Fox has never really known what to do with the Fantastic Four. The first two movies got little right about the comics, lacking the sense of wonder inherent in a story about transdimensional sci-fi adventurers. The upcoming reboot from Josh Trank has suffered from bad buzz since it was announced, with many fans upset that it’s more inspired by the Ultimate Marvel comic line than the original Jack Kirby and Stan Lee comics. Also some diehard Marvel fans seem determined to make Trank’s movie a failure in hopes of the rights reverting back to Marvel Studios. And not just because Marvel has proven they can adapt their characters to the cinema better than any film studio—Fantastic Four #1 launched the Marvel Universe in 1961, and the team is as central to the history and legacy of Marvel as Spider-Man or the Avengers. They haven’t been one of Marvel’s most popular comics in a few decades now, but throughout the 1960s Fantastic Four was the most important book the company published. As long as Fox holds the rights to the Fantastic Four, the shared continuity of the Marvel Studios films will miss part of the soul of the comic universe.
As a grumpy old Marvel fan, I would absolutely love to see the Fantastic Four on-screen alongside Captain America and Spider-Man. And with the non-stop deluge of superhero movies, I’ve pretty much had to ignore all non-Marvel Studios movies in order to preserve by sanity and bank account. Still, this new trailer for Fantastic Four is good enough to make me want to see this thing. The Thing actually looks like the Thing this time! The build-up to that tiny glimpse of Dr. Doom emphasizes that he’s Marvel’s most important and imperious bad guy, so maybe Trank’s movie will make up for how the earlier movies bungled Doom. It seems to focus on science and adventure, which should be the foundation of any good Fantastic Four film. They don’t necessarily look like the Fantastic Four from the comics—no blue suits, no grey temples—but this trailer seems to capture the spirit of the comics. We’ll find out for sure when this thing hits theaters on August 7.