Review: Fantastic Four Fails On Every Level
Title: Fantastic Four
Director: Josh Trank
Screenwriter: Simon Kinberg screenplay), Jeremy Slater (screenplay),Josh Trank (screenplay), Stan Lee (characters), and Jack Kirby (characters)
Principal Cast: Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell, Toby Kebbell, and Reg E. Cathey
Summary: Four young outsiders teleport to an alternate and dangerous universe which alters their physical form in shocking ways. The four must learn to harness their new abilities and work together to save Earth from a former friend turned enemy.
There were a lot of people that thought Josh Trank’s new Fantastic Four movie was doomed from the beginning. I was trying to stay a little positive because I always want movies to be good and the last two Fantastic Fourmovies have left a lot to be desired. However, there were lots of rumors and it wasn’t looking good for this production. I tried to stay at least a little optimistic; there are lots of troubled productions out there but that doesn’t meant that the finished product was going to be bad. These are good characters that deserve a good movie and I really enjoyed Trank’s previous movie, Chronicle. It got to the point that all I wanted was to see a decent movie.
Fantastic Four fails on every level as a movie in a way that would be considered spectacular, except the move is too boring to garner even that description.
I feel like I could write a novel about all of the ways that the Fantastic Four falls apart in so many different ways. There is the fact that the movie is incredibly poorly paced with the pre-powers section taking up way too much time. Then there is this time jump in the middle where we skip all of the fun parts of an original story for a team (discovering powers, learning to control them, becoming a team) that makes it feel like an entire part of the movie was cut for no real reason. There is one action scene at the end, but it feels incredibly anti climatic to the point that when Reed (Miles Teller) gives the big “he’s not stronger than all of us” speech, bursts of laughter erupted from my screening. By the time the credits rolled several people were laughing so hard they could hardly contain themselves by how bad it all was.
The new direction might have been a good idea at its genesis, but whatever the initial idea was it has been crushed by a terrible script that doesn’t make use of its great young cast. This is the first time a studio has gone out of the way to change the race of a character which is so important for diversity in the superhero genre. They needed to make this work to prove to the naysayers that changing the race of a character is not a big deal. Instead Fantastic Four is going to go down on the lists of the worst superhero movies ever along with Amazing Spider-Man 2, Batman and Robin and X-Men: The Last Stand. Speaking of Batman and Robin the CGI and special effects look like they wouldn’t pass in a Playstation 1 era cutscene let alone a big budget movie made in 2015. It looks like it was made by a film student dropout shot in his basement. There is no excuse for special effects to look this bad and this incomplete.
The various members of the cast do look like they are trying but the script gives them absolutely nothing to work with. Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell, and Michael B. Jordan are all good actors, but they do a terrible job of capturing the thing that makes the Fantastic Four unique in the comics; a family. The Fantastic Four, more than any other team, are the ones that are quite literally a family. Reed Richards and Sue Storm (Kate Mara) are probably the most stable married couple in the genre and they have zero chemistry here. Sue barely gets to use her powers and doesn’t get to do much besides putting her teammates in a bubble and fly them around. Ben (Jamie Bell) looks okay as the Thing but he doesn’t seem that scary. Johnny (Michael B Jordan) doesn’t do anything interesting with his powers as the Human Torch. Reed’s powers of stretching are basically used for him to perform bullet time without slowing anything down.
The real injustice to this entire production is the Victor Von Doom (Toby Kebbell). Dr. Doom is one of the great Marvel villains, yet after three movies they don’t seem to get him right. I won’t go into various details of how badly they mess up this iconic character, but let’s just say that his powers made no sense for even a superhero movie.
Fantastic Four is a complete failure of a movie. It plays like a trailer for a better movie that never comes or setting up for a future franchise that will not happen. I expect that by Monday morning Fox will be meeting with Marvel Studios to figure out a way to sell the Fantastic Four back. This movie, combined with the other iterations, may have poisoned this brand beyond redemption. Perhaps they should sit in the vault for several years Batman style until someone who knows what they are doing comes along and does this group of superheros justice.