‘Flame On!’ is the catchphrase Johnny Storm always say when he becomes the Human Torch.
However, Michael B. Jordan is the one catching heat by critics over the actor being cast for the role in this summer’s ‘Fantastic Four’ reboot: a role that was preceded by Chris Evans a decade before suiting up — and saluting — to become ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’, the super-soldier that serves as the real red-white-blue ‘SHIELD’. To illustrate, all-around good-guy Cap is the antithesis of devil-may-care bad boy –with a heart of gold — Johnny (does this remind you of a certain armored Avenger?)
From the same people behind Chronicle, X-Men: First Class and X-Men: Days of Future Past, ‘Fantastic Four’ follows Johnny, his adopted sister Sue/Invisible Woman, Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic, and Ben Grimm/the Thing on a journey to becoming (reluctant) superheroes against Doctor Doom. As they struggle with their new powers, they also learn to become not only a team, but also a family. ‘Fantastic Four’ precedes the X-Men, mutant superheroes who are blessed — and cursed — with using their abilities to protect a world that fears and persecutes them: a world that doesn’t understand them. Bringing ‘Fantastic Four’ together is the same as bringing the Avengers together.
And speaking of ‘Earth’s Mightiest Heroes’, it took Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. four years (and five summer movies) to assemble Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk, Captain America, Hawkeye, and Black Widow as the ‘Super Six’: fighting the battles — and foes — others can’t. That role belongs to Samuel L. Jackson, who is hailed as the ‘Ultimate Nick Fury’: ‘the spy’ whose secrets have secrets, according to Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.). The ‘original’ Nick Fury, though, has been white since his first mission for Marvel in the 1960s, the decade that introduced moviegoers to ‘a spy’ who’s ‘the spy’ himself: Ian Fleming’s James Bond.
Whereas Jackson is Nick Fury: (retired) Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., David Hasselhoff was ‘Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ in a forgettable 1998 television movie. In short, Jackson is the ‘Ultimate Nick Fury’: the super-cool super-spy.
Another special example is ‘The Equalizer’: played by late English actor Edward Woodward in the CBS television series (1985-89) and Oscar winner Denzel Washington in last year’s hit big-screen adaptation; a sequel is underway. The premise: Robert McCall, who was ‘the spy’, decides to use his skills to become ‘a knight in shining armor’: fixing the problems of people in trouble.
So, is Michael B. Jordan playing ‘Fantastic Four’s Ultimate Human Torch? Come August 7, we’ll see.