FF movieMichael B. Jordan is understandably frustrated. The new Fantastic Four movie looks like it will be a fantastic flop — not necessarily due to his efforts — but because it’s likely to be a melancholy and boring iteration of what should be a fun film. It looks like Fox hired the ghost of Edgar Allan Poe to be the cinematographer, and fans know it. In order to salvage some form of respect, Mr. Jordan has pulled out the handy-dandy race card.

The Hollywood actor writes in Entertainment Weekly:

Some people may look at my casting as political correctness or an attempt to meet a racial quota, or as part of the year of “Black Film.” Or they could look at it as a creative choice by the director, Josh Trank, who is in an interracial relationship himself—a reflection of what a modern family looks like today. …

Sometimes you have to be the person who stands up and says, “I’ll be the one to shoulder all this hate. I’ll take the brunt for the next couple of generations.” I put that responsibility on myself. People are always going to see each other in terms of race, but maybe in the future we won’t talk about it as much. Maybe, if I set an example, Hollywood will start considering more people of color in other prominent roles, and maybe we can reach the people who are stuck in the mindset that “it has to be true to the comic book.” Or maybe we have to reach past them.

To the trolls on the Internet, I want to say: Get your head out of the computer. Go outside and walk around. Look at the people walking next to you. Look at your friends’ friends and who they’re interacting with. And just understand this is the world we live in. It’s okay to like it.

Notice what Mr. Jordan does: he essentially lumps all critics into one group. Racists and trolls occupy the same tent as those with legitimate gripes (i.e., fans who want the on-screen Human Torch to match the one who they’ve read about in the comics for decades, and fans who are tired of politically correct pap). Mr. Jordan then tries to turn himself into a cultural martyr sent from Hollywood to save us all.

What group do guys like me fall under, Mr. Jordan? I belong to an interracial family and I generally like the big screen versions of the comic books I read as a kid to be faithful to the source material. I also find it weird to editorially mandate things like gay Iceman and She-Thor when creating new and interesting characters is an option.

Michael B. Jordan would not be writing op-eds like this for entertainment magazines if he thought Fantastic Four was going to be a huge success. One reason why no one cared that Samuel L. Jackson was the big-screen version of Nick Fury in 2008 was a.) because when he was cast he personified “cool,” and b.) Marvel Studios hit a home run with Iron Man.

Michael B. Jordan is not an American icon of cool, and Fox does not look like it will hit a home run with Fantastic Four this August.

As I have said before: it would annoy me if Blade or Rhodey were suddenly turned into white guys, but that’s not good enough to Hollywood actors or politically correct comic book creators. I and many others have to be on board with everything they come up with or be lumped into a category with racists and “trolls.”

The only way to stop this kind of tactic is to push back — hard — every time. If you do not define yourself, then guys like Michael B. Jordan will do it for you. When they pull the race card, you will be labeled a racist or a cultural dinosaur who needs to “go outside” more often.

In short, Fox’s Fantastic Four looks so flawed that the race of Johnny Storm is at the bottom of the list in terms of things to gripe about. The studio needs all the fans it can get at this point, because the buzz on the film seems to be, “Please let this bomb so the rights can go back to Marvel!” Opinion pieces that rely heavily on the race card are not helping Fox in its promotional efforts. If anything, the studio just looks desperate.

Advertisements

About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

30 comments

  1. Before seeing a movie, I always look at the IMDB collective ratings (on a 10 point scale). I did ask my local comic books store, why they are making another FF movie – when 2 were made before. They told me that it’s the only way for the movie studio to retain rights to the FF.

    1. That’s what is so annoying. I almost wish Marvel didn’t reach a deal with Sony on Spider-Man because I’m confident Sony would have bombed again. Then they would have been willing to just outright sell all the right back to Marvel. Oh well.

  2. I probably wasn’t going to go see it in theaters. The trailer looked awful, the interviews were questionable, and what they’re doing to Doom sounds ridiculous. Jordan’s self-righteous tripe, though, was worse. This is like those idiotic stunts Marvel editors pull–just further alienating people instead of being rational. I can’t honestly judge a final product without having seen it, but I’m not gonna essentially give money to someone accusing me of being a racist. That’d be as stupid as… well, insulting potential paying customers. Y’know, I’d tell Jordan what I’d tell Marvel clowns like Slott if given the chance: “You need me more than I need you.”

