It’s time to Old Yeller this franchise with two fully loaded barrels behind the woodshed. Nope, not even gonna dance around this one. This is a comic book adaptation that’s not as good as X-Men Origins: Wolverine and somehow even worse than Ben Affleck’s Daredevil or Amazing Spider-Man 2.
In this interpretation, we start with Reed Richards (Miles Teller) cracking inter-dimensional teleportation and is recruited by Dr. Storm (Reg E. Cathey) to do the experiment a larger scale. Storm’s children, Sue (Kata Mara) and Johnny (Michael B. Jordan) are also in on the project alongside gamergater, Victor Von Doom (Toby Kebbell). Richards and company manage to perfect a method to travel over to a different planet, and decides to take along a posse of his friends including Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell…yes Billy Elliot himself). Something goes wrong, and they all end up getting superpowers. The end. No seriously, that’s IT. With the most abrupt ending since 50 Shades of Grey.
I was trying to give this movie the benefit of the doubt after rumors of conflict between the director, Josh Trank, and 20th Century Fox meddling with him. Not surprising at all, given that this is the same studio that brought us those two terrible Fantastic 4 movies in mid 2000’s, Daredevil, Elektra, and Ghost Rider. But it looks like the studio is falling back on bad habits after it showed it can handle the X-Men franchise at least. This film is badly edited and feels like we’re missing a solid 20 minutes of set up. But I’m not going to fault the producers too much, as I believe the blame should rest with Trank.
Now Trank broke onto to the Hollywood scene with his debut film, Chronicle. And this new Fantastic 4 has similar characteristics, namely shitty teenagers getting superpowers. Sorry, old looking men and women PLAYING shitty teenagers getting superpowers. But Trank had the advantage of Max Landis’ great script in Chronicle, and here he’s woven an absolute dog turd of a script. None of the characters are even remotely likable, and we’re led to believe these teenagers are all friends because the film said so, without any payoff showing genuine character development. Plus, the “dark and gritty” tone just doesn’t work with the Fantastic 4.
So yeah, I’m not letting Trank off the hook even as he took to Twitter to claim studio interference. He’s still responsible for highly uneven pacing, long stretches of absolutely nothing happening, along with one of the lamest montages ever. Pro-tip, Trank: you can’t show off characters magically getting along through montages alone. The fact that he also made all the characters absolutely miserable with their superpowers did not help matters at all.
Speaking of which, let’s go one by one and beat these characters up, shall we? Let’s go with the biggest cock up, Dr. Doom. Now, in the comics, Dr. Doom is a dictator/evil scientist/master warlock who usually comes close to his plans of world domination were it not for his own ego. The Dr. Doom in this movie starts off as Victor, a smelly recluse living a life online as he wonders how doomed the world is and pining over the unrequited feelings of Sue Storm. He disappears after the accident that gives everyone their powers and returns as a piece of turd that resulted from someone drinking too many glow sticks and molding the turd into the shape of a man. Aside from looking awful, his motivation to all of a sudden “destroy the world” makes no goddamn sense and just comes out of nowhere.
Course he’s nothing compared to Miles Teller’s performance as Reed Richards. The kid has piss all charisma and really only really works as an actor when someone is beating the shit out of him in Divergent or Whiplash. But no, in the film everyone decides to follow his BRILLIANT idea to jump into a teleporter AFTER he and his friends were heavily drinking. And for no reason at all, ropes in his dumb friend, Ben, to partake in the journey that curses them all with powers…while drunk. If you thought the scientists in Prometheus were moronic, wait til you get a load of this one.
Now Ben gets the raw deal in getting turned into a rock monster. He’s actually the best special effect in the movie despite…you know, not having a dick. Actually, it’s funny they mold an ass out of rocks for him but leave a nice smooth plane for crotch. But Jamie Bell is really not given anything to do, and it’s kind of useless they further modulated his voice in his conversion to The Thing. Seriously, it kind of blows my mind that they gave The Thing a more complete character arc in that terrible 2004 Fantastic Four then this mediocre remake.
Further not being helped in this remake is Kate Mara as Sue Storm. And wow, mad props to filmmakers as they have finally managed to make the worst depiction of a woman part of a superhero team ever. Sue is absolutely worthless in this movie with her only character being “cold, emotionless scientist.” Plus, she’s given even less to do as she doesn’t even join the boys into the teleporter, but manages to get powers anyway. There’s also an irrelevant plot point about her being an adopted kid from Kosovo that goes nowhere and…that’s it. She’s given nothing to do in this damn movie.
Finally, Michael B. Jordan is awful in this as the Human Torch. The guy is probably the most charismatic actor out of everyone here, but his lines are atrocious. Not helping is that he lacks several personality traits that make Johnny Storm: successfully flirtatious with every woman he meets, prankster, and all around impulsive, hot head. Here he just has daddy issues. Hey Hollywood, some of us actually have great relationships with our fathers, just because some of you writers are coked-out or drunk and are told off by your dads doesn’t mean you have to shove your angst on us.
Actually, Johnny’s and Sue’s dad is totally wasted here. Reg E. Cathey has probably the sexiest deep voice since Isaac Hayes, and has the potential to be a great actor and speak words that make shiver in my thighs. But here, he just monologues about “teamwork” and “family” that completely falls on deaf ears. It’s incredible that Fast and Furious and Guardians of the Galaxy managed to convey better message of family than this utter trite.
If you’re still hellbent on liking this movie, the film stops you dead with it’s fatal flaw: it’s boring as shit. The first 80 minutes are all set up to the powers while taking place in dull, isolated environments. The posters are actively lying to you in making you believe you’ll see some heroics. Nope. In the end, you get a rushed climax that sprints towards you and ends without a second thought. Seriously, Dr. Doom’s reveal as the bad guy to end of the final fight lasts a grand total of about 15 minutes. Completely unearned as well, since as I have harped on, you don’t give a shit about any of these characters.
You should not make me think the 2004 Fantastic Four was a GOOD movie. But that’s exactly how I feel. I’m genuinely sorry I talked so much crap about that film, because THIS is as low it gets. The dark and gritty reboot was doomed to fail from the beginning since it just doesn’t fit the wonder and wackiness of the original comic. But even if the original comic didn’t exist, this is a poorly shot, poorly acted, poorly written, and poorly paced action movie. There’s is nothing of worth here. This is a straight up…
SOME OL’ BULLSHIT.
That’s why we’ll never stop getting crap FF films…See More