Prior to the release of the most recent Fantastic Four film, fans could be optimistic. I mean, really the 2005 versions were so poor that there is nowhere to go but up right? RIGHT? Fox couldn’t possibly screw the pooch on this one– even if they release a mediocre movie we could all sit back and say: “Hey, At least it was better than the old ones!”. However, we were all proved wrong as the new film, released this past weekend, surpassed the its predecessors by both alienating their own fan base as well all providing the casual viewers and non-fans with something…well…. just not great…
And look, was it the worst movie I have ever seen? Not by a long shot. I have seen way worse films…. but it also wasn’t very good. You, as a viewer, are left with a mental feeling of a shoulder shrug. They movie felt off in every way that it could feel off, honestly. It is like seeing a co-worker or fellow student give a presentation they either 1) were not prepared for or 2) are way to nervous. You practically want to lend this movie a helping hand because you feel bad for it.
A young Reed Richards befriends a young Ben Grimm as they embark on an adolescent attempt to build a teleportation device. Reed argues in a class presentation that it quantum teleportation (data only) is already possible. Ben Grimm– a not overly intelligent kid, unlike the young Reed Richards, works at his families junk yard and is able to help provide parts and labor. They spend years building their device and we time skip to their senior year of High School where they attend their science fair and get disqualified because “it is a science fair, not a magic show” and they accidentally destroyed the school backboard with their experiment. However, Dr. Franklin Storm has also been working on teleportation and offered Adult-ish Reed Richards (Played by Miles Teller) a scholarship.
You are then introduced to Sue Store (Kate Mara), Johnny Storm (Michael B. Jordan) and Victor Von Doom (Toby Kebbell) as they are all tasked to help build a teleportation device and go to a world they already know exist (World/earth Zero I think?). The new world is a rough barren land but apparently is rich in natural resources the government is just chomping at the bit to get their hands on.
They succeed in building the teleportation device and are also eager to travel to the new world only to have their hopes ripped away by the U.S. Government who decide that they aren’t going to send genius kids, but their own scientists and military people. That night, drinking (possibly underage?) Victor, Reed and Johnny decide that they’re going to travel before the military gets a chance to because “No ones remembers who built the spaceships that sense Niel Armstrong to the moon, they only remember the people who go there.” They go to the barren wasteland, without Sue but instead with Ben Grimm as Reeds plus one, and shit takes a turn, they attempt to escape but Victor Von Doom gets some ooze on him and is presumed dead. The rest escape but all are on military lock down due to their new powers/abnormalities. Oh and Sue Storm gets powers too because she was near the teleportation device when they transport back and is hit by some particles. The pre-fantastic four are stuck in a military base being tested on and experimented with until Reed gets away promising to help his friend– eventually.
Then we time skip a year, Reed is recaptured –they rebuild the teleportation device–they go back and find an alive Victor and bring him back which causes all hell to break out.
…… you get the gist…..
The biggest, and nicest, way I can describe this film is this: WASTED OPPORTUNITY. The entire film is basically that… a series of wasted opportunities, wasted potential and wasted talent. If you’re welling to suspend your disbelief for a bit and buy into the fact that Reed, Sue, Johnny and Victor are all genius kids that the government would allow anywhere near a teleportation device let alone give them funding and creative control on building one, you might be okay with the first third of this movie. Ben Grimm and Reed Richard’s friendship building is a solid start to this film and you feel like the film has some solid building blocks to move forward on.
What they do instead is two or three-time skips where you’re left to assume certain things rather than the film portraying said things or allowing you to feel or get connected. We get a brief friendship of Reed and Grimm as kids, then they time skip about 7 years when they’re 18 and are “best friends”. Reed then moves to a new city and leaves Grimm behind. He makes new friends with Storm, Doom and Dark Storm (just a pun I don’t care if he is black– I actually had a lot of hope for Michael B. Jordan in this role…) but even that is essentially skipped over as they build the machine. Instead of seeing this bonds of friendships grow, we are left with a montage of them building the machine and having a few moments together and we are left to assume the rest.
Oh and the biggest travesty of all was the powers time skip!!! After they get their powers, Reed escaped and we jump to a year later…. Let me emphasize this a bit more. We spent over an hour getting lame plot points and so-so dialogue and skipping over meaningful character building points and, when they finally get their powers, we don’t even get to see them learn to use them or come to terms with them or anything. This, along with the final boss fight, was probably the biggest misstep of all.