    Besides, I really don’t need a lecture about race, comics, or anything else from someone who’s rumored to have only gotten the part because his friend is the director.

    “The studio needs all the fans it can get at this point, because the buzz on the film seems to be, “Please let this bomb so the rights can go back to Marvel!””

    I think Fox is too stubborn to give up the rights and for two reasons. I read once that New Line Cinema had the rights to Iron Man. Marvel’s people disagreed with New Line how it should be done. Much to Jordan’s irritation, I’m sure, Marvel wanted to be as faithful as possible. The project stalled, the rights ultimately went back to Marvel, they made their own Iron Man movie, and the rest is history. No one in Hollywood wants to be the sucker that gave up something potentially lucrative, even if it means suffering critically and/or financially in the short-term. That’s probably why Fox held onto the X-Men rights after “The Last Stand” and that first Wolverine movie.

    Also, Marvel/Disney has been riding Fox about the FF and X-Men rights for years (including canning the FF comic and that lame-brain “we’re saying it’s permanent, like we did with Steve Rogers” death of Wolverine).

    The new FF movie would have to be a massive flop for Fox to give up the rights. I kinda hope it does–not because of Jordan’s nonsense, but because of the bigger picture. There’s a kind of drive behind the X-Men movies–not just “Let’s make some money,” but also “Let’s have some fun.” With the new FF movie, it’s just “We’re doing this just so we can keep the rights away from Disney. See you for the next reboot.”

    1. I had to shake my head when I heard they made Doctor Doom a hacker. I almost want to see Fantastic Four out of sheer morbid curiosity, but I don’t think I will. It annoyed me when Sony rebooted Spider-Man and it was obvious they were churning out an “eh” product just to keep the rights, and this annoys me as well. Marvel Studios raised the bar, so if these other studios can’t live up to the new standard then they need to just step aside.

  3. I have no plans of seeing this movie. I’m definitely of the “I hope this bombs so Marvel Studios can obtain the rights” camp. I had no plans of seeing it from the moment i first heard about it, and I definitely have no plans to see it now that Jordan has written that rant for EW.

    1. Great to hear from you, Carl. 🙂 It seems to me as though Mr. Jordan was trying to walk that tightrope between venting his frustrations and not alienating too many fans, but I think he failed. It boggles my mind how these guys don’t see why changing a character who has looked one way for decades is off-putting and weird — regardless of the race or gender.

      The condescending advice to “go outside” plays on stereotypes of comic fans alone in their basements. Sorry Mr. Jordan, but I get out quite often. I’ll put my travels and diverse set of friends (if he wants to play that game) up against his any day. And unlike Hollywood stars, I don’t have studios putting me up in five-star hotels…

  4. You didn’t mention the issue I had with Jordan’s casting, which was that it actually does negatively impact the idea of the Fantastic Four. Normally casting a black guy in place of a white guy doesn’t matter (Heimdall is a good example, silly as it is to have a Norse god be black). But in this case, Johnny and Sue Storm being brother and sister is core to the dynamic of the group — that family feel is a big part of what was unique and interesting about the Fantastic Four in the first place.

    Now, granted, they can still be adoptive siblings (haven’t heard anything about this). But generally you want to go for the closest relationships you can when you’re telling a story to make the connections stronger. It’s rare for the villain to say “but you see — I’m your first cousin! Dun dun dun!” Luke and Leia aren’t step-brother and step-sister. It just creates distance between two characters who are supposed to be close family for them to visibly not be blood related.

    1. “Now, granted, they can still be adoptive siblings (haven’t heard anything about this). “

      They are. Franklin Storm is also black, and his family adopted Sue.

    2. I thought Michael B. Jordan wanted to go for accuracy. What are the chances that Sue Storm would be adopted by Franklin? The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Magic 8 Ball says … not likely. If Mr. Jordan wants to play race card games, then he needs to be careful. Ironically, The Human torch is playing with ideological fire and he doesn’t know it.

      “The race and ethnic distribution of adopted children is different from that of adoptive parents. Whereas a majority of adopted children are non-white, the majority of these children’s parents are white (73 percent).” — U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

    3. Was merely stating how they are apparently setting it up in the film.

      My personal opinion is that they could have made the whole Storm family black. Would have been fine with me.

