Near the end of the film, a military General says to the four heroes of this story something along the lines of "We want to continue our relationship...".
No sir, no we don't. You don't speak for me.
I watched this already knowing of the terrible death the new Fantastic Four reboot had suffered at the box office, and I am just fine with this fact. If it's still breathing, kill it. Put it out of it's misery. Give these characters to more capable hands, and no, I am not just Josh Trank bashing right now.
As a big fan of his debut film Chronicle, I know he is better than this. I know it. That film had imagination and intelligence and a sense of originality that I admired from the first frame to the last. Without knowing the specifics of what happened behind the scenes with Fantastic Four, I can smell the studio induced trauma all over the finished product. Something strange happened here, and it isn't pretty.
While nothing was ever particularly great or even totally compelling here, at least the first half of the film had a decent tone and somewhat forgivable pacing to it. The character development was completely awful, that I can't give any credit to. Showing us that Reed Richards (Miles Teller) is a geek and that his parents don't like him almost blowing up the house doesn't justify some sort of inner turmoil and sadness with the payoff being him mentioning how he wished he was adopted. We see that Johnny Storm (Michael B. Jordan) likes to drive cars fast and he sometimes crashes them into poles, much to the chagrin of his father. Great. Sue Storm (Kate Mara) is his sister and works with their father and is adopted, which makes Reed jealous because his parents didn't like when he almost blew the house up. Ben Grimm/The Thing (Jamie Bell)...well, who gives a shit about him? He is Reed's friend.
That's it. Those nuggets and tidbits of information are what we have to hold onto when suddenly chaos ensues and they wake up with superpowers and absolutely nothing was done to make me care about their fate because nothing was built up in any way. To be clear, this is the part of the film I didn't hate, so that gives you an indication of the tone of the rest of this review. The first half wasn't good, at all...but what happened next floored me, and not in a positive sort of way.
One year later. It says those words across the screen and then suddenly the narrative goes into warp speed to the point that it was almost laughable. They have powers and we barely get a chance to see them let alone try to understand how they are coping with such a massive change in their lives. They just take a few minutes to show them off before the rest of the plot unravels in, no joke, roughly 20 or so minutes. That's it. The villain, Dr. Doom, doesn't even become the villain until there are 10 minutes to go in the film. 10 damn minutes. We get villain doing villainous things, the Fantastic Four uniting to stop him, the absurdly brief "action" sequence, the triumph of victory, the cute and trying to be clever dialogue to close it out and then the credits roll in 10 minutes. It's unbelievable. I have never seen anything like it, and I refuse to believe this was the vision of Josh Trank. This feels like a bunch of suits who have no idea how to tell a story cutting it to pieces until it barely had a pulse.
Since I mentioned the dialogue, I need to address how terrible that was as well. I could go over the multiple times in which someone says that they need to work together to be strong because being apart, being alone makes them weak, but I won't. I don't have the heart or energy to complain anymore. Fantastic Four is a not so good film initially that tumbles down a hill into hell as the pacing of the second act feels as if I was cartoonishly watching what was happening while holding down the fast forward button.
When Reed Richards tells the various members of the military that he needs 10 minutes to fix something, I couldn't help but think, no man, you are going to need at least 40. Go back in time and start this thing over and let some scenes breathe. Let us get to know the people we are supposed to cheer for.
A 90 minute superhero origin story. Fantastic Four never had a chance.