It’s time to give up

BY Tristan Wischer | August 09, 2015

We’ve been following Fantastic Four for a while, and despite the subpar trailers and assumption that it was going to be a terrible movie, I still had to confirm for myself. You have to look at the history of this franchise with 20th Century Fox. They’ve never made a good Fantastic Four movie, so why would they attempt to do so for the third time? Well of course it’s all about money for a Hollywood movie studio. If they don’t keep making movies then the rights to the film would return to Marvel.

The production of Fantastic Four also had to be one of the strangest and most negative perceived productions I’ve heard of. From re-shoots, going over budget, and weird things surrounding the director Josh Trank. Post production got even stranger, as the actors went on their publicity tour. It really sounded like the actors thought the filmed a different movie than what was actually made or they were just clueless entirely.

I swear to you, I went in to the movie with an open mind, even though I knew Trank was trying to push the movie as a sci-fi movie, more than superpowered family team up that personifies Fantastic Four. He was taking massive liberties with the characters and their backgrounds which was fine with me since this was another reboot, they had to do something different.

My issues with the movie arose when the story never really materialized, the characters relationships with each other did not work in any capacity, and the movie lacked any kind of flow. There’s things in this movie that just don’t make sense. I was ready to give it a pass after one instance but then it kept happening throughout the entire movie. In most movies there’s a cause and effect to the script. Fantastic Four’s causes did not match their effect. The characters truly have no chemistry with each other, and the second you think you understand one of the characters, they do something entirely different which just left someone like me confused. Between awkward conversations with Reed(Miles Teller) and Sue(Kata Mara), the lack of bond Sue and Johnny(Michael B. Jordan) had as siblings, and the connection Victor(Toby Kebbell) and Sue had but then disappeared quickly.

Director Josh Trank distanced himself from the movie days before release.

Reed Richards, the smartest kid in school is discouraged by his teacher and even disqualified in a science fair for his scientific magic tricks when he shows off his transportation experiment that he’s been working on for most of his childhood. I didn’t get how this kid was obviously portrayed as a genius, yet in school he was laughed at by even his teacher. Several years later he’s disqualified in the science fair by showcasing his device, and with it working, yet his teacher thinks it’s a magic trick rather than science. Was his teacher even a science teacher? It didn't click with me how a teacher wouldn't see a special kid like Reed, and maybe he could have recommended him to a place like the Baxter Institute where he would fit in.

Luckily Franklin Storm(Reg E. Kelly) and Sue Storm were hanging out at this small town science fair so they could witness Reed’s device, and then recruit him to work with them at the Baxter Foundation. Why did it take all these years for them to approach Reed if they were working on the exact same thing? They could have probably solved the whole thing a good 7 years earlier if they brought Reed in as a child, much like they did in the Ultimate comics. Reed’s character does circles throughout the movie and I was never able to pinpoint what kind of person he really is. I know he’s allegedly one of the smartest people on the planet, and I never thought the movie tried that hard in trying to portray that. Then there’s his relationships that he supposedly has with Ben(Jamie Bell), Sue, and Johnny.

Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell)

First let’s look at Ben. Ben became friends with Reed at an early age, but why? Was Ben just curious about Reed’s science experiments? Did Ben protect Reed in school? They didn’t see him get save by bully’s once. The only thing that I saw was that Ben was there to press the ON button for Reed’s transportation device at the science fair.

It never appears that Ben is really curious about science, nor he is an expert on that subject yet Ben later joins Reed at the Baxter Foundation as they use the transportation device for themselves. Just because Ben was friends with Reed growing up, was not a good or valid reason for him to join them. Astronauts spend years upon years of training, yet the second Reed sees an opportunity to travel to another dimension/planet, he drunkenly calls up Ben to join the party? Another low point for the movie. Reed leaves Ben when he probably needs him the most, and Ben is angry at Ben for majority of the movie but somehow forgets why he was angry in the first place.

Sue Storm and Reed Richards (Kate Mara / Miles Teller)

It’s pretty common knowledge that Sue Storm and Reed Richards always end up together. I saw little subtleties they were hinting at this, but it only came off as a friendly work relationship more than anything. If you look at all the relationships in this movie Reed is probably most interested in Ben. Reed drunk dialed Ben, not Sue, to join them as they travel to the other dimension/planet.

We all know what happens after that/ Ben got the short end of the stick when it came to cool powers, and he blames Reed entirely, another squabble in their relationship. At the first introduction of Sue, Ben, and Reed at the science fair, I noticed a weird look by Ben when he saw Sue. Were they going to go a romantic route with them but then cut it?

