THE BIG PICTURE
- Megan Fox has been involved in several blockbuster franchises that received critical derision and diminishing results at the box office.
- Her working relationship with director Michael Bay was tumultuous, and she was fired from the Transformers series after making negative comments about him.
- Despite her struggles in other genres, Fox seems to excel in the horror genre, as shown in her role in the cult classic film Jennifer’s Body.
Film franchises more often than not take one of three paths. Sometimes they continue throughout the years, often stopping to update or completely reinvent their formula — multiple superhero and horror franchises thrive due to this approach. Often times they’ll last a number of years before an entry either brings the franchise to a close or winds up being terrible enough to stop it entirely. Finally, some franchises never get off the ground; Universal Pictures’ ill-fated Dark Universe may be the biggest example of this.
Megan Fox lands squarely in the second category. Over the years, Fox has found herself attached to a number of blockbuster franchises, and those franchises usually see critical derision as well as diminishing results at the box office. None of the blame should be laid at Fox’s feet; she’s a solid actress who rose to fame and fortune off the back of said franchises, and has continued to prove her acting chops ever since. However, it’s rather puzzling that she seemed to pick parts in films that received scorn from audiences and critics alike.
Megan Fox’s Tumultuous Work Relationship With Michael Bay
Fox first rose to prominence with her starring role in the first live-action Transformers movie, which was helmed by Michael Bay. Bay would go on to direct four more Transformers films, with each one receiving criticism for the visual assault they left on the senses as well as their punishing length. But they still raked in plenty of cash at the box office…until the debut of Transformers: The Last Knight. Not only did it receive the series’ worst critical ratings, but it was the first Transformers film to bomb at the box office. Though Bumblebee and Transformers: Rise of the Beasts received better reviews, the Transformers franchise was never quite the same.
Long before that, Fox played a pivotal role in the first Transformers and its sequel, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen as Mikaela Banes, the girlfriend of Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf). Naturally, there were expectations that Fox would return for the third installment of the series, Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Instead, she was unceremoniously fired from the series by Bay following a series of comments where she compared him to Napoleon and Hitler — as well as stating that “he wants to create this insane, infamous madman reputation.” Though she was replaced in Dark of the Moon by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Fox and Bay’s working relationship wasn’t quite done.
The next big blockbuster the two worked on was the live action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot from 2014; Bay served as a producer on the film while Fox played April O’Neil, having patched things up with Bay prior to production. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles weathered mixed reviews to become the highest grossing film in the TMNT series. This led to a sequel, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, being greenlit with Fox reprising her role as April. This time, the results were flipped: Out of the Shadows had a somewhat positive reception but bombed at the box office — leading to yet another reboot with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem.
‘Expendables 4’ Wastes Megan Fox’s Talents in a Thankless Role
Fox has once again graced the silver screen in Expen4ables, the fourth entry in The Expendables series. Much like its predecessors, Expen4ables features a collection of some of the greatest action stars to ever grace the screen. Unfortunately, that’s where the similarities end as Expen4ables is riddled with sub-par special effects and haphazard editing, while utterly wasting the talents of its cast. To put this in perspective: Iko Uwais and Tony Jaa, two of the greatest living martial artists on the planet, are in this film and their scenes are chopped up into an incomprehensible mess. That’s the level of incompetence on display.
It’s even worse where Fox is involved. She plays Gina, the girlfriend of Expendables stalwart Lee Christmas (Jason Statham). Naturally, you’d think that someone who could woo the knife-wielding, rough-and-tumble warrior Christmas would be a compelling character, but that isn’t the case with Gina. Her sole purpose in the film seems to be “fight with Statham,” “insult the male characters,” and “look good in skimpy clothing that no special operative would wear.” Given Fox’s presence in other action movies like Rogue and Till Death, this is rather disappointing. Even the Transformers movies had her scoring some wins against the Decepticons, but here she’s little more than eye candy.
There’s One Genre That Megan Fox Seems to Excel At: Horror
Despite the diminishing returns of Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Expendables, Fox seems to be a perfect fit for the horror genre. The first clear evidence of that lies in the now cult classic Jennifer’s Body. Fox is instantly iconic as the titular Jennifer Check, who transforms into a monstrous creature after a traumatic experience. Her best friend Needy (Amanda Seyfried) learns about Jennifer’s new demonic nature, leading to a conflict between the two girls. Jennifer’s Body lets Fox show off her range; one minute she’s the stereotypical “mean girl,” the next she’s transformed into a horrific force of nature. Perhaps the best example lies in the trailer for Jennifer‘s Body, when Needy learns about Jennifer’s killing spree and exclaims, “You’re killing people!” “No, I’m killing boys,” Jennifer retorts — equal parts flippant and chilling.
It was a harbinger of what Fox could bring to the horror genre, and perhaps a sign that the world of superheroes and science fiction may not be the right fit for her. There are plenty of horror franchises that Fox could fit perfectly into; the Scream franchise comes to mind. After all, it’s a film series that uses its narrative as commentary on the state of horror films. With the experiences Fox has had, that could translate perfectly into a future Scream film or another longstanding horror franchise. In the end, there’s more to Megan Fox than a few bad sequels.