As a comic book fanboy, I have the great responsibility to weigh in on the Johnny Storm casting in the 2015 Fantastic Four movie. But first, some recent history about other black casting in superhero movies.
Wesley Snipes as Blade. (You knew that the original comic book Blade was white, didn’t you?) I remember what I thought of the Blade movie years ago: “It is amazing how good a movie turns out when you get good special effects, a good script, and a REALLY good leading actor.” Snipes GOT IT, the internally tortured warrior. He even scared me a bit when he had to drink blood to live. Oh, yeah!
Michael Clarke Duncan as The Kingpin (Daredevil). The Kingpin is a man-mountain, a whale who can bench-press other whales. Duncan was BORN to play the Kingpin. He had the SIZE, the MUSCLES, the acting chops, he even had the shaved head! Too bad the weak script did not give him much to work with, even the best actors can’t fix that. (At least Daredevil was not Catwoman bad.)
Samuel Jackson as Nick Fury (The Avengers, Iron Man). The movie Nick can’t be the Marvel comic book version, who fought in World War II, and thus in our time, would make a mummy look spry. And no, the movie Nick should NOT age Wolverine-slow, Wolverine already does that! And he should not have been frozen until our time, Captain America already did the man-out-of-his-time thing. What was needed was a military commander who can stare down the toughest of supervillains with just one eye. Samuel Jackson GETS IT. As Spider-Man said of Luke Cage, Sam’s Nick Fury is ten different kinds of cool.
Idris Elba as Heindell, the Asgardian guardian (Thor and Thor 2). I am Swedish-American, so white that if I stood shirtless by a bright light you could vaguely see my intestines, or at least the fat in my pot belly. So I am qualified to say if a darker-skinned Asgardian doesn’t bug me, it shouldn’t bug you. Also, Anthony Hopkins (Odin) is Welsh/British, and thus wouldn’t know pickled herring from sushi. As for Heindell, Idris GETS IT. He embodies the ETERNAL SENTINEL. His eyes and attitude reflect not just the universe, but several parallel universes as well.
And now, Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm. I want the brother/sister dynamic between Johnny Storm and Sue Storm. Easy peasy to do: just say that he (or sister Sue, it don’t matter!) was adopted at an early age. Johnny and Sue grew up together, bro/sis love each other, and get on each other’s nerves. There should have been more of that in the other FF movie. I bet Jordan will do the Johnny Storm lovable hot-head well, that was one of the few good things in the 2005 FF movie. As well as Michael Chiklis GETTING IT as Ben Grimm.
So I’m worried about other casting for the 2015 FF movie. Jamie Bell as Ben “The Thing” Grimm? Jamie is not a beefy Bronx quarterback, he’s a strip of British beef jerky. Miles Teller as Reed Richards? His sideburns should be grey, instead he looks like he started shaving last week. Is Hollywood going for a boy-band look? Kate Mara looks okay, her acting resume looks very good. But my Spider Sense is tingling. I’ll wait for the reviews.
P.S. FF scriptwriters, I beg you. Please, please, PLEASE don’t turn Doctor Doom into a silver-spoon brat again!
P.P.S The Alicia in the 2005 FF movie was an improvement on the comic book version. It shoulda been her in the FF movie sequel that turned the Silver Surfer to the good.
P.P.P.S. Say, maybe the name should be Johnny STROM! (I made that typo a few times typing this post.)