Remakes are everywhere. It’s all Hollywood does now. Remakes and spin-offs and reboots and sequels. “Re-imagining” was the trendy word to use a a decade ago, but Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes (2001) ruined that…along with so much else.
They are rebooting Spiderman to keep the rights, remaking Ghostbusters with an all female cast, and re-imagining Indiana Jones with someone who isn’t Harrison Ford. Those films are, or will be, disastrous. But The Fantastic 4 will be worse. And not just due to the painfully obvious fact that they are, by far, the weakest Marvel franchise. Not just because they felt the need to cast the 4 main characters as, without doubt, the 4 youngest professors-slash-astronauts in the history of the world. Not even because they do that annoying thing where they replace a letter with a number in the title, making the whole thing a barely coherent mess: Fant4stic.
But because Johnny Storm is black now.
That’s right. Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, is being played by Michael B Jordan. I know, right now, you’re wrinkling your nose at the pathetic fan boy, or simply thinking “So what?”. And I agree with you. Michael B Jordan, in and of himself, is not an issue. No reason at all the Human Torch can’t be black…but his sister (Kate Mara) is still white? Huh? So…are they on half siblings? step? Is somebody adopted? Which one? Why?
There’s the problem. This casting does nothing but increase exposition in a sub genre – the Origin story – that is always too exposition heavy anyway.
Studios guys out there – I get it. I get you’ve got to be seen to be modern and hip and down with the kids. I get you have minority groups waiting to complain and demographics to satisfy and stuff. I get that. But this decision sucks. Sucks so hard. More than that, it’s actually reveals the true racism of Hollywood.
Obviously a memo came down the pipe at some point: “We need a black guy in this movie. The Avengers doesn’t have one. Spiderman doesn’t have one. This can be our thing!”
But who? I mean, Hollywood has rules. We all know, because I told you here, that Hollywood has rules. Well its rules about who can and cannot be black are very clear. There are only 5 recurring characters to choose from really, and only one of them fits the rules. The very specific, very racist rules.
Reed Richards aka “Mr Fantastic” – he’s the hero. The main character. He cannot be black. End of story. You make the protagonist black and suddenly this is a “black movie”. Everyone in Hollywood knows white people don’t see black movies. That’s rule one of ethnic relations in Hollywood. The main character defines the movie. You make him black and suddenly everyone has to be black. Doesn’t work. He’s white.
Sue Storm aka “The Invisible Woman” – the love interest. She can’t be black either. This is the rule made famous by Hitch. According to Hollywood legend the casting of the (dreadful) romantic comedy Hitch (2005), was a slow process. Will Smith was playing the leading man, but they couldn’t find a woman to pair him with. The couldn’t use a black actress…because that makes it a black movie (see above). But then they couldn’t use a white actress either because White woman/black man couples are vetoed in Hollywood. That’s a line in the sand. It’s offensive, apparently. Nobody is exactly sure who to…but they don’t wanna find out. Ever. In the end Eva Mendes was cast. Latina actresses are a good middle ground here. To sum up: since Reed Richards is white Sue Storm has to be white…or maybe Latina. But she was Latina last time. This the real issue for me, honestly. I mean, if you want to change a Superhero’s race go ahead. I even like the idea. It’s new. But there is no reason – NO REASON – not to change the whole family. This is all about the ridiculous Hitch Rule. And it is insulting and stupid.
Victor von Doom aka “Dr Doom” – What are you fucking nuts?! You can’t make the villain the only black guy in the movie! That’s like fifty law suits right there. Dear God. No, just no. The villain’s white. Gotta be. Preferably European. It’s the only way to make sure we don’t offend people.
Ben Grimm aka “The Thing” – the dumb, ugly, violent one? That’s even worse than the villain! NAACP will boycott us! And the placards…dear god the placards. No…just no. Plus you can’t even tell he’s black. Jesus. Let’s cast Jamie Bell. (?)
Which, by a process of elimination, leaves you with:
Johnny Storm aka “The Human Torch”: He’s a cool guy. He’s funny. He gets the ladies. This could work. Throw in 2 lines about being adopted and lets roll cameras. Call up Eva Mendes and see if she wants to play his girlfriend.