    4. Indeed. And I appreciate you clarifying that point for Eidolon. But your point also highlights how Mr. Jordan should be careful about lecturing people on racial demographics; if he really wants to go down that road, then he may be confronted with some uncomfortable truths.

    5. Perhaps.

      But as unlikely as a black family adopting a white child is, it’s still, I think you’d have to admit, a little more likely than four people getting super powers. 🙂

      Just saying. I’m not going to make the decision for anyone else. But as far as extending my disbelief, it doesn’t bother me personally.

    6. But as unlikely as a black family adopting a white child is, it’s still, I think you’d have to admit, a little more likely than four people getting super powers. 🙂

      You smile after the comment, but a lot of people actually try to use that argument every time a writer makes a weird editorial decision. Regardless, like I said in the piece, the race of Johnny Storm is at the bottom of my list of things to complain about. This movie doesn’t look very good. It looks “eh” when everyone knows that if it was produced by Marvel Studios that it would be epic.

    7. I figured that’s what they’d do, but the thing is, if you have to explain your casting decision via dialogue and/or extra scenes in a movie, it’s probably not a great casting decision, right? It seems like a really intrusive decision if you have to go out of your way to explain that she was adopted so the casting makes sense. Plus it still makes them not actually blood relatives, which weakens their relationship, especially if her being adopted isn’t a plot point or part of her story arc, which I doubt it is.

      I mean, with Heimdall it’s just there. With Nick Fury it’s just there. But with this, you actually have to explain it. That seems like a really dumb change to make. If it was Ben, then you wouldn’t have to change anything, he’s just a friend of the family and it doesn’t need explaining. I just don’t see why you change the race of a character when it actually creates story problems.

    8. ” if you have to explain your casting decision via dialogue and/or extra scenes in a movie, it’s probably not a great casting decision, right?”

      Depends. I imagine people asked, so they told them. Don’t know how it would play out in the film. If they just said “Hi, I’m Johnny, this is my sister Sue,” that’d work fine for me.

  5. As I’ve said before, this is a case of attacking detractors personally as opposed to giving any real defense of the direction the film is going. The race card is great for instantly killing any and all discussion, which is why it’s used so much. I’ve seen it a lot during my time in college. Not a fan of the president? You’re racist. Believe Darren Wilson wasn’t a bloodthirsty cop? You’re racist. Conversation over. When you have no real argument of your own, the only option is to relentlessly slime the opposition. Marvel’s insistence on calling its critics bigots tells me all I need to know.

    1. Whenever someone plays the race card, it’s usually a sign that they’re intellectually bankrupt on that particular issue. Like you said, it’s an easy way to shut down the debate. Someone accuses you of being a racist with zero proof other than the fact that you disagree with them, and then you spend the rest of the conversation trying to prove the impossible since we can’t read minds. That is why it’s important to flip the tables immediately when someone pulls a stunt like that.

      If we’re going to play the “bad person” game, then I’d say the one who throws out nasty allegations with zero proof is much more likely to be the guilty party.

  6. In my opinion Fox is only making this film to hold onto the rights as well as to capitalise on the success of the Marvel superhero films like the Avengers. Their logic is probably to try and make this new FF film as completely different and “out of the box” from the previous 2 films.

    It seems to me that if Fox wanted to make a new superhero film that’s “out of the box”, they should have created a new intellectual property to use instead of trying to re-use/shoehorn an existing one. Heck had they developed their own IP Fox might have actually made a decent movie.

    This kind of reminds me of those films in the 1980s/1990s where Hollywood would take an existing IP like Street Fighter/Judge Dread/Mortal Kombat and make a generic action movie where the only resemblance to the original IP is the character names.

    Original ideas must be short supply in Hollywood.

  7. Aaaaaaaagh!

    Okay, this thing is getting smashed!

    * * *

    Michael B. Jordan: Some people may look at my casting as political correctness or an attempt to meet a racial quota, or as part of the year of “Black Film.”

    Capri: *Facepalm* Only those liberals who are as STUCK on the friggin’ stupid race card as you. I don’t give a flying hot dart who’s cast where as long as the actor can be convincing at the role. So if you’re going to promote a movie, promote it for the content and how good you think the actors are in their roles. Forget this race card trash, it does not belong in this century and has no place in a movie promo…At all!

