Mister Cinecal

Mister Cinecal

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Doctor Doom Is A Blogger. Zuh?

So, the Fantastic Four reboot. It's a strange bit of business. The casting of the Fantastic Four team raised more than a few eyebrows when it was announced a few months back, as it represents a move away from the traditional FF dynamic of a dysfunctional family by having four actors around the same age who all look very young. Stick-in-the-mud Dad figure Mister Fantastic is being played by Miles Teller, currently getting great reviews for playing a 19 year old in Whiplash and whose resume up to this point includes YA novel adaptations and the obviously youth-centric 21 and Over. Grumpy old uncle the Thing is being played by Billy Elliot. Toby Kebbell, who will be playing Doctor Doom, the iconic villain for nearly everyone in Marvel but the Fantastic Four in particular, has done an interview with Collider.com that reveals what looks like a dramatic change for his character.

Quote Mr. Kebbell:

He's Victor Domashev, not Victor Von Doom in our story. And I'm sure I'll be sent to jail for telling you that. The Doom in ours-I'm a programmer. Very anti-social programmer. And on blogging sites I'm "Doom".

Ah lads. The whole thing about Doctor Doom is that he's Doctor Doom. In the over-the-top world of superhero comics, he's somehow even more over-the-top than everybody else. He's a mad scientist who is also a sorcerer who is also the ruler of a fake Eastern European country. To turn him into an anti-social programmer is a very strange decision, which combined with 'normalling' up his name, reeks of "this is serious not silly". Given how the film studios all follow the leader with any idea that works, and that everyone's new favourite comic book movie characters are a talking raccoon and a tree, it is strange that so many people making these films are still in the silly=bad mindset.

Silly, also awesome

Now obviously that's just one quote in an interview rather than a detailed character outline, and Doom is definitely bitter and petty, so he does have some traits that can be associated with "anti-social" internet types. But it is a dramatic downscaling of the character, which appears to miss the point. Doom is a villain from the Shakespearean mould; all tragedy and dramatic gestures. He's consumed by his jealous hatred of Reed Richards, he can be noble but he's never as noble as he thinks he is. He works really well which is why from very early on he grew from being the Fantastic Four's main antagonist to being used all over the Marvel universe. For him to be just a programmer is pretty underwhelming.

The irony is that often screenwriting attempts to make something silly more normal, or attempts to come up with 'reasonable' explanations for these things often end up themselves being faintly ridiculous and desperate. "Oh, his real name isn't Von Doom, obviously, he just uses DOOM as his name on the internet." Like he would even be able to use that name. d00M12r8 maybe. This appears to be another questionable decision from a reboot that, as it stands, has a lot of questions to answer. Just what are Fox doing with this franchise really, other than making sure Marvel don't get the film rights back? Doctor Doom is a character with a sense of dignity, which at the end of the day is not exactly the word that comes to mind when you picture bloggers. I am complaining about a comic book character being done wrong on my blog. I'm wearing pyjamas and it's half past 5 on a Tuesday. I'm living proof!

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