Monday, August 10, 2015

Fantastic Four Review

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.



  1. Really? No love for the Thing? He was the most tragic, I felt so sad whenever he said "help me" as he was trapped in the rock, granted the film is.............but that had to have pulled some heart strings.

    1. Honestly, no. I felt nothing. I knew nothing about that kid at that point except he was friends with Reed. Absolutely no development whatsoever.

      I mean, sure, it was probably the most emotionally effective moment in the film, and yet it still didn't really move me in any way unfortunately.

  2. I enjoyed it for the most part up until the one year later jump. I liked the sci-fi aspects of the story during the build up. And then the tortured monster elements (like Ben's cries for help) when they got their powers. But yeah, after the jump is where is goes down hill when it kicks into fast forward with Doom's crazy power set and his hellbent desire to destroy the world for reasons.
    I would still give it 5 or 6 out of 10. I still enjoyed it better than the previous two films in the '00s and didn't think it was as bad as everyone thought. But definitely not up to the other DC/Marvel films out there by a long shot.

    1. I honestly dislike this even more as time goes on, haha. I really think it is a misfire and the issues with the production were evident.

      But yes, without a doubt my issues lie in the one year later jump and beyond. I never loved it before then, but it was fine, not a bad film by any means. A total mess after that moment, a rushed and completely unsatisfying conclusion to a story that deserved so much more.

      I told Megan that the villain killed his first victim with only 10 minutes left in the movie, and she said "Well they were probably just setting up a sequel, like a to be continued". I said, no, they fight him and kill him before it was over. All in the final ten minutes. She was baffled haha.

      Even if Fox does try to make something of this and greenlit a sequel to not lose it to Disney/Marvel, no chance Trank is back. The more I read, the uglier it all gets. Hopefully he gets a chance to go back and make something smaller and more intimate, perhaps another hit like Chronicle to reestablish his name.

      Now the firing from Star Wars makes more sense, rumors were it was after hearing reports from on set of FF and what I am reading now, it isn't pretty with Trank working with everyone else on the cast and crew.

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