Fantastic Four (Movie Review)

Stylized titles need to go ahead and put themselves out of their own misery.

I come to bury the Fantastic Four, not to praise them.

Fantastic Four

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

Genre: Superhero

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.

He should’ve been named Victor Domashev. Come at me fanboys, I’m waiting.

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.

Come at me you beautiful motherfucker. I’m ready for your sweet, sweet nihilism all over me.

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.

“HEY!!! These people don’t conform with societal expectations of racial dynamics in an American family! KILL THEM!!!”                                        -Idiots

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.

God, he looks like the result of a one-night stand between a crash test dummy and C-3PO.

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?

He looks like a blow-up doll made out of ballistics gel.

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.

This game of solitary is more technologically advanced than the effects in Fantastic Four.

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.

He looks like the deformed son Ultron never told anybody about.

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.

Rating: 2/10

He looks like the Vision wearing a giant, skintight condom.

Chappie (Movie Review)

I shouldn’t see this scene and think “meh”. I really shouldn’t.

Leave it to me to devote an entire post to a grandiose announcement of things to come, and then post nothing but filler for a week. Ah, well, what’re you gonna do?

On Friday, I went to see Chappie, the third movie from Neill Blomkamp, and number 10 on my “Most Anticipated of 2015” list. Keep my high expectations in mind as I proceed to demolish this movie.


Directed by: Neill Blomkamp

Produced by: Simon Kinberg

Written by: Neill Blomkamp, Terri Tatchell

Based on: Tetra Vaal by Neill Blomkamp (Short film)

Genre: Science fiction

Starring: Sharlto Copley, Dev Patel, Ninja, Yolandi Visser, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Sigourney Weaver, Hugh Jackman

Music by: Hans Zimmer

Plot: Johannesburg, South Africa of the near future. Crime is out of control and the police are in over their heads.

In direct contrast to the Johannesburg we know and love today.

Thankfully, weapons manufacturers come to the rescue, as they are known to do, as a corporation named Tetravaal invents the world’s first-ever robotic police force, which absolutely demolishes most of the city’s crime (And yet, criminals still do pretty much whatever they want and Tetravaal workers can be kidnapped right outside the factory. Huh). However, the designer of the robots (Dev Patel) wants to experiment with new Artificial Intelligence software that would allow the robots to feel emotions and have opinions. Deciding to take matters into his own hands, he installs the software into a damaged robot (Voiced by Sharlto Copley). Unfortunately, this robot (Dubbed “Chappie”) falls into the hands of some local scumbags (Ninja, Yolandi Visser and Jose Pablo Cantillo) and the childlike Johnny 5/Bugs Bunny hybrid’s future is out into serious jeopardy.

Neill Blomkamp is a name that has been getting more and more recognition within the geek community as the director of the contemporary sci-fi classic that is District 9 and Elysium, one of the most thoroughly okay movies that I’ve ever seen. as well as the director of the upcoming fifth installment in the Alien franchise. Blomkamp’s gritty direction is surprisingly well-suited for the high concept science fiction that he specializes in, and there are moments throughout Chappie where his skill shines through. The CGI and special effects are terrific, especially the effects for Chappie and the other robots, who look breathtakingly lifelike, which I suppose is to be expected from the guy who did the aliens in District 9.

Fooking prawn!!!

When there are action scenes, Blomkamp directs them very well, which, in hindsight, kinda strikes me as a frustrating tease, but c’est la vie.

There are a couple performances that stand out among the rest (More on that later). Dev Patel is very solid as Chappie’s creator, making me wonder once again why in the hell he doesn’t get more work (He even managed to be mostly functional in The Last Airbender, a feat that deserves much praise on its own), but the real standout is Sharlto Copley as the voice and motion capture for the title character. Among all the forgettable or downright detestable characters in this mess of a movie, the one enjoyable, energetic constant is Chappie, who I know would be a joy to watch under the right circumstances.

As much as I did kind of hate this film, I can’t really fault it for existing, if that makes any sense at all. I mentioned in my “Most Anticipated” list that I thought that Chappie kinda looks like a Steven Spielberg movie, which, I admit, had me pretty excited. I really liked the idea of seeing this childlike robot grow up in a rough part of Jo-burg, learning about people and human nature in general. Not only did I not get that, I’m not particularly sure how to describe what I got any other way except “A robot hanging out with a bunch of unlikable scumbags for two hours. Shenanigans ensue.”

If the movie had stuck to the education of Chappie, which had proven early on in the film to be a strong suit, it would have been a whole hell of a lot more entertaining than the actual end result, which didn’t amount to much more than Chappie learning about the joys of petty crime and macho posturing under the tutelage of a hip-hop/rave duo. Ugh.

Speaking of said hip-hop/rave duo, they’re called Die Antwoord (“The Answer” in Afrikaans) and they’re composed of Ninja and Yolandi (Who play the characters of Ninja and Yolandi. Cryptic, I know) and, as you may expect from two people who haven’t acted prior to this movie, they aren’t very good, although they don’t embarrass themselves and they do try, I’ll give them that.

They were better than Jodie Foster in Elysium, believe it or not.

