, what’s the best way to reconcile his blonde sister?

katemaraIn other news, I’m not sold on Kate Mara as Susan Storm, either. I love Kate Mara, and I even wrote about her way back in the day on this site in my piece on The Science of American Horror Story. Also if you haven’t seen her in House of Cards, for the love o’ Pete fire up that Netflix account and get watching.

But as for the Invisible Woman, Kate seems like she has too much flavor to be Susan Storm. I suppose we’ll see if the fans accept her the way they didn’t accept Jessica Alba.

Then again…it doesn’t matter

I’m not sure if a lot of people know this, but the Marvel movies actually exist within the Marvel Universe.

What I mean is, normally when you have a Batman or Spider-Man movie, it’s sort of acknowledged that this is a one-off kind of thing and it has no bearing on the comic book universe.

In Marvel’s case, (most of) their movies take place on Earth-199999. It’s an Earth shifted over about 199383 realities from the “normal” Marvel heroes of the comic book stories (that one is Earth 616).

So it’s not like the credits roll and that’s it. These stories happened, and could potentially harbor consequences for the 616 heroes. Except, the movie heroes are based much more on the Ultimate line of heroes from Earth-1610, rather than the mainstay heroes from the longest-running comics.

I read that Fantastic Four is supposed to be based more on the Ultimate Fantastic Four, than the 616 one, but it won’t matter because those characters are just as unlikeable, if not much more, than the 616 team. At least Johnny Storm should have genius level intellect in this one.

Ultimate_Fantastic_Four_Vol_1_21

I don’t think the movie FF can interact with The Avengers on Earth-199999 because 20 Century Fox owns FF (along with X-Men and Wolverine, I believe), so Marvel doesn’t quite have control of that one. The first Fox FF movie took place on Earth-121698, so they’re not in the same universe. Spider-Man is controlled by Sony, so he won’t be making any appearances either. Not that we would want the FF in the Avengers, dragging down the story with their suckitude.

The bottom line is, these movies are their own separate entity, so it just so happens in this one that one of them is Black…in order to add some hype to otherwise boring characters.

See, I told you these guys were awful…


Reed Richards

Hello everyone. I just got word about the new movie reboot. Are you all excited?

8 hours agoCommentLike

 

Susan (Storm) Richards

I know I am!

7 hours agoLike

Ben Grimm

Hell yeah!

7 hours agoLike

Johnny Storm (Garrett)

Yeah, me too!

7 hours agoLike

Ben Grimm

Who the hell is this guy?

6 hours agoLike

Johnny Storm (Garrett)

Fantastic Four assemble!! Ha! You guys see what I did there? like ‘Avengers Assemble?’ Except with ‘Fantastic Four’?

5 hours agoLike

Johnny Storm (Garrett)

Hello?

5 hours agoLike

Johnny Storm (Garrett)

Ahh, forget it.

5 hours agoLike

Reed Richards

Pardon me, but who are you?

4 hours agoLike

Johnny Storm (Garrett)

Oh, right. It’s me, Johnny Storm, The Human Torch.

3 hours agoLike

Ben Grimm

What?!

3 hours agoLike

Susan (Storm) Richards

Excuse me, but what are you talking about?! You’re not my brother!

3 hours agoLike

Johnny Storm (Garrett)

I am now, baby. The studio just sent me over. Gotta get some flavor in this thing somehow, you know.

2 hours agoLike

Susan (Storm) Richards

No, I DON’T know. What happened to my brother???

2 hours agoLike

Johnny Storm (Garrett)

you mean that white guy? I don’t know. All I know is he’s out, and I’m in. WUZZUP??!

2 hours agoLike

Susan (Storm) Richards

But WHERE IS HE?!

2 hours agoLike

Johnny Storm (Garrett)

Sheesh, lady, I DON’T KNOW. The studio said they’d take care of him.

2 hours agoLike

Johnny Storm (Garrett)

Oh yeah, I’m supposed to stay in his room from now on. I’m down in the lobby now, can one of you guys let me upstairs?

2 hours agoLike

Ben Grimm

So you have powers?

