TL;DR – This movie is a train wreck that will make you look back fondly on the camp amusement that was 2005 Fantastic Four.
Score – 2 out of 5 stars
(warning: the trailer is edited in such a way to give an impression that this is a action film, nothing could be further from the truth)
Fantastic Four has not had the easiest life in development, it is a film that only exists to fulfil a contract and avoid movie rights reverting back to Marvel. Now interestingly, this is not the first time this has happened with the Fantastic Four, also this is not necessarily a bad thing. X-Men First Class was in the exact same situation, but while that was an exercise in innovative storytelling, this is an overly protracted and ultimately boring film.
“We gave you six years, and millions of dollars, and you gave us nothing” strangely prophetic words given how the film turned out.
As with most reboots, Fantastic Four is an origin film, we see how all the main players get their powers and how it changes their lives. One should point out, no one asked for these powers, like Spiderman this is caused by an accident. This is a really interesting set up because you didn’t get to choose, the powers get thrust upon you and you have to decide how to react. But here we come across the first stumbling block of the film, lazy writing. This film is full of clichés, (Spoilers Ahead: Jump To The Next Paragraph If You Wish To Avoid), like how one character constantly argues with their father only to regret it later, seriously, if you have to declare “I’m an adult now” during a middle of a temper tantrum, you’re not an adult. Then we also we have the two characters are presented to be best friends, then enemies, then best friends again … because of the story. Also, good writers can foreshadow future events or give little winks to the audience who know what’s coming (see King Joffery’s Crossbow), bad writers literally go in the first 5 minutes of a character’s introduction “wow you’re like Dr Doom”. Also, while I am always ok with an adaption changing something from its source material to make it work, if it improves the adaption, or makes it work in a new medium, some of the changes (which come down to the core of the relationship between the FF and the world) feel forced and unnecessary, bar for the need to add tension for no suitable reason.
What is this mess
The casting also is a bit of a problem, they cast the film way too young, Julian McMahon may have been overly theatrical with his performance of Dr Doom in the 2005 film, but at least he had some gravitas behind his performance rather than whiny angst. Now, in this case, I don’t blame the actors because you can see some of them are really trying, but whether through the script, or the directing or the editing it just falls flat. Out of all the cast Miles Teller (Reed Richards/ Mr Fantastic) and Jamie Bell (Ben Grimm/ The Thing) work the best, however, the way they frame Kate Mara’s (Sue Storm/ The Invisible Women) performance makes it almost feels like an afterthought that they added in, and Michael B. Jordan has all the bluster of the Human Torch, but with none of his charm.
This film is so bad that the trailers for the film are edited in a way that gives the impression that the film is going to be a much more action focused global film when nothing could be further than the truth. At best it is misleading and worst it is simply lying to a potential audience. There is a simple reason for that, the films pacing is really slow at the start and never really ramps up until it hits a sudden unsatisfactory climax, and then just kind of ends with this sort of staging for the sequel, which I doubt is a done deal atm and also reinforces how uneventful the rest of the film has been.
What a waste of a good cast
Now it is not all bad, some of the effect are really amazing and given you have Weta Digital on the payroll that should come to no surprise, it is just a pity that you don’t see more of it.
There is much more I could say but I think at this point you can get the general feeling I have for this film, in the end, Fantastic Four, I’m not really upset with you, I’m just disappointed.
Directed by – Josh Trank
Screenplay by – Jeremy Slater, Simon Kinberg & Josh Trank
Based 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
Rating – Australia: M; Canada: PG; Ireland: 12A; NZ: M; UK: 12A; USA: PG-13