With the Orange basketball team off for a week, and with no word yet leaking out of the Pickard or Clark camps as to when, or what, their final decisions might be, I’d say it’s as good a time as any to have a little fun. When I’m not obsessing over Syracuse sports, I’m watching far too many movies and TV shows. I briefly spent some time writing about pop culture for another website before the TV show I was centering the idea around (Under the Dome) grew too mind-achingly stupid for me to want to continue, but that hasn’t stopped me from continuing to scour the internet for scraps of pop culture goodness.

So today, I’m going to bring in the first installment of what I’m tentatively calling Pop Culture Shock, which will give us a chance to talk about movies, TV, books, and basically anything else that isn’t sports related, but still fun (sorry, world news and politics, there’s no place for you here).

With that in mind, what’s the big pop culture news today? Probably the fact that the first trailer for the reboot of a reboot of a classic Marvel comics franchise dropped. I’m talking, of course, about the Fantastic Four, or as they’re apparently calling this one based on the logo, “Fant4stic” because my aren’t they clever.

Let’s take a look at the trailer!

Delightful. Only, not remotely, because somewhere along the line people decided that comic book movies couldn’t be fun; no, they have to be gritty. Even a movie featuring characters as inherently goofy as Reed Richards, Johnny Storm, and Ben Grimm (sorry, Sue Storm…you were just  never that interesting) certainly shouldn’t be fun. Honestly, the only thing that worked about the last attempt to bring Fantastic Four to the big screen was Chris Evans as the Human Torch, because he was fun, and playful, and generally just running around doing Chris Evans things with his typical Chris Evans charm.

I should note at this point that I’ve got a bit of a man-crush on Chris Evans. It’s okay, though, because at the end of the abysmal movie about the heist of SAT answers, The Perfect Score (which co-starred the once and future Black Widow, Scarlett Johansson, along with…wait, Darius Miles!?) the character being played by Evans says in a voice over that he’s heading off to college at Syracuse University.

I will never not love a reference to Syracuse University in a movie, book, or TV show. I’m looking at you, Bunk Moreland on The Wire dropping knowledge on people about Jim Brown having been an All-American in lacrosse.

And speaking of The Wire, that’s a perfect place to jump back into this Fant4stic trailer, since it features Michael B. “Where’s Wallace” Jordan as the Human Torch, and the voice over is provided by Reg E. Cathey, who gave a memorable turn as Norman, the right hand man of Tommy Carcetti.

Oh by the way, before you click on that last link I should warn you: huge massive season five spoilers for The Wire are within! Do not click if you’ve never seen season five of The Wire but plan on doing so and if you aren’t planning on it damnit I don’t want to be your friend!

Anyway, the trailer continues the strange, kind of depressing trend revolving around the fact that comic book movies have to be deadly serious, which started with Chris Nolan’s Batman movies and has gone on to infect just about every other comic franchise there is. Hell, even the once fun Tony Stark and his Avengers have been getting the gritty treatment with trailers dating back to Iron Man 3, and continuing all the way up and through Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Apparently, no one learned any lessons from Guardians of the Galaxy and the fact that, hey, comic book movies can actually be fun.

Joining Wallace from The Wire and Vince from Friday Night Lights and soon to be Apollo Creed’s grandson in the Rocky spinoff Creed are Miles Teller, currently gaining major “It boy” status after some big recent roles, including the YA franchise Divergent and the critical darling, Whiplash, along with Jamie “Don’t Call Me Billy Elliott” Bell, and Kate Mara. It feels a little weird to me that Mara seems so old in this cast, mainly because she’s been around Hollywood approximately forever. But hey, I’m sure football fans reading this will appreciate her presence because not only is she a very attractive woman, but she’s also the offspring of both the Mara family and the Rooney family, making her the epitome off NFL royalty. I mean for God’s sake, her sister – who may or may not have a dragon tattoo – is named Rooney Mara. Nice on the nose naming there, parents.

One of the weirdest decisions with this upcoming Fantastic Four reboot is the fact that they’ve decided to take Dr. Doom and, by all accounts, turn him into an antisocial hacker rather than, well, Dr. Freaking Doom, a guy who runs his own country with an iron fist and is an evil genius who is both virtually indestructible and all-powerful. But yeah, I’m sure comic book fans would prefer to watch him sitting in front of a computer typing code. Good call, guys.

Honestly, the trailer isn’t really all that bad. It tells us absolutely nothing about the story, other than there’s a science experiment that goes awry, because things in comic book movies are always going horribly awry. People should probably just stop doing things in the world of comics, because awry is someplace you generally don’t want to go.

One of the kind of hilarious things to come from this reboot, despite the fact that Marvel denies it has anything to do with it, is the fact that during the middle of production of this movie (by a rival studio), Marvel announced that it would be cancelling Fantastic Four as a comic as a kind of eff you to Fox.

But if you really need a Fantastic Four fix, right now I’d say go track down Marvel Zombies. Not only was it written by Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman, but it features basically every character in the Marvel universe becoming an unstoppable zombie terror, save for a few heroes hoping to save humanity, including Magneto and Dr. Doom. And of course, the zombie plague happens because of Mr. Fantastic’s scientific curiosity. Naturally, things go awry.

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Jeff is a 2003 graduate of Syracuse University, and has been published on various websites including,,,, and, among others. His work was featured in the New York Times bestselling book You Might Be a Zombie and Other Bad News. He's got a wife, and a toddler he's brainwashing to love Syracuse. Jeff's a pretty great guy, overall, and would never steal your car. Follow him on Twitter: @jekelish