Kyle J. Steenblik

Fantastic Four is a Tedious Waste of Time

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1/2 stars out of 5Fantastic Four
Directed by: Josh Trank
Screenplay by: Simon Kinberg, Jeremy Slater, Josh Trank
Fantastic FourBased on: Fantastic Four by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby
Starring:Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell, Toby Kebbell, Reg E. Cathey, Tim Blake Nelson
Running time: 100 minutes
Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, and language

I walked into Fantastic Four with no expectations, and I was overwhelmingly disappointed.  What I witnessed was one of the most poorly constructed films I have ever seen outside experimental amateur films.  This film is lacking in so many basic areas it is difficult to explain adequately. Imagine your neighbor invites you to look at the brand new car they just brought home, and when you arrive in their driveway, they show you a shiny plastic model Corvette with the doors glued on backward and permanently attached wheels that will not even pretend to roll.  You would think it a bad practical joke if your neighbor were not adamant this is a brilliant new car that cost them $120 million dollars.  I am still unconvinced this is not an elaborate practical joke from 20th Century Fox and Josh Trank, preview a fake film so terrible that people will flock to the movies to see the train wreck for themselves and be treated to the real film which will be perfection by comparison.  That or they are trying to pull the producers trick they learned from Mel Brooks.

Reed Richards (Miles Teller) and Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell) are childhood friends, Richards is determined to build a teleportation device, and Grimm is helping him with access to his family’s scrap yard.  When they build a working device for the school science fair Richards (not Grimm) is given a scholarship and a job (we assume) at the Baxter foundation.  At the Baxter institute, he introduced to his research partners Sue Storm (Kate Mara) and Victor Von Doom (Toby Kebbell).  Together they plan to make interdimensional transportation a reality, and once they also have Sue’s brother Johnny Storm (Michael B. Jordan) begrudgingly assigned to their team, they (in a montage minus exposition) build a working interdimensional transporter.  At this point, they learn that they will not be the first to try it out; naturally, they have a few drinks, and decide to give it a go themselves.  Richards takes this opportunity to call his childhood friend, Ben, to come along for a ride.  After they arrive on planet zero (which is what they called the extra dimensional planet, which they know nothing about) disaster strikes and Victor falls into a mysterious green lava-like substance.  Reed Richards, Johnny Storm, and Ben Grimm are similarly hit with the same green substance, rocks and fire as Sue Storm attempts to bring the transporter back home, where it explodes showering Sue with something blue.  When they regain consciousness, Reed is stretchy, Johnny is on fire, Sue is invisible, and Ben is now rocks.  Now, the four are taken to Area 57—where Reed escapes and goes into hiding, and Sue, Johnny, and Ben all learn to control their newfound powers.  A year later, they catch Reed Richards, and bring him back to help them rebuild the transporter, in the hopes of finding a cure, or a way to create more super-powered humans.  When Reed manages to (in less than 5 minutes) fix the problems they had with the transporter, a team of researchers return to Planet Zero where they find a now disfigured and powerfully vindictive Victor Doom, intent on destroying the earth.

During the anticlimactic final fight between the underwhelming powered Fantastic Four and the ridiculously overpowered Doom it would be a miracle if anyone in the audience cares about the outcome of this fight, or if they understood why it was happening in the first place.  I genuinely feel bad for the actors involved in this production; it cannot be easy to work so hard on something so bad.  To be more specific, this film lacks any semblance of structure, pacing, comprehensible plot, direction from a conscious director, dialogue that would ever be spoken by a real human being, and baseless action with no resolution.  When this film ended everyone looked around in stunned disbelief, surely not all of us missed key portions of the film that actually explained what or why anything was happening.  It turns out, we all just watched a movie where every action is unmotivated by anything other than the need for the next event to happen.  Simply put the events of this film are inexplicable, and nonsensical, as if the screenwriters decided to allow the audience to invent motivations for their characters.  Between the absurd actions, there is hilariously bad dialogue, have these writers ever actually heard humans speak to each other?  This film has a single acceptable, and taken on its own, enjoyable element, which is the score by Phillip Glass.  Clearly, no one with Fox was working quality control, or paying the least amount of attention to what Josh Trank was doing with the $120 million of their money.

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