Hopes were high in some quarters when
was released in 2005, after a half-decade in which Marvel superheroes had colonised multiplexes, wowed the crowds and even humbled sceptical critics.
Yet the fanbase had its doubts about the project, given the calibre of directors lined up at various stages.
Big Momma's House
's Raja Gosnell and
Bring It On
's Peyton Reed had both bailed, with the gig ultimately going to
helmer Tim Story - not quite Singer or Raimi.
Casting choices were mostly vilifed: too unknown (Ioan Gruffudd and Chris Evans) or miscast (Jessica Alba,
's Julian McMahon). Only
's Michael Chiklis, a literal heavyweight and dead ringer for The Thing was praised.
It didn't seem that anybody was taking the film seriously. Sure, compared to other superhero tales the Four's adventures are bright and breezy, but overall the feeling was lightweight and lacklustre.
So the critical reception proved, with the only surprise being Chris Evans' assured performance as Johnny Storm. A creditable $330m worldwide take got the sequel
Rise of the Silver Surfer
greenlit, but that film took less than the first, bringing the franchise to a premature close.
At least, until August 2008, when Fox reported that it was planning to overhaul the franchise... But it wouldn't be the first reboot for the Fantastic Four.