Either way, the end product made Sue more of a loner, as she’s not really included in the group. Victor von Doom is the only one that shows actual interest in Sue, as if they once dated at one point, and is only reasoning for going back to the Baxter Foundation is because Sue is working on the same project.

From a movie that advertised really strong relationships between the characters, I saw nothing strong about it. Even Sue’s brother Johnny seems like he’s more into street racing than being around his family. They might not be siblings by blood since Sue is adopted, but I sensed they didn’t see each other very often.

Need we say more?

Fantastic Four has a story, and they try to make majority of it all about science fiction, though their sci-fi story never truly makes sense. The movie is morphed into the big superhero battle in the climax, and the pacing of it ultimately caves from within. Despite the director Josh Trank claiming his movie was edited heavily without his consent, I highly doubt they ever had something good here.

Is is a sci-fi film? Is it a superhero film? It felt like they were trying to get away from the superhero label, and go down the sci-fi route even going by their real names instead of their “codenames” for 99% of the movie.

Their powers very well. or how they were able to get so good using their powers is another thing that was strange. The movie jumps around a lot to progress their weak story. They jump a year after they get their powers, so you don’t even get to see what kind of problems they went through in trying to understand their powers. They’re a part of a government agency, but it’s not like that agency knows how to teach them anything. They’re more just keeping an eye on them and using them in whatever capacity they want to. The movie goes off track entirely when they show Ben as a killing machine and Victor turns into a serial killer as he seems to possess an endless array of powers.

In Marvel Comics, Fantastic Four was their first superhero team, really their answer for theJustice League in DC Comics. Those comics were great at one point, but that series did start 54 years ago. They’ve said they pulled a lot of material from the Ultimate Fantastic Four comics, and I saw some hints, but really that comic was awful so why use it anyways? Fantastic Four just doesn’t really work anymore in this day and age, which might be why Marvel Comics cancelled their comic book series. The creators, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, made a team that was a true family, that had emotions and they gave the reader a reason to care about their existence.

I’ll give it to the first two Fantastic Four movies that are only 10 years old. While they were very corny and bad movies, they at least made you understand what these characters were going through with their new found powers as well as defining their relationships with each other. Fantastic Four movies truly have gotten worse with every release. They’re in a downward spiral and it’s safe to say 20th Century Fox has turned this franchise into a disaster. Their big hope was to have the Fantastic Four and X-Men crossover at some point, but I’m not so sure the Fantastic Four are going to make it that far.

WE THINK...

You know nothing

There were way too many instances where common sense went out the window. I kept asking, why the hell would they agree to that? A perfect example would be Ben’s agreement to help the government as he acts as a one man army for them. I understood why Johnny embraced his powers as he thought this all happened for a reason thought this was the path for him. They force so many things in the story like Victor helping the Baxter Institute. Franklin Storm convinced him to help, only because Sue was working on the project, but they didn’t expand on that at all besides Victor acting as a jerk towards everyone. They tell us what kind of character they are, but then the character does the opposite and everything they just developed for that character is thrown out the window. That really applies to every single character in the movie. Reed allegedly had such a strong friendship with Ben, yet Reed escapes after they get their powers as soon as he can, leaving Ben behind and really upset. Him being scared wasn’t a good reason for him leaving either.

Called it

I really didn’t want this movie to be bad, but ultimately it is. They have a sequel scheduled, but that can easily be cancelled if the movie doesn’t generate enough money to be deemed successful. If you know me, you know I’m probably going to say that Marvel Studios could do it right. Yes, they probably do have a much better chance of doing a Fantastic Four movie but that doesn’t mean they should ever have to. If they stop making movies at Fox, then the rights do go back to to Marvel Studios. I don’t think the right move would be to make a Fantastic Four movie. Instead split the characters up, and introduce them separately and find other things for them to be apart of. Perhaps they can all come together and be “fantastic” at some point, but at this point 20th Century Fox has ruined these characters and it’s time for them to stop the bleeding.

The Man from Latveria

Dr. Doom is one of the coolest villains in entire comic book universe, not just Marvel. In the movie, Victor von Doom suffers along with all of the other characters of being very unbalanced. He’s another lone wolf, yet still wants to be a part of the team, mostly because Sue Storm is apart of it.. His transformation into Doom defies all logic and they made his appearance seem very cheap looking. I thought he looked bad in the trailers, but they somehow managed to make him look even worse in the movie. The character’s name was going to be Victor Domashev in the movie, and the only positive thing they did was scrapping that idea.

