Anthony Stokes on why Michael B. Jordan is going to make a great Human Torch in The Fantastic Four reboot...
Michael B. Jordan has a charisma and charm that I haven't seen in an actor that young since John Boyega from Attack the Block. Jordan already has a good working relationship with director Josh Trank through Chronicle and I have a feeling Jordan will be able to pull off cocky and immature without seeming annoying and remaining likeable at the same time. It doesn't hurt that he's probably going to get nominated for an Oscar for my favourite movie of the year right now, Fruitvale Station. I can't think of a single reason he shouldn't be Johnny Storm. Least of all because he's black.
I just want to state that I agree changing a character's race to appeal to a wider demographic isn't cool. But, I'd like to genuinely believe that Jordan was cast for his acting talent and his previous relationship with the director. If this was something that was happening on a more consistent basis I could see why people are upset. This also means that black artists have to step up and start creating black characters for the big screen so that the culture can be represented properly, but that's a completely different article for another day.
Let's talk about Johnny Storm. Everybody is complaining that they have thrown away years of source material. Great. Unless you're adapting directly from one source -Watchmen and Kick-Ass, for example - then sticking to the material shouldn't matter. Speaking of Watchmen, that used the material as a bible while Kick-Ass introduced new ideas, themes, and characters and Kick-Ass is easily the superior movie. Not to mention, nothing is changing about Johnny Storm except his race. It's an aesthetic change. He'd still be written the exact same way if he was a white guy.
People forget he was written in a time where black comic book characters weren't accepted in mainstream comics, or any comics really, so his race is incidental. I don't think that Stan Lee will be concerned at the thought of Johnny Storm being black. And people complaining about his sister being portrayed by a white actress, it's called adoption. I've never been adopted, nor do I have a white adopted sibling, but I'm assuming they dynamic is no different then having a biological sister. Are people expecting them to have a romantic subplot since they're not biologically related??
Everything that everybody is complaining about here has happened before several times, most recently with Perry White in Man of Steel. It's never happened to this degree in a while, but basically this is nothing new. And I honestly hope it doesn't become a trend, but as an isolated occurrence this is nothing but a good thing. Fox has me curious about this new Fantastic Four reboot, but I'll have to wait and see a trailer before I'm completely sold.
But for everyone saying this movie is screwed because there's a black Human Torch, first I want you to say it out loud and realize how racist and ignorant you sound (but more than likely not realize), then when the movie comes out, don't see it. Counterbalance the supposed drones of black people who will mindlessly shamble into theatres opening weekend because they're so easily manipulated into seeing movies. The culture will be better without you and you will not be missed.
Anthony Stokes is a blogger and independent filmmaker.