Fantastic Four

Is there a more universally hated super hero franchise right now than Fantastic Four? Specifically films with more than one movie. Catwoman, Elektra, Green Lantern are all bad but at least they stopped, and Daredevil redeemed itself with the Netflix series.

But Fantastic Four had two very mediocre films with big name actors, so they had to reboot it many years later or else they would lose the movie rights. Not unlike how the 1994 Fantastic Four movie came to existence. As expected, because people were already angry, the internet did not give Fantastic Four a chance. Every casting decision was scrutinized (The Human Torch being the most famous example), every time they didn’t appear at a con was noted, and when they finally came to a few, they were criticized for their trailer or being later.

It is a sad fate that no matter how good or bad this movie is, it is almost determined to fail because the internet has decided to hate it before giving it a chance. A lot like what happened to The Lone Ranger movie of a few years ago.

“What, do they not know what to do with their arms? This movie sucks based on a picture!” – The Internet

Sometimes when you are a kid, you have a dream for when you get older and it actually comes true. Like when Reed was in 5th grade (in 2007. Yes, the math works out and it indeed was that long ago), he wanted to be the first person to teleport and was already working on a device! He also befriended the slower Ben through his elementary experiments. Now, 7 years later, for his senior year science project, Reed (Miles Teller) has successfully built the device and is able to teleport something away and back! He doesn’t know where, but darn it, it works! And Ben (Jamie Bell) is still there, helping out by lifting things or buying supplies or something.

Needless to say, it draws at least some interest, namely from Dr. Franklin Storm (Reg E. Cathey), who wants to offer Reed (yes just reed) a full scholarship to NYC as part of the Baxter foundation. A giant building where he can school, do science, and live. Yay! Apparently Reed had solved an issue they were having for years, so Franklin gets his old team back together, including Victor Von Doom (Toby Kebbell), who is a bit chaotic. He also adds in his adopted daughter Sue (Kate Mara) who will build suits for them and his son Johnny (Michael B. Jordan) who has gotten into some trouble and can “build anything.” This is all important, because what Reed has actually done is created a portal to another dimension and another world!

They should totally try to go there. That’d be fun. Hopefully nothing would go wrong, affecting the structural DNA of any of these right out of high school aged individuals. That would be terrible. Also Tim Blake Nelson as our government bad guy, because you need one when science is involved.

“And knowing is half the battle.” – Cobra Commander or whoever is in this picture.

I won’t say the hate on the internet for this film is justified, because most of it came before anyone had a chance to see it. However, they ended up being correct in that the final product was anything but fantastic.

Don’t want to get into source material comparisons, so I will still note that I am bit disappointed that they used a lot of the “Negative Zone” but called it Planet Zero or something, and not by its comic name.

As for the characters, the entire team seemed to lack any real personality. Before the specifics, I should note that I really like Teller and Jordan in most of their movies and Mara was great in House of Cards and Happythankyoumoreplease.

However, for The Human Torch they made him whiny, even having him utter “I’m an adult, I’m old enough to make my own decisions!” to his dad. The few times The Thing/Ben was on the screen, it felt like he was just awkwardly standing off to the side, never understanding what was going on. Reasons to bring him along on the trip were silly and the friendship that was supposed to exist between him and Reed didn’t show up well in the film. Additionally, his voice when he was full on The Thing didn’t seem to fit his mouth well and always seemed jarring.

It feels like they forgot to do anything with The Invisible Girl, outside of having her like music and patterns with some cringe inducing scenes. And Reed never felt like the genius he was hyped up to be, just a kid with lame powers and lame motivations. Dr. Doom himself was rushed near the end. The fight didn’t make a whole lot of sense, because the film had a problem explaining anything that occurred, hoping the audience wouldn’t think too hard by rushing through all the science talk.

The only real chemistry I found believable was between Johnny and Sue storm as adopted brother and sister, which is probably the hardest thing to pull off. Makes one wonder if they forgot about everything else and focused just on their relationship. Somewhat related, their dad also called Victor and Reed “son” at various points in the movie, so at some point he just became everyone’s daddy.

Stretching out this review with a third picture, much like how Miles Teller can stretch out a conversation with witty retort.

The film can be broken down into three parts. A long introduction, which includes getting the powers and training (which also almost put me to sleep). One scene that is more akin to a horror film. Then a short rushed final CGI fueled fight.

Outside of the weak characters, the biggest problem seems to come from the tone. The Fantastic Four group is inherently cheesy. My favorite story about them is actually a short Norm MacDonald sketch talking about how ridiculous their names are. But the tone of the film is going for a darker more serious approach that is popular nowadays. However it never feels dark, it just forced. It is still cheesy outside of the “horror” scene with none of the grittiness seeming to work. It doesn’t help that the film is almost void of any action until the final fight scene, leaving just poor character development science montages to pick up the majority of the run time.

The Fantastic Four reboot might have actually been what we all feared, a cheap and quick film to maintain film rights. I maintain that if they had just brought in Zac Efron as Dr. Doom, this could have been better as a spiritual successor to That Awkward Moment.

0 out of 4.

Buy It! – This movie is available now on {Blu-Ray} and {DVD}.

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