Fox hasn’t always been the most successful studio, as far as adapting Marvel comic books is concerned. Though their 2000 film version of X-Men is largely responsible for launching the current comic book movie boom, their more recent mutant movies haven’t been all that hot, and their takes on the Marvel-created Daredevil and Fantastic Four franchises haven’t been able to produce anything remotely up to snuff. Their treatment of their superhero movies has gone so far off the rails that they’re even set to lose the rights to the Daredevil property, as their attempts to get a new film together haven’t kept pace with the end of their contract.
That doesn’t mean that Fox’s days of making Marvel movies are over, though. They’ve still got two more X-Men movies in the works in James Mangold’s The Wolverine and Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men: Days of Future Past, and they’ve made a new commitment to taking another crack at the Fantastic Four franchise by bringing Chronicle director Josh Trank on for a reboot. That’s some powerhouse talent paired with some potentially lucrative material. And today Fox announced their next step toward getting their Marvel properties back under control: they’ve hired veteran comic book creator Mark Millar to come on as a creative consultant for all of the House of Ideas characters that are still under their control.
While Millar might not be a household name, he’s certainly one who’s familiar to comic book nerds. The Scottish writer first made a splash in the comics business back in 2000 by taking over a highly regarded run on Wildstorm’s book “The Authority” and, after his success on that, he jumped over to Marvel and launched their “Ultimate X-Men” book and its Avengers equivalent, “The Ultimates,” the latter of which Joss Whedon and Marvel Studios’ blockbuster smash The Avengers took more than a little inspiration from. Millar was also the creator of the “Kick-Ass” comic book that served as the source material for Matthew Vaughn’s introduction to making superhero movies, before he moved on to the X-Men franchise. To say that he’s got all the qualifications necessary to take on this consultant position could be something of an understatement.
But what does Millar himself have to say about his new job? In an announcement put out by Fox [via ComingSoon], he stated, “As someone who has spent his entire life obsessed with both comic-books and movies, this is essentially my dream gig as it’s a unique combination of both. I spent ten years working at Marvel and am really happy with the work I did on the comic side of things so the idea of working with these characters now in a brand new medium is enormously exciting for me. I really like the Fox team, love this bold new direction they have for their franchises and am proud to be working alongside some of modern cinema’s biggest talents. James Mangold is incredible, Matthew Vaughn’s one of my closest pals and Josh Trank gave us, in my opinion, one of the greatest superhero movies of the last decade with Chronicle. The invitation to join this crew was maybe the coolest phone-call I’ve ever had.”
What do you think? Does the hiring of Millar and the current slate of Marvel films Fox has on its schedule show a newfound commitment to making the sorts of super hero movies that audiences want to see? Or is Fox just too big and bloated a corporation to get the weird world of comic books right? Even if these next couple movies do well, will it just be a matter of time before studio-think sees them slipping back into making disposable (Mark Steven Johnson directed) crap?