Fox has just announced the cast of Josh Trank’s upcoming Fantastic Four reboot, and things are looking a little left of center. Joining Michael B. Jordan‘s Johnny Storm will be Miles Teller as Reed Richards, Kate Mara as Sue Storm, and Jamie Bell as The Thing. And while some of these casting’s aren’t quite set in stone, this is increasingly looking like the final lineup for the film. Saying that the new movie is casting against type would be an understatement. The new cast is virtually unrecognizable compared to the 2005 version, and the internet is erupting in reactions from every inch of the emotional spectrum. From seething rage, to elation, and even mild confusion, The casting of Marvel’s first family has people divided in earnest. Here are our thoughts on the casting choices.
as Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic
A24 via Everett Collection
How He Fits: He kind of doesn’t. At all.
How He Deviates: There’s a loveable goofiness to Miles Teller, but we’re not quite connecting the dots between him and Reed Richards just yet. He’s not quite nerdy enough, and he definitely doesn’t have a dignified scientist aura to him. We don’t see much of Reed Richards in Teller at all.
How He Compares to Ioan Gruffudd: Worse. Gruffudd was one of the few bright spots of the largely banal first film. He really looked the part of Reed Richards.
Public Consensus: The one phrase to sum up the twitter reactions would be a resounding “Uhhh….What?” People seem to be mostly just confused by the casting choice, and many are complaining that Teller is simply too young to play Reed. Twitter user @dylhorgan asled, “This week in bad superhero movie casting: How is Miles Teller even close to being old enough to play Reed Richards?”
Final Assessment: Teller, for our money, is the biggest question mark of the casting announcement. There isn’t anything about the actor that screams “Mr. Fantastic”, though he was obviously cast for a reason. I guess we’re going to have to wait and see on this one.
as Sue Storm/The Invisible Woman
How She Fits: Physically, Mara seems to be a match for the Sue Storm in the comics, especially since she’s recently dyed her hair blonde. Personality-wise, she seems like a solid choice as well, since Sue is somewhat reserved and shy – Mara plays a lot of quieter characters. Between her ambitious reporter on House of Cards and her hacker/revolution-leader in Transcendence, Mara shouldn’t have any trouble portraying Sue’s genius intellect.
How She Deviates: Mara’s characters tend to be a lot darker than Sue Storm, who gives off a more innocent, all-American vibe, which could affect the way that Sue is written for this reboot.
How She Compares to Jessica Alba: Mara’s definitely a better choice than Alba, who, while not terrible, wasn’t given much to do other than run around and look pretty.
Public Consensus: Fan response to the casting has been overwhelmingly positive. To quote Twitter user @Roby_Aguilar: “OMG. OMG. OMG. MILES TELLER, MICHAEL B. JORDAN, JAMIE BELL & KATE MARA IN FANTASTIC FOUR?!?!?!?!?! God is real. GOD. IS. REAL.”
Final Assessment: Mara’s a good choice for Sue Storm. She’s a talented actress, and she doesn’t fit the “bombshell” constraints that female actresses in superhero films tend to get stuck in, which means she will hopefully get more to do onscreen than Alba did. And since it seems to have been the least outrage-stirring casting choice that the team behind this reboot has made, she also seems to be approved by the fans. She generally comes across darker and more serious than Sue is, though, and since we haven’t really seen her play particularly upbeat characters, that could keep her from meshing well with the rest of the cast
MICHAEL B. JORDAN
as Johnny Storm/The Human Torch
20th Century Fox Film via Everett Collection
How He Fits: Jordan has the natural charm and charisma to play a freewheeling ladies man, but he also has a daring quality to him that a character like Johnny Storm needs. He might not have the necessary physique quite yet, but a quick trip to the gym can fix that.
How He Deviates: The biggest deviation in all of the casting news, Michael B. Jordan is nlack whereas Johnny Storm has always been portrayed as a white man. Cue the Twitter riots.
How He Compares to Chris Evans: Better. Now don’t get us wrong, Evans played a fine Johnny Storm. But over the past few years, Jordan has proven himself to be a monumental young talent. While Evans certainly had Johnny Storm’s trademark wit in spades, Jordan might be able to mine the character’s hidden depths while still cracking wise and getting the girls.
Public Consensus: Many have commented on Jordan’s race being an issue, but (optimistically!) an emerging tide of Twitter users are trumpeting the actor’s talents, laying waste to the idiotic arguments that a black Human Torch is “sacrilege.” Twitter user @ZachLNFS tweeted “Michael B. Jordan is the one bright spot in the Fantastic Four cast and, of course, the most derided. Good job, Fox. Good job, internet.” Other’s are wondering how Kate Mara and Michael B. Jordan are going to play siblings. We’re guessing adoption.
Final Assessment: The actor clearly has the goods to play a terrific Johnny Storm, despite what some of the seedier corners of the Twittersphere think about race in comic books. Ignorant tirades aside, he’s clearly the best actor of the bunch and a considerable step up from the previous Human Torch.
as Ben Grimm/The Thing
Summit Entertainment via Everett Collection
How He Fits: Once Ben Grimm becomes The Thing, he has a lot of trouble dealing with his new powers, which take a toll on him emotionally. Bell plays a lot of brooding characters, which means he would have no trouble portraying all of the inner turmoil that The Thing is experiencing.
How He Deviates: Ben and The Thing are huge, strong, muscular guys, whereas Bell is… not. This is less important after he turns into The Thing, but since we don’t know how much of the group’s origins the film will focus on, it might be difficult to believe that Bell spent his childhood protecting Teller from bullies. Ben’s also a pretty happy-go-lucky guy, while Bell tends to come across as serious and brooding.
How He Compares to Michael Chiklis: When it comes to giant orange space rock monsters, nobody beats Michael Chiklis.
Public Consensus: It’s pretty mixed. There are plenty of people who are excited about his casting, but many are concerned that’s he’s not built enough to play the role properly – for example, Twitter user @BCCrooky said they would “like to see Jamie bell, scrawny Jamie bell who played tinting, as Ben Grimm aka the thing.”
Final Assessment: We probably would have swapped Bell and Teller’s roles, if we’re being honest. Bell just seems to work better as a serious, genius scientist, while Teller seems more likely to play his upbeat sidekick. However, Ben has a difficult time dealing with his transformation, which caused a lot of psychological trauma; Bell would definitely be able to play those aspects of the character really well. Since he’ll likely spend most of the film being CGIed into his rocky form, his acting ability is probably more important than his physical appearance in the end.