Die Antwoord’s music plays quite frequently throughout the film and is,along with Hans Zimmer’s score, another strong point of the film (Keep in mind, this is coming from somebody who has spent a large portion of his life claiming that rave music is literally worse than Hitler), though the frequency that their music is played can feel like shameless self-promotion a lot of the time (Especially when the characters actually wear Die Antwoord merchandise). Eh, at least it’s not as blatantly obvious as the product placement for PlayStation 4 that occurs at one point. Not to cast the first stone, but you don’t see Nintendo pulling that shit.

Well, not anymore, at least.

Aside from Patel and Copley, none of the actors are particularly good, but a lot of the blame for that should probably be laid at the feet of the writing. Besides Chappie, these characters are garbage. Dev Patel’s character isn’t interesting, Ninja and Yolandi (The characters, obviously, not the actual people) are unlikable scumbags (Though they can apparently do a complete personality 180 at the drop of a hat), America (Ninja and Yolandi’s companion, played ably by Jose Pablo Cantillo) is a completely useless character, Sigourney Weaver is wasted on a generic, amoral corporate character, and Hugh Jackman- Alright, let me just go on a little bit about Hugh Jackman’s character.

I’m a huge Hugh Jackman fan and, as far as performances go, this one isn’t the worst, but this character is absolute dogshit. There’s nothing interesting about him at all and the only flimsy reason for his existence is to move the plot along whilst fitting every single generic villain trope possible. He has no redeeming qualities whatsoever, no personality other than “angry” and “Australian”, and you wonder why he’s in law enforcement if he’s willing to kill hundreds of innocents just so his fucking ED-209 clone gets authorized by Sigourney Weaver. There’s nothing substantial or entertaining about him, and it’s a travesty that an Oscar-nominated actor could be wasted on such an empty character.

Subtlety has never really been Neill Blomkamp’s strong point. If District 9 was about as subtle an apartheid allegory as a sledgehammer to the face, Elysium was about as subtle a commentary on inequality as a blow from that hammer that King Dedede uses in Super Smash Bros. 

Yeah, that one.

But as blunt as those two movies were about their respective agendas, at least Blomkamp found a somewhat inventive way to get his message across. Chappie tries to delve not so much into political issues, but into philosophical and moral ones, and in the process, I think it becomes a little too subtle, to the point where it loses sight of what it wanted to say in the first place. At one point, the film does try to say something about the duplicity and nastiness of human nature, and, it’s alright, whatever, but it seems out of place. Put it this way: I should never have to say that The Fifth Element did it better. The Fifth Element did a similar message in a much more better and entertaining way.

The Fifth Element: Great movie, or greatest movie?

I feel like it could’ve worked a lot better if, again, they had just made a movie about Chappie learning to be human, and not so much, y’know, what the movie turned out to be.

Overall: Chappie could’ve been great, and, when it’s potential shines through it’s pretty solid, but those moments are few and far between, and in the meantime, what we’re left with is mostly crap.

Rating: 4.5/10

“Well, you can bite me, fuck-mother.”

X-Men: Days of Future Past (Movie Review)

Personally, I just really wanna see more of this guy. What a boss.

Let’s face it folks: We live in an age of film where the only two superhero franchises that are really causing widespread debate are Marvel Studio’s Marvel Cinematic Universe, for all the right reasons, and Warner Bros. ‘ DC Cinematic Universe for, let’s say, less commendable reasons.

“Dawn of Justice”? Holy God.

Often lost in the discussion, however, is the X-Men film series from 20th Century Fox, especially after it faded from the public’s collective memory after the massive turd that was The Last Stand and the final nail in the coffin that was X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The series has been reestablishing itself, though, with a great origin story in X-Men: First Class and the likeable action movie that was The Wolverine. In 2013, a massive publicity campaign was launched for the next movie in the series, the $225 million dollar budgeted X-Men: Days of Future Past, which incorporates the original actors from the original trilogy and the newbies from First ClassHow did it work out? Well, at the very least, it ensured that Shawn Ashmore and Halle Berry remained employed for a bit.

 X-Men: Days of Future Past

Directed by: Bryan Singer

Produced by: Lauren Shuler Donner, Bryan Singer, Simon Kinberg, Hutch Parker

Screenplay by: Simon Kinberg

Story by: Simon Kinberg, Matthew Vaughn, Jane Goldman

Based on: Days of Future Past by Chris Claremont and Josh Byrne

Sequel to: X-Men: First Class, X-Men: The Last Stand, The Wolverine

Series: X-Men (Seventh installment)

Genre: Superhero

Starring: Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas  Hoult, Peter Dinklage, Evan Peters, Ellen Page, Halle Berry, Shawn Ashmore, Omar Sy,  Daniel Cudmore, Fan Bingbing, Booboo Stewart, Adam Canto, Josh Helman, Mark Camacho,                                                                                  Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen

Plot: The year: 2023. In this dystopian future, the mutants have been all but wiped out by murderous robots known as Sentinels, who were created in 1973 by a military scientist named Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage), whose Sentinel program was largely criticized by the American government until his assassination by rogue mutant insurgent Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), which convinced the people of the world to adopt it. After Mystique’s capture, her DNA was replicated for use by the Sentinels, who gained Mystique’s shape-shifting powers, making them into essentially the perfect mutant-hunting killers. After years of resistance , the only mutants left include Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), Magneto (Ian McKellen), Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page), who has the power to send another person’s consciousness back in time to deliver warnings.