Doom is another example of one of the many disasters of the movie. It seems like any changes they made during the production of the movie are very evident, and their end result is an extremely messy one. They give him god-like powers in the movie, yet don’t really give an explanation of these powers or why he has them. His explained motive is to destroy earth, which seemed to contradict his earlier thoughts on how mad he was at the government for destroying the earth and then looking to steal resources elsewhere after their mistakes. The fact that there was only one true fight scene with Doom was also a major let down. They wasted a lot with the character in general.

Natural Disaster

I had big issues with every character in the movie. Dr. Allen (Tim Blake Nelson) was portrayed as a bad guy and sure I sensed some evil in him as he wanted to exploit the Fantastic Four’s powers for government use, but it was later revealed that he was just a puppet, really taking all that character development away immediately. I still can’t believe these idiots (Fantastic Four) thought they could get cured if they played nice with the government. It seemed everyone involved eventually knew there was no turning back from this, yet everyone just played along.

The only one that seems to really enjoy his powers is Johnny Storm, yet he still has no issues of being controlled by the government. Why didn’t he just leave? He had no issues of going off on his own doing his street racing thing before the accident.

After Johnny and Sue discover what happened to their dad, Franklin Storm, their reactions don’t quite add up to how they should have reacted. I wasn’t expecting them to just stop there and mourn, but some quick reaction would have helped.

You call that a team?

There’s only about 5 minutes where the Fantastic Four actually act like a team. All the characters seem like they enjoy doing their own thing rather than operating as a team. They seriously only acted as a team for 5 minutes in the entire movie. They should have just use a different name for this movie. The movie was far from fantastic, and these characters barely resembled anything to do with the Fantastic Four. I feel weird about even calling them by their superhero names. None of them really went by those names we all know, until the last few seconds of the movie when they were brainstorming for names.

I suppose it makes sense though, since I would never call the super powered Ben Grimm, The Thing, one of the coolest characters from the comics (plus they couldn’t even manage to find pants for him). I was bothered by his CGI movements and the way he talked. What kind of person was Ben Grimm before the accident? The only thing they showed was his family owning a junkyard, getting beating up by his older brother as he screams “it’s clobbering time”, and that he’s friends with Reed. The Thing is a guy that didn’t have to be a puppet to the government, but he still chose to be in hopes of a cure coming eventually.

Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic) was far from fantastic as he came off more of a coward than anything. I think their ultimate flaw in developing Reed was that big chunk of 7 years from when he’s able to get his transportation device to work to the science fair when things changed for him. Victor and the Baxter Institute had been working on the same thing before Reed started and it would have made more sense to me if they brought Reed to the Baxter Institute earlier instead of taking 7 years to bring him on board.

Johnny Storm (The Human Torch) could have been a fan favorite in this movie, yet his character has no true meaning and falls apart immediately. He has a fascination with street racing. We’re later told he can literally build anything, but they don’t touch on that more. It would have been great to see some kind of demonstration of this besides just a mention of it.

Sue Storm (Invisible Girl) seems conflicted throughout the movie and her powers didn’t come off so great thanks to cheap CGI. The weird accent change, when she told Reed she was from Kosovo didn’t fit in. We knew she was adopted but if she was from Kosovo why didn’t she always talk with the accent? Can accents truly be turned off like that?

Doom was a joke of a character, and it should be a crime if that’s what their version of Dr. Doom was. Pre-Doom, Victor von Doom almost felt like apart of their “team” for a few scenes, which contradicted his character’s earlier beliefs. Did he date Sue at some point? He only came on the project because of Sue, but they didn’t really further that besides getting jealous of Reed talking to Sue. As I’ve mentioned before, I didn’t get Doom’s reason for destroying earth when he was so protective of it earlier. Doom’s appearance was also very sad, knowing how cool he can look in the comics.

When you have comic book characters that have been around for a really long time, you need to do something special for them to work in a live action movie. The Batman that we currently know, wasn’t the same Batman that showed up in comics 75 years ago. The character has been changed and altered. The same would have to be done to the Fantastic Four if they would ever want that property to work in a live action movie.

TALKBACK
1/5

This was a really awful movie. The story and pacing was awful. The characters lacked a true foundation of any kind and the cast had zero chemistry. Please cancel the sequel.

RELEASE DATE: August 07, 2015 | WATCHED IN: Theater | FORMAT: Normal | RUNNING TIME: 1:46

OTHER POINTS
|Story - 1/5
|Team Dynamic - 1/5
|Editing - 1/5
|Visuals- 3/5
|The Future - 1/5
FINAL THOUGHTS
| The characters contradicted themselves throughout the entire movie
| One of the worst plots I’ve ever seen in a film, and none of it make sense
| There was no emotion felt by the characters, or maybe it was just bad acting
| May have suffered from bad editing, or there was nothing good to edit
| It’s time to have the Fantastic Four hang up their boots