When it comes to comic book movies, Mark Millar is the gift that keeps on giving. The Scottish comic book writer has already seen several of his works adapted for the big screen (e.g. Wanted, Kick-Ass, Kingsman: The Secret Service), and still has several more high profile projects in the pipeline. Not to mention that it was his version of the Avengers, aka the Ultimates, that basically gave the Marvel Cinematic Universe it’s look and feel (most visibly being Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury). Unfortunately not everything that his work has inspired has been successful. The latest flounder? Fox’s rather messy and embarrassing Fantastic Four, which draw huge portions of its story from Millar’s stellar “Ultimate Fantastic Four” run.
The movie was both a critical and commercial disaster, mainly due to a combination of studio meddling and director Josh “Chronicle” Trank’s reported on-set unruliness which saw the admittedly different but still intriguing new take on the classic characters torpedoed. And as Millar told IGN UK, this was an unfortunate turn of events as there was definite potential there.
“It’s a shame. I think elements of it were good. The first half in particular works well. [Director Josh Trank] is brilliant. Chronicle was my favorite superhero movie in 2012 – and be reminded Avengers was out that year. Sometimes things just don’t work out as planned. Everybody is trying their best and those guys worked their asses off. It just didn’t quite come together.”
Not coming together is an understatement, especially in regards to the movie’s irredeemably bad third act which was one of the worst things I’ve ever seen in the recent slate of big budget comic book movies. Which is of course why the recent news that Fox is still planning a sequel came as a bit of a surprise. But according to Millar, things aren’t as concrete as writer/producer Simon Kinberg has made it out to be.
“I think everything’s open to discussion. No decision has been made on anything yet like that. There’s chats everyone’s going to have on the phone at some point.”
Millar is still optimistic though that the new rebooted franchise can still be salvaged despite the horrible reception. As he points out, even when Marvel Studios do their own films, they don’t always turn out great, but there is always room for improvement.
“The Marvel brand is such a powerful brand. Marvel doesn’t always work out great: Thor 2 didn’t work out especially well; Iron Man 2 didn’t work. But then Iron Man 3 comes along and it’s great. These things can be uneven sometimes. Avengers 2 is nowhere near as good as Avengers 1. There’ve been 45 superhero movies or something over the last 15 years. They can’t all work out fantastically. I’d say the hit rate has actually worked out terrifically compared to most genres.”
And when it comes to the superhero movie genre, it’s about to die out. At least that’s according to Steven Spielberg, who recently predicted that genre would be going the way of the Western soon. Millar would care to disagree.
“The human race will go the way of the Western. Everything has to end at some point. [Laughs] We’re just going to be atoms. It’s inevitable. I think [the superhero movie genre has] got at least another good five years. The stuff that’s coming up is so strong.
“There’s no way Avengers 3 and Avengers 4 isn’t going to make a ton of money. These are billion dollar grossers, multi-billion dollar grossers. Batman and Superman, just the fact those two icons are coming together, that’s a billion dollar movie. So all this stuff that’s coming up, there’ll be flops but there’ll be super strong ones. Guardians [of the Galaxy, Vol. 2] is going to be amazing, I can’t wait for it.
“I think a lot of filmmakers are waiting for this to end, too, because they hate it. I love superhero movies, but I know loads of people who hate them. There’s an actress back in the UK who said last week that if she has to watch another Spider-Man movie, she’s going to hang herself. [Laughs] They are aimed at a specific audience. I’m just glad that audience is me because I love it. It’s brilliant. It’s amazing.
“I say to any kids now, anybody who’s 14 now, when I was 14, you had movies like Mannequin. It was crap, right? It was really awful. People think growing up in the ’80s it was all Ghostbusters and Back to the Future but those were one good film every two years. Most of it was rubbish. And if they did try a comic book movie, it was Superman IV: The Quest for Peace or something like that. It’s amazing, we’re in a great time right now. I love it.”
We’ll see if Millar’s great time continues when the next film based on his work comes out in April next year in the form of Captain America: Civil War. And if the rumours are true about Wolverine 3 adapting “Old Man Logan”, we may even see one of the greatest stories of his career – and also one of the best Wolverine stories ever – also hit the screen in the near future.
Last Updated: September 29, 2015