Realizing that it’s not long before the Sentinels find their hideout in China and extinguish the mutants once and for all, he decides to send Wolverine back to 1973 in order to stop the assassination of Bolivar Trask from ever happening. In order to do so, Wolverine must team up with the younger version of the deceased Beast (Nicholas Hoult), the younger version of Magneto (Michael Fassbender) who has been incarcerated in the Pentagon as the suspected murder of President Kennedy, and the younger version of Charles Xavier, who, now jaded and cynical,  has shut down his X-Men and regained the use of his legs through the use of a serum, at the expense of his telekinetic powers.

I’ve gone on and on about how recent superhero movies have seemed to commit the same error of making themselves much more convoluted then they really need to be. Both of the superhero movies released this year prior to Days of Future Past (Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The Amazing Spider-Man 2) , while both at least enjoyable, suffered from this problem, although one of them definitely handled this problem a bit better than the other.

Can you guess which one?

And you’d assume that a movie like this one, involving time travel, of all things, would be no different. However you would be wrong. Stop being so presumptuous.

At no point did the film ever lose me through convoluted dialogue or sloppy editing. Nor was it full of elaborate, pretentious dialogue that requires constant hand-holding (Cough-cough. House of Cards). When you’re making a movie that features Wolverine beating the shit out of a bunch of dickheads, you don’t need to mix in a bunch of convoluted crap in to make it feel like the Dark Knight. This movie holds off on that, which is greatly appreciated. All you need to know about the rules of time travel in this universe is neatly explained right from the get-go.

The movie also maintains a crisp pace throughout its’ relatively short run-time of 130 minutes (Ten minutes shorter than the new Spider-man). I never got bored, or felt my mind wander as boring dialogue took over. The movie finds a nice balance between witty dialogue, dramatic exposition and kick-ass action scenes. Sure, it had the minimal amounts of superhero cheese, but hey, you’re not watching Dark Knight. A little bit of cheese every now and then isn’t going to kill you.

Well, not right away, anyways.

Speaking of the dialogue, the movie hits the perfect balance between dark and funny, with most of the humor being provided by Hugh Jackman (Once again excellent as everyone’s favourite Canadian rage-monster), who provides surprisingly well-done quips and banter. and Evan Peters, who easily steals the show as everyone’s favourite new  X-Man, Quicksilver. Peters, otherwise known for his roles in American Horror Story  and Kick-Ass (Before he wisely jumped the ship of the latter franchise) brings his knack for comic timing to the table, which works all too well with the character of Peter Maximoff, who ends up having what could possibly be one o the best scenes in the entire movie.

My one problem with the character of Quickilver is the way that he is left behind by Wolverine and his berry band o’ mutants once they’re done using him. Couldn’t they have used somebody who can move at light-speed? I feel like that would’ve been extremely useful.

As for the rest of the giant cast, there isn’t really a weak link among the bunch. Jackman and Peters are great before, as mentioned, and Booboo Stewart, Shawn Ashmore, Halle Berry, Ellen Page, Fan Bingbing and Omar Sy and company, while they may not have all that much lines, do what is required of them, which is, look cool in action scenes, and stand around stoically.  Patrick Stewart an Ian McKellen (Old Xavier and old Magneto) are great in their limited scenes in this movie, and Peter Dinklage does good work as Bolivr Trask even if I was a bit shaken by him using his natural American accent instead of the English one he uses in Game of Thrones.

The best performances in the movie, however, clearly belong to the characters returning from First Class. James McAvoy is downright fantastic as the cynical younger version of Charles Xavier, as is Michael Fassbender as the radical mutant idealist known as Magneto. The scenes between the two can be downright heartbreaking, as the two old friends continuously butt heads over their extreme ideological differences, but remain painfully aware of the bond they share as former brothers in arms.

Nicholas Hoult (Beast) is good as well, but his real-life girlfriend, Jennifer Lawrence is pretty damn great. Nobody’s gonna scream “Oscar” this time around, but she did a fine job considering that a) I didn’t find her too be that good in First Class and b) Her character, Mystique, is disappointingly one-note this time around, and basically serves as a plot device to move the story forward.

And hey, when it comes to one-note characters, you could do a lot worse than casting the most bankable movie star on planet Earth right now.


Overall: Side-stepping the many dangers that come with making a large-scale superhero movie like this, Days of Future Past is an action-packed, dark, and surprisingly funny film, and is comparable to The Avengers when it comes to sheer enjoyment level. It’s not exactly Dark Knight (The best superhero movie ever), and The Avengers is still superior in my mind, but hey, when Wolverine is tearing a bunch of punk-ass motherfuckers to shreds, who needs that “Why so serious” bullshit?

Rating: 9.5/10

And, for what it’s worth,  the Sentinels now top my list of movie robots to be fucking terrified of.