Fantastic Four - Fantastic Failure

Matthew Parkinson | 7 Aug 2015 12:00
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Fantastic Four is a bad movie, an awful superhero movie, and a terrible way to restart a franchise.

The leader of the group is Reed Richards (Miles Teller), who was recruited right out of high school, because he built a miniature teleporter with scrap metal. Sue Storm (Kate Mara) is good at analyzing patterns, a skill that comes in handy precisely once. Johnny Storm (Michael B. Jordan) can build things pretty well. Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell) is there ... because he was in the comics, I guess. Their superpowers, in order: elasticity, invisibility/force fields, fire, rock monster. I just did in a paragraph what it took Fantastic Four almost 90 minutes to do. You're welcome.

There's almost nothing to like about Fantastic Four. They've taken a "gritty" approach to the reboot, which basically just means the lighting's a bit darker and there are only a few jokes. It's not "fun," is what I'm saying - although if it had good action or characters, one could still derive entertainment from it, which is something I couldn't figure out a way to do, mostly because it's devoid of both of those things. The character designs are poor, especially those of the villain and Grimm. The lackluster-at-best CGI doesn't help matters. The actors are here for a paycheck, and it's painfully easy to tell their lack of enthusiasm. It's so boring that it would be difficult to hate if it wasn't for the cynical reason that it exists at all. But for that reason, it's worth the disdain.

Josh Trank directed Fantastic Four, and if you recognize his name, it's probably because he also directed Chronicle, another movie about young people getting superpowers. That film was hampered by its found-footage cinematography, but at least watching its characters use their new-found powers was entertaining. Teenagers would, after all, probably just goof around for a while as they discover the limitations of their powers. If he had brought some of that creativity and energy to Fantastic Four, perhaps it would have turned out differently. But there's no creativity or energy here. It's devoid of anything but obligatoriness. It exists because a contract demands it.

Fantastic Four is a bad movie, an awful superhero movie, and a terrible way to restart a franchise. If it was supposed to get us interested in the Fantastic Four, it's a failure. But it doesn't want to do that. Fox needed to make a movie to keep the rights to the property; if it also makes some money, that's almost a bonus. It's boring, lazy, uninspired, and one of the least action-packed superhero movies ever.

Bottom Line: Fantastic Four is a movie made for cynical reasons. It has no intention of being good and didn't magically turn into something worthwhile.

Recommendation: Giving money to Fantastic Four will keep Fox interested in keeping the rights. Skip it and pray that they return to Marvel at some point in the near future.


If you want more of Matthew "Marter" Parkinson, you can follow him on the Twitter @Martertweet and check out his weekly movie podcast.

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