I come to bury the Fantastic Four, not to praise them.
Directed by: Josh Trank (Chronicle)
Produced by: Gregory Goodman, Simon Kinberg, Robert Kulzar, Hutch Parker, Matthew Vaughn
Screenplay by: Simon Kinberg, Jeremy Slater, Josh Trank
Based on: Fantastic Four by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby
Starring: Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell, Toby Kebbell, Reg E. Cathey, Tim Blake Nelson
Music by: Marco Beltrami & Philip Glass
Plot: In search of the key to unlocking the ever-elusive secrets of teleportation and interdimensional travel , Dr. Franklin Storm (Reg E. Cathey) of the Baxter Foundation employs four young geniuses to seal the deal: Reed Richards (Miles Teller), Victor Von Doom (Yes they’re still calling him that…. Er, I mean, Toby Kebbell) and his own kids, Susan (Kate Mara) and Johnny (Michael B. Jordan). When the kids’ (Plus Reed’s childhood friend, Ben Grimm) experiment in the so-called “Planet Zero” (Because apparently, “Negative Zone” ,as it’s known in the comics, is too silly of a name for a movie where the main villain is called “Victor von Fucking Doom”) goes horribly wrong, the kids gain superhuman abilities. Reed gains the ability to stretch his body parts to abnormal lengths (Get your mind out of the gutter) Ben gets turned into a giant, supernaturally strong rock monster, Johnny gains the ability to set himself on fire and fly at will with no repercussions, Sue can turn invisible and use force fields and Victor von Bad Guy fucks off to the other dimension, goes insane, develops a power set vaguer than the Scarlet Witch, and decides to destroy the world, because whoever was rewriting this movie for the tenth time forgot to add a climax, and just picked the stock villain goal, regardless of whether it’s in the character’s nature or not.
And then, the good guys are spirited off to a secret government facility known as Area 57 (Because they couldn’t get the film rights to Area 51, apparently) where the government tries to weaponize them, because the Evil Government is Evil.
I can already feel the hatred flowing through me. God that feels good.
To say that Fantastic Four (Or if you’re lobotomized, Fant4stic) had a troubled production would be stating the obvious, at this point. At this point, those of us who tried to remain optimistic were hoping that it would be another case of persevering through adversity, Star Wars and Jaws style.
Well…. That shows what I fucking get for looking on the bright side. It’s all Nietzsche and self-hatred from here on out.
One controversial decision was the casting of Michael B. Jordan, a black man, as Johnny Storm, who is traditionally depicted as being a white man. I want to make myself abundantly clear about this: If you give the slightest shit about the Human Torch being black, you are likely racist, and I want you to leave. And if your retort to that is to point out the fact that I wouldn’t want Black Panther being played by a white man, then I strongly suggest euthanasia to avoid contaminating the gene pool further with your stupidity.
Michael B. Jordan isn’t the problem. None of the actors are. Every part is perfectly cast by greatly talented people, and they bring all they possibly can to this movie. In a parallel universe, we would have a FF movie that isn’t apparently being made by brain-damaged chimps with stump hands locked in a room with semi-functional typewriters. In that world, this cast is now being showered with praise instead of, well, I shudder to think of what horrible things are being said about the actors by overly emotional fanboys.
All these supremely talented performers can’t save this movie from the aforementioned chimps with stump hands, though. Here’s an example of the stellar (Paraphrased) dialogue you can find in Fant4stic (Fuck, now I’m doing it):
Victor von Bad enough dude to save the president: “Do you think that maybe the Earth really deserved to be saved? People are kind of the worst. That’s a conclusion I came to in my nonexistent character development!”
Susan: “Check out Dr. Doom over here!”
I don’t know about you, but I smell an Oscar!
In addition to the piss-poor dialogue and the lack of any character development whatsoever, the characters are bland and nondescript, with the screenwriters reducing their personalities to the faintest possible resemblance of their counterparts from the comics. Reed’s personality? “Smart guy”. Ben’s? “Sad, strong guy.” Johnny? “Angry guy.” Sue? “Girl.”Victor Von Holy shit some names should stay in the Sixties? Well… Let’s go ahead and talk about this bleached asshole of a villain.
If somebody could please tell me how this snivelling emo loser who suddenly decides to destroy the world (For… Reasons) is supposed to be the pondering, dictatorial badass from the comics, that would be much appreciated.
While you’re at it, can somebody please tell me how this look is supposed to be equal to the comics in terms of awesomeness?
Dr. Doom isn’t the only thing that looks like shit. The visual effects are worse than any blockbuster movie of this day and age have any right to be. There’s one scene where Reed and Ben teleport a toy plane, and the ensuing flash looks like something made via Windows XP effect.
There were some complaints about the look of Ben Grimm after his new look was revealed as well, but I actually rather liked it. No one depiction of the thing is going to please everybody, but at least this time, he’s not just a guy in a rubber suit. There are definitely worse character designs out there.
Even if those issues weren’t monumental, which they are, the movie would still be tanked by the fact that it’s a poorly edited, uneven backloaded mess. They should make this movie required viewing at film schools as an example of what to avoid at all costs when editing film. 20th Century Fox’s last-ditch efforts to salvage the mess Trank made and/or micromanage Trank to the point where he allegedly just gave up doesn’t pay off because the movie ambles along at a painfully slow pace, devoting it’s time to clunky character development and the occasional shitty joke. Then, in the last ten minutes or so, the filmmakers realize that “Oh shit! We totally forgot about the climax!” so they bring in Dr. Doom with next to no explanation, and we’re treated to a fight so overblown and lethargic that the audience just does not care anymore. And neither do the actors, for that matter. Reshoots probably don’t do much for your enthusiasm for working on a project.
Also, why do they not need they not need a special suit to survive in the Negative Zone (I’m not calling it fucking Planet Zero) during the climax, but earlier in the movie, they clearly need those suits to survive? And why do I expect logical thinking from the same people who think that Miles Teller and Jamie Bell look like high schoolers.
Overall: Even if it is the worst superhero movie since Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, at least Fant4stic has inspired me to write my own FF screenplay, if only because I’m one hundred percent certain that it wouldn’t end up as badly as this one.