I never liked the 2005 version of “Fantastic Four.” I’ve always considered it a disappointing superhero film. Amazingly, I found myself actually longing for it when I saw the new, rebooted version. Yes, this film is so bad that it almost makes the original seem like a good film. It’s the type of movie that just gets worse and worse and drags on more and more with each passing second.
The picture introduces us to Reed Richards (Miles Teller), a young boy-genius who builds a small teleportation machine in his parents’ garage (Might I add that the film already lost me at this point; seriously, a twelve-year-old builds a TELEPORTATION MACHINE.) After befriending Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell) at the junkyard, the two enter an updated machine at the high school science fair seven years down the road. It is here that Reed is noticed by Dr. Franklin Storm (Reg E. Cathey) and his adopted daughter Sue (Kate Mara), who offer him a scholarship at an institute attempting to create a device that can teleport human life to another dimension. Storm’s son Johnny (Michael B. Jordan) and former colleague Victor Von Doom (Toby Kebbell) get forced into the plot and help build the machine.
On a drunken night, Reed, Johnny, Victor, and Ben (who randomly gets invited by Reed) decide to up and travel to a planet in another dimension, breaking every rule in the book. Bad things happen, Doom gets left behind, and the others have outstanding abilities when they return. Oh, and Sue gets powers too, but instead of just having her travel with the guys, the screenwriters decided to leave her behind and give her powers when the teleportation machine explodes for some reason…don’t ask why. A year passes with our heroes held in a maximum security location, and then all of a sudden they’re battling Victor (now Dr. Doom presumably) who wants to take over the world without any given motive. Yep, that’s pretty much it…
Director Josh Trank claims that Fox Studios took control of the film from his hands, then took his great product and turned it into this piece of trash. Whether this is true or not is debatable, but it’s pretty evident that he didn’t have control of this picture. The story is nearly unwatchable when put on screen. Nothing exciting, interesting, or intriguing happens for most of the film, then everything happens at once in the last fifteen minutes. Even worse, what does finally happen is nowhere near worth the wait and falls short of anything that can be described as “epic” or “fun.”
The terrible script does not offer much to the actors, but it’s not like they make the most of what they are given. Teller tries much too hard to fit into his character and fix something that just cannot be fixed. Mara and Bell seem like they do not really care at all most of the time. Jordan and Kebbell are really the only ones who “almost” make the most of what they are given, but it’s not enough to save the picture.
The sad truth is that these characters, like the story, are ill-conceived and undeveloped. The filmmakers completely wasted would-be-great characters like The Thing and Dr. Doom (who is only on screen for those last, awful fifteen minutes.) It’s not enough to make the scenes between the Fantastic Four extremely corny (especially during an absolutely unwatchable scene where they attempt to come up with a name); it also gives them no time to develop into a team. These people are barely likable and still seem like strangers when they are finally called into action.
The cinematography was the one aspect of the film that was done right in the first hour. Then, when the need for strong special effects came, the film seemed almost as cartoonish as “The Green Lantern.” In this day and age, where great special effects rule cinema, audiences should not be subjected to the simple, effortless effects seen here.
“Fantastic Four” might have been watchable if it seemed as though those involved actually tried to create an acceptable product. When watching this film, I wondered if the filmmakers even watched the final picture. Then I wondered if they had any idea what they were doing while making the film, because it seems as though they just threw it together like a crappy collage. Apparently, there is already a sequel in the works. It may be a terrible idea, but at least Fox has put the sequel in a situation where it can’t possibly be worse than the first installment. Then again, I never say never. Perhaps it’s best for the Fantastic Four to pack their bags and follow Spider-Man over to Marvel Studios.
1 out of 10 stars