Arguably the coolest scene in the movie is when evil shiny Dr. Von Doom is walking through a hallway exploding people heads. If this was a horror movie or used in a different context, it would have been amazing. But that is about the only cool thing to say about Doom’s character. When you meet him for the first time, he is a (maybe mid-20’s) scientist that had been kicked out of the teleportation project and had retaliated by setting fire to the lab. Papa-Storm still believes in the Doom’s potential and decides to bring him aboard again. He seems anti-government? It’s not covered to heavily, but he is certainly not anti-world at this point of the story. When he is left behind for a year on planet Zero and brought back– the first thing he does is start killing people and teleports back to the other planet where he builds a…..sort of dimensional space-delio that creates a black hole on earth and is sucking things through the teleportation device and into oblivion.
…..I literally have no idea how he did it with rocks and rubble and such. But apparently a year on a primordial earth lets you skip any need for actual science. Fuck science! Anyways– even though he can explode people’s brains– he decides to fight the FF crew with his bare hands only to be cast into the same black hole he created and is destroyed…. I am not even going to share my opinion on the boss fight…. it’s just going to make me mad.
no… no…. I will… what the hell Fox!? Victor Von Doom is potentially an amazing villain and what we got was a whinny dude who looks ridiculous and has powers that aren’t explained–with the ability to explode heads and created black holes but doesn’t want to use those powers when it actually matters? AND THEN YOU KILL HIM. Talk about unrealized potential. Plus the final boss fight was what? two minutes long? I thought the original Fantastic Four film had a lame and short boss fight but yeesh… Also I don’t get his motivation…. he doesn’t like or trust the government so he deems that the whole world needs to be destroyed…. and what then? He gets to live on the other planet for the rest of his life alone? Like can we at least get a five-year plan from Doom?
The cast, honestly, was its only hope going into this film…. Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan and Miles Teller are all solid actors in their own right and have been in some pretty big-names stuff. Hell, even the Thing played by Jamie Bell is a decent actor. He played in Jumper– which wasn’t a great film but he was one of the shinning spots in it.
Alas…. this too was wasted…. and I don’t know who to blame… It could have been a poor script or poor direction or poor awkward acting. It could have been that the main core of the Fantastic Four film were phoning it in after they realized the project would bomb– but I was heavily disappointed. There was zero chemistry between the cast at all. Everyone seemed far too stiff and robotic with each other– they always gave you the impression of two people meeting for the firs time that either had social anxiety or possibly inherently disliked one another…Hopefully this doesn’t ruin any of their budding careers though. Most of the film’s acting felt like the gif on my right ——–>
That awkward moment when you’re not sure if you should bump fists or high-five…
Plot/Story (out of 20 points)
eh…. the initial plot wasn’t terrible…and I don’t even care that they changed so much of the origin story… but what they did change didn’t add much to the story and they left too much to the audiences assumptions and just didn’t tell a cohesive story that you could get behind. And let’s be honest– you really REALLY had to suspend your disbelief to even dive into the plot– which is saying a lot for a super hero film… (5/20)
Characters (Out of 20 points)
Can I just say bad and move on? Seriously… the only solid characters were kid-Ben, kid-Reed and Dr. Franklin storm… but even Mr. Storm had some overly derivative lines that you found yourself rolling your eyes at. Most of the characters were cold and emotionless(Kate Mara worst of all) but had “dark pasts” that nobody cared about .. let me give you a hint fox– even if darker story lines are the status quo for super hero films nowadays, that doesn’t mean every character has to be sad and depressing. I can’t wait til’ you pump out a Krypto the Super Dog film where he is dyeing of cancer and his wife dies so he goes on a revenge path… (kidding– DC Would never sell the rights to Fox…)(5/20)
Acting (out of 20 points)
Bad. Everyone was so stiff and unbelievable and award…. and angry…. (1/20) …(The one is because I’m sure some put their best effort into the film and they deserve to be rewarded!)
Storytelling (out of 30 points)
Arguably one of the most important parts of the film. It was horrible botched here. There were far far too many time skips and plot holes to count…. Any they basically took the Origin our of the origin story. The important parts of the film that get you excited or that let you feel emotional connection to these characters were either ignored, glossed over, skipped or horribly done (Boss fight). (5/30)
Ad-Campaign (out of 10 points)
What does a train wreck look like condensed? Like this:
Total Score for Fantastic Four 2015: 17/100
So maybe it was bad?