Fantastic Four

fantastic fourOk, so I would guess you heard by now that the re-boot here of Marvel’s longest-running superhero team sucks. I don’t like to make up my mind until I see a film for myself, but I’ll confirm too that the film is pretty bad. As for why, well…

Starting with the script, there are some interesting ideas here but there’s a lot of backstory that isn’t necessary, especially in the beginning to establish the friendship between Reed Richards and Ben Grimm. And that’s part of the problem, there a numerous points that are kind of unnecessary and don’t really move things forward which really slows the pace of the film making it pretty boring throughout much of it. Then there’s the tone of the film, which is dark. Ever since Chris Nolan rebooted Batman with a darker tone, everyone thinks that dark is the way to go. Well, that worked for Batman because he’s a dark dude but that doesn’t work for all comic characters (cough, cough, Superman, cough, Zach Synder, cough, cough). And the dark tone doesn’t work here either. If you read the Fantastic Four comics as I did, you know there was some humor with them and it never creeped into too ominous of a theme overall. They were always one of the more lighter superhero teams that were fun but not overly serious or depressing. Here, the tone is not fun, just dark and I’m afraid that approach just fails here.

Josh Trank directed and I have to say I lost some respect for him when he came out and said how disappointed he was with the film and blamed the studio primarily for it. As a director myself, I understand his complaints but ultimately, he’s still the director and holds some responsibility here himself. I can’t believe he was blind to the problems of the film from the get-go so I’m sorry but I feel he’s equally accountable for the shortcomings of this movie. Take the blame here Trank, it’s your film too.

The actors are lackluster at best. There are no memorable moments here with everyone seeming kind of muted in terms of their performances. I know that Kate Mara and Michael B. Jordan are capable of much more than I what I saw them deliver, it’s a shame, it feels like they were told to hold back when they should’ve had more opportunity to run with the ball. Miles Teller who plays Reed is kind of blasé on camera as well. I don’t know if it’s him or the way he was directed but he’s very milquetoast as far as his portrayal of the lead. Jamie Bell is ok as Ben Grimm/The Thing but he’s just ok. Even the Dr. Doom role came off boring played by Toby Kebbell. He tries to come off in a menacing way but he just seems quiet, not threatening. Overall, the whole thing performance wise feels like most of them were just phoning it in for the paycheck.

Ugh. Dont’ bother. If you really want to see a Fantastic Four film, go back to the original from 2005 with Jessica Alba and Ioan Gruffudd, which was at least a decent film and fun to watch. This one is neither…

reviewed by Sean McKnight