Oh, how things have changed. The superhero genre was something that at one time, no one took very seriously, with most movie adaptations—even when as inspired as Tim Burton‘s “Batman“—still retaining a goofiness to them that kept them from being regarded as thoughtful entertainment. But Christopher Nolan and to some extent Marvel helped changed that paradigm, proving that treating the characters with reverence and realism allowed them to resonate much more directly with the public at large. So, even though it’s been nine years since Tim Story‘s “Fantastic Four” (with the franchise now being rebooted by Josh Trank), it feels like a relic in today’s climate. And the filmmaker allows that things have definitely changed.
“Look, I don’t want to say only the fanboys, but I’d say the normal audience has just gotten into more serious tone. I don’t want to say ‘darker,’ because that doesn’t seem right. But, just a little more straightforward. And I don’t know if that’s come from the videos that kids are playing now or whether it comes from what I consider to be a great medium now, television,” he told ScreenCrush. “It just has a lot of darker stuff. I don’t know where it really comes from, but the tone has gotten a lot edgier and kind of straightforward. It’s going to be interesting just to see, when you think of some of the few superhero movies that may garner a different tone, like an ‘Ant-Man’ or even with rebooting ‘Fantastic Four.’ It’s going to be interesting to see if there’s room for that. I just like laughing and when it can make you kind of smile, it just makes the characters a little more accessible. We’ll see what happens.”
But of course, the big “what if?” question is whether or not Story would’ve preferred to direct his comic book movies today. And the “Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer” director emphatically says yes, if only because he believes the villain of that picture might’ve been better received in this climate.
“Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Because the Silver Surfer, if you know his origin, it’s very alien. It’s outer space. It’s a whole other thing and, so, I don’t think at the time I was making the movie the appetite was for that. I really don’t believe I could have gone that far then. I don’t believe I could have,” Story admits. “So, when you look at where the audiences are now, it would be fun to bring that to the screen. The excitement is so big for the filmmaker, whether it’s this group or what — to bring that to the screen, yes, to answer your question, it would have been really fun to do it in this day now. It’s just more acceptable of the supervillain because, my gosh, when you think of somebody like Galactus — that’s big. That is big. The costume is big. And you’ve got to really go for it and you can’t just put your toe in the water, you’ve got to freaking dive in.”
It’s interesting to note that right around the release of ‘Silver Silver,’ Fox did hire J. Michael Straczynski to write a spin-off movie for the character alone, but it never came to pass. No official reason was given, but we’d wager that the lower gross for the “Fantastic Four” sequel likely kiboshed that. But what do you think? Is Story right about how comic book heroes are perceived today? Or did he just misjudge the material the first time out? Let us know below.