Thursday, 8 February 2018

How A Doctor Doom Movie Could Save the Fantastic Four

This year’s San Diego Comic Con gave us tons of exciting trailers, announcements and news regarding the future of the superhero movie genre, but one piece of information that appeared to go somewhat under the radar, with all the focus on Justice LeagueThor: Ragnarok and Infinity War, were the comments made Noah Hawley, the man behind the Fargo and Legion TV Series, where, when asked about his upcoming projects, stated “I wanted to let you know about a movie I’m developing for Fox… the first word is ‘Doctor’, and the second is ‘Doom.’” While the news that Fox are at least considering making a feature film centred around Victor Von Doom may angst some fans desperate for the Fantastic Four rights to return to Marvel, I think there’s something extremely interesting about the possibility of a Doom movie, with Hawley at the helm.
Fargo and Legion creator Noah Hawley
Fargo and Legion creator Noah Hawley
Toby Kebbell as Doom from the abomination that is Josh Trank's Fant4stic.
Toby Kebbell as Doom from the abomination that is Josh Trank's Fant4stic.
While it’s no secret that Fox doesn’t exactly have the best track record with the Fantastic Four, with both Tim Story and Josh Trank failing to capture the spirit of the iconic team, and the overall sense that any Fantastic Four related movie being put out by Fox now is solely to bide time and retain the rights to the property, and also that both in Story’s and Trank’s renditions of the films, Doctor Doom has been misinterpreted and poorly executed, with the Story versions picturing him as a Lex Luthor-esque megalomaniac, and the Trank version depicting him as… whatever this is.
But despite the fact that Fox have failed previously to bring Doctor Doom to life in a way that’s faithful to its source material, the notion of the studio making a standalone Doom film is intriguing, and despite their failures, I do think there’s a reason to be somewhat optimistic. One of the main reasons to be optimistic of this idea is the involvement of Noah Hawley. Both Fargo and Legion have received much critical and commercial success, and bringing on someone with the buzz and talent of Hawley will definitely ease the minds of fans. While some will likely look to Josh Trank as Fox’s last attempt at bringing in a ‘hot-young director’ to revitalise the series, Hawley already has a strong working relationship with Fox, likely preventing any major issues between the two parties.
Furthermore, with the constant evolution of the comic book movie genre, new doors and possibilities are opened. With the success of films such as Deadpool and Logan, it gives Fox the possibility to step outside of the conventional norm-properties, and take more risks in order to tell a story. Doctor Doom is an incredibly rich and complex character, with one of the more interesting backstories of the Marvel villains. We could see the story of how Victor became Doom, meeting Reed Richards for the first time and becoming friends, before being betrayed and horrifically injured, travelling to Tibet and rebuilding himself under his new name, before returning home to Latveria, setting the country free from the reign of a tyrannical dictator, and being lauded as a hero. Essentially, the film wouldn’t be too dissimilar to Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, with us experiencing the backstory of Doom through his perspective, beginning to understand the worldview forged through his experiences, and his burning quest to seek revenge on those who wronged him. If we’re going full fan fiction here, imagine this ending:

Doom frees the people of Latveria, and a huge celebration in the streets take place. Doom watches from the balcony of his castle, before sitting down in his throne room. Suddenly, an aid walks in, quivering with fear. He hands Doom a newspaper, reporting on the crash of the US spaceship after being hit with unknown radiation. Doom sees the names of the survivors, his eyes coldly open, his passion for revenge refueled. He utters one single word “Richards”. Cut to black.
And in all honestly, through the success of a Doctor Doom film, we could actually see the Fantastic Four be introduced in the sequel, and get a more faithful rendition of the original Lee-Kirby era battles between Reed and Doom. If Hawley can successfully bring Doom to the big screen, it’s possible that we could be on the verge of a mass reinvention of Fox’s Fantastic Four franchise. While casual audiences may be skeptical after two decades of pitiful attempts, easing them back into the series with something unique like Doom could be exactly what Fox needs to make the series popular again, because right now, the Fantastic Fourseem doomed, but it don’t have to be.

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