The rumors and speculation were true. The new Fantastic Four movie is so bad it makes the 2005 version look like a cinematic masterpiece.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!!! Not that there’s that much to spoil because honestly not that much actually happens during the almost two hours of running time. All the characters are in place but seem to be there in name only. Just because you call someone Sue Storm that doesn’t automatically endow her with the characteristics of the character. As literally anyone that has every watched any film ever will tell you, characters need defining personalities. Fantastic Four is totally devoid of personality on almost all levels.
This is criminally insane too because the cast is filled with some truly amazing actors. The only person that doesn’t seem to be phoning it in is Michael B. Jordan but even that is only for the first half of the movie. The moment everyone gets their powers it is straight up angst across the board for a solid hour. That gets old real fast.
Granted, there are times where the film is visually stunning. Parts of it really do feel like a live action version of Marvel’s Ultimate characters put to screen, but those are few and far between. The horrible CGI doesn’t help either. Somehow they managed to tap into CGI from the late 90s and early 2000s with The Thing because every time he showed up you could tell it was CGI. In the age of WETA we shouldn’t be able to see the strings, not when things like Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk are now possible.
Some elements are forgivable but when everything fails it becomes inexcusable. With a huge budget and a great cast this should have been a mind-blowing movie. Films like Guardians of the Galaxy and even the unreleased Deadpool have shown us that audiences are willing to take a chance on a movie that pushes the envelope. Despite director Josh Trank’s claim that the film is fresh and new it somehow feels instantly dated. This is the last death knell of the dark ages of cinema and will be right at home alongside Batman & Robin, Daredevil, Green Lantern and Catwoman.
What Trank doesn’t seem to realize is you need conflict to propel the movie forward. The big moment that changes them all into superheroes? It is instigated in a drunken dare by a pre-villain Victor von Doom. An unconvingly drunk Reed Richards (Miles Teller) literally calls up his best friend Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell) in the middle of the night begging him to come out to the quantum gate they’ve just built so he can join them on the trip. That’s the only reason why he is there. It is as if the writers said “Alright, who are we missing from the group? Let’s make up a stupid reason to bring him back into the main story.”
You will notice I haven’t talked about Kate Mara’s Sue Storm yet. That is because she makes zero impression through the whole movie. In an era where audiences are craving strong, independent women on screen Mara’s Invisible Woman is a step in the other direction. It is not that she is helpless, she just fades into the background and doesn’t contribute anything.
By the time the third act rolls around someone must have told Trank that there needed to be some kind of superhero action in a superhero movie so they bring back Doom in the last 20 minutes. He has been trapped on his own planet for the last year and just wants to be left alone. They refuse to let him go back so he starts to destroy the Earth. That’s it. It comes out of nowhere and the fight is over just as quickly.
Do not, I repeat, do not spend your money on this movie. Cinema has changed so much since movies like this were made that it is a shame to support a movie so obviously thrown together just to keep the rights.