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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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