Some will see "Fantastic Four" on August 7 because they love Marvel superhero movies. Others will see "Fantastic Four" on August 7 because they love Miles Teller from "Whiplash" or "Spectacular Now" or hell, even "Footloose," while others still might see it because they still feel bad for Kate Mara because she got pushed in front of that train on "House of Cards."
But if you ask me -- and you didn't, but let's just go with it -- the real draw of the Fan Four franchise is none other than erstwhile "Friday Night Lights" and "Chronicle" star Michael B. Jordan, who should be a major A-lister soon if there is any shred of decency left in this universe. You might not be particularly familiar with Jordan if you're not a Jason Katims fan or an HBO subscriber, however, so let's take a quick walk down memory lane and remind ourselves why this former Toys "R" Us model is the real deal:
Because he was already pretty super in "Chronicle."
In a time when superhero movies can be so darn heavy -- I'm looking at you, sad Batman in the "Batman V Superman" trailer -- wasn't it just grand to watch Jordan and his pals goof around and enjoy how freaking awesome it is to be super in 2012's "Chronicle?" Yes -- yes, it was, and Jordan's character Steve was the best part of the film, which was helmed by "Fantastic Four" director Josh Trank.
Here's to hoping that the Trank/Jordan lightning strikes twice... just like, maybe not in the same way that it struck about 3/4 of the way through "Chronicle."
Because he helped us fall in love with East Dillon on "Friday Night Lights."
When "Friday Night Lights" lost a good chunk of its main cast due to graduation after season three, it had a major dilemma on its hands -- would it follow its original football stars to college, somehow keep them in town, or introduce a totally new class and hope that its viewers would fall in love with them? Lucky for us, the show took a risk and went with option three (though two definitely applies to Riggins), and even gave us a kick in the gut by moving the action to the rough side (read: the black side) of town, with Jordan stepping in for Zach Gilford's Matt Saracen as the show's troubled QB 1.
And boy did he deliver... in fact, looking back on "Friday Night Lights," it's hard to remember a time when Vince wasn't around throwing out heartbreaking speeches like his "don't go" plea to Coach Taylor, or his "I don't know how to be better" admission when he was reunited with his absent father. "FNL" never shied away from real issues at any point during its five-year run, but Jordan in particular carried Vince's weight like a pro, and his struggle mentally balancing the fame-and-fortune-heavy promise of his football career with his impoverished day-to-day life was spectacular to watch.
Because his death on "The Wire" is somehow the most upsetting thing that ever happened on "The Wire."
... And this is "The Wire," folks, so that's saying something.
Jordan wowed "Wire" showrunner David Simon when he was still a young teen, basing his performance as the young drug dealer Wallace on people he saw growing up in Newark, New Jersey. He was so good that his character served as the emotional center for the first season of the show, and despite the four additional years of bureaucratic Baltimore heartbreak that followed, his death is still the singular most disturbing moment in its run. (It's almost enough to make me hate Idris Elba. Almost.) Watch it if you dare.
Because "Fruitvale Station" exists.The Weinstein Company
If "Fruitvale Station" had come out a year or two later than it did, Jordan would almost definitely have garnered the Oscar nomination he so justly deserved for bringing the real-life story of Oscar Grant -- who was killed by a public transit cop in Oakland, California while he was face down on the ground, completely unarmed -- to life. But as it stands, the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown and the acquittal of Trayvon Martin's killer George Zimmerman didn't kick off Black Lives Matter until months later, so "Fruitvale" had to settle for the Grand Jury prize and the Audience Award at Sundance.
Despite the snub, Jordan still brought a lot of nuance to the character in the final day of his life, and it's a performance that shouldn't be forgotten for a long, long time.
Because he brought a dose of real to "Parenthood."NBC
Remember when Alex showed up on "Parenthood," and the Bravermans were suddenly forced to face their own white privilege and their biases against those less fortunate? It was super real and wonderfully awkward, which was why it was too dang bad when Jordan left the show after season three. (Though he had some pretty great movie roles lined up, so we can't exactly blame him.)
"Parenthood" was still great after Jordan's departure, but Alex as a character was sorely missed -- the dude was intriguing and flawed and funny and charming and a former alcoholic homeless person, all at the same time.
Because he handled racist "Fantastic Four" garbage with class.Michael Buckner/Getty Images for CinemaCon
What do you do when awful, racist trolls come after you on the Internet for daring -- daring! -- to play Johnny Storm while also being black? Pen a thoughtful, classy essay for Entertainment Weekly that acknowledges the issue and drags the racists without sinking to their level, if you're Michael B. Freaking Jordan.
"Sometimes you have to be the person who stands up and says, 'I’ll be the one to shoulder all this hate. I’ll take the brunt for the next couple of generations,'" he wrote. "I put that responsibility on myself. People are always going to see each other in terms of race, but maybe in the future we won’t talk about it as much. Maybe, if I set an example, Hollywood will start considering more people of color in other prominent roles, and maybe we can reach the people who are stuck in the mindset that 'it has to be true to the comic book.' Or maybe we have to reach past them.
"To the trolls on the Internet, I want to say: Get your head out of the computer. Go outside and walk around. Look at the people walking next to you. Look at your friends’ friends and who they’re interacting with. And just understand this is the world we live in. It’s okay to like it."
Because, I mean, LOOK.
Sorry not sorry. Had to.