    Michael B. Jordan: Or they could look at it as a creative choice by the director, Josh Trank,

    Capri: Or, they could not look at it all because of not giving a darn. That’s what I would’ve done, but now because of your ridiculous tirade, I won’t be able to hear about “Fantastic Four” without remembering that you felt the need to pat yourself on the back by saying basically ‘Oh, look! Multi-racial movie with different skin-color actors! Aren’t I awesome for that!?’ *Pfffft!* You’ve just insured I will not see or promote this movie. Good going!

    Michael B. Jordan: who is in an interracial relationship himself—

    Capri: Oh, wow, I’m sure the world would have so ended in a cataclysmic explosion if you hadn’t said that, I mean, it’s like totally the most monumentally IMPORTANT observation anyone could ever have made throughout all of human history! *Rolling eyes* Get over it, dude, I couldn’t care less… I don’t even know who this guy is.

    Michael Jordan: a reflection of what a modern family looks like today. …

    Capri: No duh! So freaking what? You want some kind of adoration for pointing out the obvious? And why should I even care? Look, if you want to be awesome and try to teach the rest of us lowly humans something, try for something genuinely important, like making narrative tracks “Descriptive video service (DVS)” a mandatory part of movie and TV show production so the option to use it is there for visually impaired movie-goers and TV-watchers.

    Michael B. Jordan: Sometimes you have to be the person who stands up and says, “I’ll be the one to shoulder all this hate. I’ll take the brunt for the next couple of generations.” I put that responsibility on myself.

    Capri: Oh my gosh, I haven’t heard anything quite so sanctimonious and up one’s own butt for a while. O’ people, o’ hail to the great Michael B Jordan, hate-martyr of the 21st century! Give him your “hate” and he will turn it into…Whatever it is, it ain’t love. Give him your point of view, and he’ll turn it into ‘hate’ by managing to bring race into it somehow, even if you never mentioned anything about race. Give him a movie to be involved in and to promote, and he’ll give you a great steaming pile of race card crap and call it a movie promo, when it’s just a hand out, demanding to be patted on the back for being a race card-addicted drongo!

    Michael B. Jordan: People are always going to see each other in terms of race,

    Capri: such as yourself, and the other trolls and idiots, particularly in your race-card-addicted Hollywood echo-chamber. not the people who actually have their heads on straight. That means, don’t count me in as one of your “people”.

    So weren’t you supposed to be talking about the movie or something?

    Michael B. Jordan: but maybe in the future we won’t talk about it as much.

    Capri: I wish… But you sure aren’t setting a good example so far…

    Michael Jordan: Maybe, if I set an example,

    Capri: Forget it, you already failed.

    Michael Jordan: Hollywood will start considering more people of color in other prominent roles,

    Capri: Oh, right, you’re really not at all interested in getting people to stop obsessing on race, you want to promote racism through movie affirmative action. *Rolling eyes* What a sad fantasy world you live in. And gah how I detest that term “people of color” come on, get a life! It doesn’t matter what color someone’s skin is, if they’re the best in the role, give it to them. If they stink, don’t hire them for that role…

    Michael Jordan: and maybe we can reach the people who are stuck in the mindset that “it has to be true to the comic book.”

    Capri: W…T…H..!? So if I don’t like that someone was not true to the comic book and turned Spider Man into a serial killer, that makes me a racist? What the freaking hex? There’s something to be said for treating well-established characters with enough respect to let them be themselves. And no, a different color-skinned actor playing Super Man from the original does not qualify as “not being true to the character” unless of course that version of Super Man suddenly got Darth Vader’s personality In that case, it’s character mangling no matter what that Super Man looked like, even if he was the spitting image of the original.

    Michael B. Jordan: Or maybe we have to reach past them.

    Capri: Reach past what? There aren’t any people blithering on about comic book character skin color here.

    Michael B. Jordan: To the trolls on the Internet,

    Capri: Hey Mr. Jordan, sir, I got something for you! *Holds up cyber-mirror*

    Michael B. Jordan: I want to say: Get your head out of the computer.

    Capri: I want to say, get your head out of your arse, and get the race-obsession toxin out of your brain.

    Michael B. Jordan: Go outside and walk around.

    Capri: Go outside and fly a kite.

    Michael B. Jordan: Look at the people walking next to you.