2 hours agoLike

Johnny Storm (Garrett)

YUP. Just like that last dude. I can light stuff on fire. Except I have to use a match, or a lighter or something. And I also can’t fly. And also I can’t light myself on fire, because I would likely die, but aside from that I’m just like him…except Black.

2 hours agoLike

Reed Richards

I hope they don’t expect me to work with this awful negro.

2 hours agoLike

Ben Grimm

DUDE. Not cool.

2 hours agoLike

Johnny Storm (Garrett)

That’s alright, Ben. They already told me about Reed.

2 hours agoLike

Reed Richards

I won’t apologize. It’s just not right.

2 hours agoLike

Susan (Storm) Richards

I’ve had enough of this, I’m going to look for my brother!

2 hours agoLike

Reed Richards

Good idea. Everyone to the Fantasticar!

2 hours agoLike

Ben Grimm

I’m on my way!

2 hours agoLike

Johnny Storm (Garrett)

Yeah, let’s do this thing! Rescue mission…whoooooo! So, like I said I’m still down in the lobby, soooo…do I just come on up, or do you guys fly down and pick me up, or what?

2 hours agoLike

Johnny Storm (Garrett)

You guys still there?

1 hour agoLike

Johnny Storm (Garrett)

uhhhhhhh the security guard is telling me i have to leave, so I guess I’ll be out on the sidewalk when you get back…

15 minutes agoLike

Johnny Storm (Garrett)

Screw this. I’m gonna go crash with Power Pack. Mrs. Power actually likes a lil’ chocolate from time to time. Hit me up over at her place when you’re ready.

2 minutes agoLike

The Wrap Up

Well, I know I’ve been all over the map on this one, but I just want to sum this whole thing up here:

Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna oh hey I may not have mentioned before that I wrote a piece about just how badly the Fantastic Four sucks! Or, did I?? Either way, check this out guys, they are terrible. Terrible heroes and also terrible examples of fictional human beings. The movie is sure to be bad. Bad bad bad, trust me. You gotta believe me.

Anyway, that’s pretty much it for this one, I’ll see you guys next time!

Thanks for sharing!

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JG ON THE WEB

John GarrettI'm , an artist and writer who loves Comics, Sci-fi, Fantasy, Web and Tech stuff - also, I prefer food in sandwich form. In addition, the subtle confluence of the ambience of the effervescence can sometimes blah blah blah blah oh hey did I ever mention I wrote two ebooks? Yeah, check these out:

The first one is comics and humor and it's called How to Deal With Stupid Clowns Who Don't Know What the Hell They're Talking About!

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My other book is a fantasy short story called The Cold Elf. Hatred, Revenge, and the last hope of the Elves...

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Both now available for Kindle, iPad, Nook and other mobile devices!

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  1. jman (Reply) on Mar 7, 2014

    yea…i’m not too big a fan of the FF, either. i’m also getting to the point where i’m not a big fan of these movies, too. i’ve said on many occasion that these movies aren’t for “us”. they’re for the public at large. and, i’m just not enjoying them too much (although, i am in for Guardians.)

    all that being said, i’m not sure how i feel about this re-casting of the FF. your point is well taken. so is the “racist” argument. to me, if you’re gonna make a movie based on existing characters, they should at least be true to the source. but…whatever.

    maybe i just don’t care enough about the FF to really care. :)
    jman recently posted..Thank God for: Coffee CreamerMy Profile

    • JG
      Twitter: johngarrettx
      (Reply)
      on Mar 7, 2014

      You’re right jman, the movies are for the general moviegoing populace, and comic fans be damned.

      I guess we’re too small of an audience to really matter. All the comics companies do is complain about falling sales, so we can’t be spending that much (never mind that a lot of comics aren’t good enough for me to spend my money on these days).

      I think the comics audience it simply used as a barometer. if we buy a bunch of “x”, then more people might like this if brought to them in a format that they won’t be embarrassed to consume.

