Alex Reviews Fantastic Four - Yet Another Terrible Movie For Marvel’s First Family

Maybe it’s time to admit these characters will never work on film.

Rating: ˜… One of the worst things about every major tentpole blockbuster being a sequel, reboot or remake by another name (aside from announcing the death of originality) is that each new release tends to be measured alongside the rest of the franchise, rather than critically assessed in and of itself. That€™s how Jurassic World can be heralded as the best sequel to Spielberg€™s classic and Transformers: Age Of Extinction can be dismissed as €œnot that bad€. And now we have Fant4stic (hey, if it€™s going to be marketed with such a stupid name, I€™m gonna bloody call it that in my review). Now, technically this is better than both of the Jessica Alba and Chris Evans-starring turkeys and the Roger Corman-produced effort from the €™90s (it was never theatrically released, but still), but to call it the best Fantastic Four flick somehow creates the illusion that the latest attempt to make Marvel€™s First Family work on screen isn€™t an atrocity. And it is; it's only "best" by nature of not being as rage-inducing as what's come before.
That Josh Trank€™s misfire of a film isn€™t any worse than it is is something of a miracle. Fant4stic inexplicably takes the worst elements from both previous incarnations with reckless abandon for the internet€™s inability to forget; it feels like a half-arsed attempt on Fox€™s part to keep the rights to the characters away from Marvel (or, more aptly, franchise inclusive villains Galactus and the Silver Surfer, rather than the bland titular quartet) just like Corman€™s version and many of the fan-enraging changes made by Tim Story to the characters€™ origins are carried over. Oh, the scientific mumbo-jumbo by which the Fantastic Four get gifted their powers is different here. Inspiration is taken from the Ultimates comic line instead of classic Marvel, so this time it€™s alternate dimensions instead of space clouds that mutate them into stretchy/invisible/firey/rocky beings. But the basic plot beats in that transformation feel uncomfortably familiar; once again Victor von Doom becomes his evil alter ego (never called Doctor Doom because you - gasp - can€™t actually embrace the comics) by the exact same method as the titular team and there€™s more lazy justification for why the same event gives four (sorry, five... sigh) people totally different powers. The only thing that's changed is that, this time, they head to new frontiers not out of a desire to push the limits of man, but ego.
This would ordinarily be the cause of much derision, but by the time sh*t finally goes down you won't really care. The characters are just that boring. Part of this stems from them being first created in a time when €˜character€™ in a comic book went as far as body shape, gender and power, but we€™ve got over fifty years of development to play with - the same shouldn€™t apply here. And, fitting for a series all about strength in numbers, it only gets worse when you put them together. Well, I say together, but at no point do the Four feel like a team (or even friends) - Reed and Johnny€™s friendship is summed up in a single misunderstood fist-bump and the attempt at the typical love triangle barely registers. And I don€™t think Sue Storm and Ben Grimm even had a single dialogue exchange. I can't bring myself to blame the actors though. Part of that is because I really like Miles Teller and Kate Mara and just feel sorry to see them hampering their careers in this, but it's mainly because anyone would struggle with this script. The dialogue is embarrassingly bad, with what€™s intended as banterous back-and-forth nonsensically stilted and key character traits and other exposition signposted without any actual events backing them up - two characters are separately of foreign origin for no reason other than being different. Sue even has what would, in the X-Men world, be regarded as a superpower before the transformation. Yeah... Click next for the second half of the review.

Film Editor (2014-2016). Loves The Usual Suspects. Hates Transformers 2. Everything else lies somewhere in the middle. Once met the Chuckle Brothers.