    Capri: Why? What am I supposed to be looking for/at? Looking for friends? sure. Watching out for people who might not have good intentions? Sure.

    Michael B. Jordan: Look at your friends’ friends and who they’re interacting with.

    Capri: Eww. no. What do you think I am, some sort of lurking stalker? What my friends and their friends do is none of my business. I’m not here to monitor anything they do, where they go and whom with. I mean I’ll speak up if I think I’m witnessing something injust going on, but otherwise, no thanks.

    Michael B. Jordan: And just understand this is the world we live in.

    Capri: No duh, genius, and all this time I thought we were all living on an asteroid…

    Michael B. Jordan: It’s okay to like it.

    Capri: Well, nooooooooo kidding! But you sure have a strange way of showing it.

    Over and out!

    1. Hehe. You are correct. And why won’t I be there on opening night? Because Jordan pitched crap at a bunch of innocent people in the form of the race card! Heh! If he hadn’t done that, I would’ve considered going. No dice now.

  8. I put this rant-back on my site as well, and added this in:

    I’ll bet there would be a heck of a lot of howling from the likes of Michael B. Jordan and other race-card mongers if some new remake of or sequel to “Roots” came out and they had at least one black plantation owner and one white slave in the cast.

    Then they’d be screaming about it not being true to the original source, and how would they like it if we came back with “You must be racists!” ?

    1. “I’ll bet there would be a heck of a lot of howling from the likes of Michael B. Jordan and other race-card mongers if some new remake of or sequel to “Roots” came out and they had at least one black plantation owner and one white slave in the cast.”

      Probably because in that case, the story is inherently about the race of the characters. That can’t be said for FF.

    2. True. But if they want to bring race into this in such a stupid and patronizing way, I’d be all for turning it around on them. Come to think of it, they probably wouldn’t like it much if somebody made a movie based on any scenario, fictionalized or based on any real event where “the wrong race” was the good or the bad guy according to them.

  9. I endorse change and reinterpretation, it’s just when the story becomes all too concerned with going out of the mythology’s usual parameters that alarm bells are often known to ring. We’ve seen so many movies where this sort of trick can go wrong, these days we’re accused of racism and doom-casting for expressing concerns that we don’t want our worst fears from the 90s and some of the 2000s coming to pass all over again from desperate suits trying to make something when most expect it to break. It’s a shallow, unproductive routine, and it really is just a buzz card to provoke negative reaction disguised as an objective expression. Give it a chance? Give us a break from this sort of counter-productive rhetoric first and we will be more attentive to the themes of the movie. Like I said, I advocate change, but I also endorse change within REASON, and much of this film seems without reason.

    1. In any long-standing argument one side sort of has to lay down their arms, hoping that the other party will take the opportunity and make the most of it. Michael B. Jordan’s op-ed is a continuation of the debate “‘Just accept the changes without protest and maybe you’ll like them’ vs. ‘I want your interpretation of my favorite characters to be as faithful to the original source as possible'”. But here’s the thing — he’s the one who is calling people a racist. Why should we extend an olive branch when we’re defending ourselves from personal attacks? No way.

      Why should I or anyone else be forced to say, “Mr. Jordan, I can see why you would think that we’re racist, but we’re really not. I just think you should consider…” Again, no way. Not happening. I refuse to give any credence to such an insulting premise.

      I’m consistent across the board, which is why I think it’s just as weird to have Tilda Swinton negotiating for the role of The Ancient One for “Doctor Strange.”

    2. No kidding. It’s “Except my political correctness motivated casting or I’ll club you with the ‘racist’ label.” Uh, no, I won’t even go to movies that seem IMO to be laced with feminist propaganda, and I sure as heck won’t go to any and have even a bit of my hard-earned cash going to support any schmuck hung up on race, especially when they try to disguise grievous insults levelled at fans as movie promos. Jordan and the Hollywood big-wigs can try to deny that political correctness isn’t behind their choice of casting when they pull this kind of stuff but that’s crap. “I wanna hire this guy to set an example and hopefully get more affirmative action based casting in the future.” and “I didn’t hire that person because I’m afraid of bad race typecasting.” Yeah right. Silly me, here I thought people got cast based on their talent and suitability for the role. Oh, wait, I’m confusing what should be with how it actually gets done in Hollywood. *Rolling eyes*

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s