“Fantastic Four” (2015) Review: Awful. Just Awful.
“Fantastic Four” is the reboot no one asked for, but one Fox had to have in order to keep Marvel from getting back the rights to all the characters. However, I WAS looking forward to this based on the talent involved: Director Josh Trank had just surprised me with “Chronicle,” there was an incredible cast assembled, and the production team were the people behind “X-Men: Days of Future Past” and some other hits. What Went So Wrong!!!
You could start almost anywhere with this train-wreck of a ‘film,’ but I’m going with the cast. Maybe it’s the writer/director’s fault, but none of the cast members brought ANYTHING to their characters. At any point in this you could have changed any of their character names, and no one would know it had happened. Everything about them was so plain jane, and that’s saying a lot since every single member of this cast is capable of so much more. When it feels like the only person trying is the ‘evil government guy’ played by Tim Blake Nelson…you know you have a problem. I expected something halfway decent from the likes of: Michael B. Jordan (“Fruitvale Station”), Kate Mara (“House of Cards”), Toby Kebbel (Koba in “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”), Jamie Bell (AMC’s “Turn”) and Miles Teller (“Whiplash”), but none of them delivered.
Now, this IS the writer/director’s fault. The characters were VERY poorly developed, and they had zero chemistry with one another. With exception to a few lines of throwaway dialogue, at least half the characters get no backstory or development of any kind. Now, I was ALL FOR the casting of Michael B. Jordan in the typically white Johnny Storm role, and I thought it would add an amazing family dynamic to have Sue Storm be adopted, but they barely even talk about it. It’s like they only did it to stir up controversy, and bring attention to the film during production. At one point they mention that Sue Storm, who was an orphaned immigrant refugee from Kosovo (they mention this once without explanation), had it easier growing up than Johnny did because she’s white. There’s no purpose to this being in there, especially when you never show or talk about ANY of Johnny Storm’s backstory, and all it does is stir up trouble and discontent in the audience for no reason. I also want to mention that the cast is supposed to be 19 in this…just out of High School…so that’s just the start of the writing issues.
The film spends at least half of its run time creating the same teleporting machine three different times, in three different forms, and using a lot of fake science talk that is beyond dumb and ridiculous. You don’t have to be a genius to know that you can’t transmit video and sound instantaneously to another dimension…at least not without some form of explanation. Add to this example of bad writing that there are multiple plot holes and unexplained things. For example: When they go to the other dimension, several times throughout the story, they never once show or explain that it somehow leaves open a ‘door’ until they go back, but then at the end when it’s convenient to the plot our heroes are able to just fly through this unexplained open doorway, that had never been seen before, without space suits that they all needed the whole film until this moment.. Another example is how Sue Storm has to, all movie, hold her breath to use her powers, but then in the end she is using them and having conversations with people. The list goes on and on.
Now we get to the end, which actually has a pretty bad-ass sequence in it. This is the only high point, but it’s also a low point. Our main villain, Doom, shows up in the last 15 minutes, after being gone THE ENTIRE FILM, and without explanation just starts killing people, but in a pretty awesome way. I presume to assume to know his motivation, but it is NEVER explained outside of ‘my world is better than yours.’ However, we get a cool five minutes of our heroes using their powers, they basically don’t the ENTIRE movie, and in typical Marvel movie fashion (despite this being Fox) the villain is dispatched with ease. Our heroes use powers in a way that was never explained, or wouldn’t be possible (Johnny Storm being on fire makes him invulnerable?), and they zip off to safety through an Ex Machina back door through space and time.
“Fantastic Four” is beyond bad. It spits in the face of everyone that watches it, and it seems like, during interviews, you can tell the cast knows this. This was a lame and desperate attempt by Fox to maybe make a little money, but more importantly, keep the rights to the First Family of Marvel to themselves. This was an hour and forty minutes of setup for what could be a decent sequel, but it’s never going to happen at this point. The cast brought nothing to their roles, the studio stirred up controversy in casting and never used that to benefit the characters/story, the writing was weak and offered no character/plot development, the direction was weaker, and there isn’t enough time to explain what else was wrong. Do us all a favor, and don’t see this in theaters. If you really want to see how bad this is wait until it’s on Netflix or basic cable, that way you wont be supporting this Fox cash grab. 1/5