      And I can definitely understand not caring enough about the FF. Hey, did I ever mention I wrote a post…ahhh, forget it…
      JG recently posted..4 DC New 52 Comics Worth ReadingMy Profile

  2. Maurice Mitchell (Reply) on Mar 11, 2014

    I gotta say I’m surprised at your reaction (since most pigeon-hole the Jordan hates as racist) but you do raise some really good points. Some would say there’s never been a good Fantastic Four movie and maybe there never will be. By the way, “He couldn’t resist that taste of chocolate” had me ROLF.
    Maurice Mitchell recently posted..Sci-Fi Legends Nichelle Nichols, Edward James Olmos and More Featured in BBC America’s REAL HISTORY OF SCIENCE FICTIONMy Profile

    • JG
      Twitter: johngarrettx
      (Reply)
      on Mar 11, 2014

      Hey Maurice, I just thought it was the easy way out for those involved. Accusing folks of being racist would to get people to back off and not call them out their brazen marketing ploy.

      I include myself as one of those people who defies a Fantastic Four movie to be good. I suspect the odds of that are something like 479,884,832,486,946.3291782 to 1. That number just feels right.

      And I think it would be hilarious if Professor Storm actually did make a hookup on the side. I’m still hoping the cosmic rays just turn him Black, though…
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  3. Mitch Mitchell (Reply) on Mar 16, 2014

    You hater you! Must be your age lol

    I’ll start off with this; I loved the Fantastic Four. However, “my” Fantastic Four were basically real people, really smart people, that I got into more because of the 70′s cartoon than the comic strips, which I did read back then. I have old history, and thus I can continue liking them while you have the newer history, which I read, and which is why I don’t read newer comic books anymore because they’ve messed up every single super hero I loved from when I was a kid in the 60′s and 70′s.

    Next, every time I see a picture of this guy I think Nick Cannon; I’d never heard of him since I’ve never seen any of the programs you mentioned. Yeah, I know I’m behind the times, but my TV shows were better also. lol Anyway, my mind seeing Nick Cannon and thinking of him as being anyone’s sister, let alone Sue Storm’s sister… nope, my brain can’t get behind that.

    And three, I have to admit that I liked the other two movies, but the person who was really miscast was Jessica Alba as Sue Storm. I love Jessica, love looking at her (yes, I’ve seen some of her movies and loved Dark Angel (man, now there was a great show that the writers messed up because they didn’t know what direction to take it in) but Sue Storm was supposed to be a blonde, needed to be a blonde, and just putting blonde hair on a woman doesn’t make her a blonde (sorry Nene; ugh…). Who should they have put into that role? Man, I have no clue because I don’t know a lot of these actresses today or when that movie was made (man, I’m getting so old…).

    Now, will I go see it? As with every other movie, it depends on how compelling the trailer is. Luckily, that and whether I’m home or not are my only criteria; I’m easy like that. But hate on Fantastic Four… not me! ;-)
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    • JG
      Twitter: johngarrettx
      (Reply)
      on Mar 16, 2014

      The thing about the FF that was new *at the time* was that they weren’t super-heroic cookie-cutouts. They each had their own personalities, and bickered much of the time (bickering is standard on all teams now).

      Still, the only time I could stand these clowns was in the 80′s when they were written by a man name John Byrne. Yes, the characters still sucked, but the *stories* he wrote were just so compelling you forgot how truly awful the FF really was. That hasn’t been done in a long time.

      About the Sue Storm casting – I agree that just slapping a blonde wig on someone or coloring their hair doesn’t make them blonde. There are plenty of good looking blonde actresses floating around Hollywood now, so it’s not like they couldn’t get someone. They should have cast Margot Robbie (from Wolf of Wall Street) – she woulda been perfect.

      If you see the movie let me know how it was. Maybe one day something could change my mind about the FF, but until such time, the Fantastic Four will continue to receive my (well deserved) hateration…
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  4. bahaha! THIS POST. Pure gold. I didn’t even know FF was coming out with a reboot, but I’m not a huge fan so don’t really care. Your take on the whole sitch was way entertaining… so why would I need to see a movie? I’m just gonna stick with you, buddy! :)
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    • JG
      Twitter: johngarrettx
      (Reply)
      on Mar 26, 2014

      What up, Andi!

      Yeah this is how we roll on this site, straight up no-holds-barred hateration on the Fantastic Four. Who needs ‘em?

      I hope you’ll enjoy not seeing this movie as much as I will!
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