The Writer and Producer of Fantastic Four Finally Admits the Movie Was Too Dark

Is this Thing too dark? Image: Fox
Is this Thing too dark? Image: Fox

“Tone.” It’s a word we’ve heard a lot lately. From the dark tone of Batman v Superman, the adventurous tone of Captain America: Civil War and tone-related reshoots on Rogue One, everyone is talking about tone. And now tone is being blamed for much of the Fantastic Four’s failure.


Speaking on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Fantastic Four writer/producer Simon Kinberg talked about the film’s shortcomings, wisely not blaming any one thing in particular, but just an overall mistake in tone.

I don’t think that there is, in any movie that doesn’t work, a single decision that is the reason that that movie doesn’t work. I think that there were many decisions we made along the way that led to a movie that people didn’t like and to a movie that I would do differently next time. I think the biggest takeaway for me [is that] the tone of the movie, while really interesting and ambitious, ran counter to the DNA of the source material. I think the source material of Fantastic Four is bright, optimistic, poppy in tone. There’s a sort of plucky spirit to those characters, and we made a darker, sort of body-horror kind of version of Fantastic Four, which again as I say it now sounds really interesting and cerebrally ambitious, but isn’t necessarily Fantastic Four.

Now, he’s obviously right. The Fantastic Four most people know from the comics doesn’t feel like the Fantastic Four he and director Josh Trank put on screen. But was that the main problem? No. The problem was the movie didn’t make any damn sense. In fact, the tone actually works for part of the movie, it’s just that as a whole it all falls to pieces.

And yet, Kinberg still believes these characters will return. Later, he said this:

[Fantastic Four] is a big part of the plan going forward. Like I say, the biggest lesson learned is that Fantastic Four is a great comic book that has its own tone and voice, and we need to let that lead us… I would love to continue making movies with that cast.

Well, the Human Torch, Michael B. Jordan, has already moved to another superhero property, Black Panther. And the planned sequel was shelved long ago. Maybe the characters will pop up in the next X-Men movie? That could be interesting, but really, it feels like a longshot.

[Happy Sad Confused via Collider]


Entertainment Reporter. NYU Cinema Studies Alum. Formerly Premiere, EW, Us Weekly, and /Film. AP Award-Winning Film Critic & CCA member. Loves Star Wars, posters, Legos, and often all three at once.


Angrier Geek

Tone!?! No, it’s not just the fucking tone! Aside from not even remotely resembling the characters, the story was crap. It’s not simply because it was dark; it was dark and boring and characters did dumb things to make the plot go forward (“Hey, let me touch this green goop in another unverse!”). Yeah, I know the budget got slashed, but just ask Deadpool how you work with that.

And the horror of naked, dickless thing has nothing to do with “tone.” It has to do with the most misguided creative direction since Green Lantern. “I see them as four accident victims...” The “tone” of Green Lantern was light and it was also a bag of crap. It’s not just the fucking tone, but that’s probably all someone like Kinberg will take away from it.