ByShannon McShortall, writer at
I have been reading comics since before I could read. When I learned how to read, they became significantly better.
Shannon McShortall

So, I just saw the Fantastic Four reboot film. So here’s my non-spoiler review of it. Be warned, this review may explode your minds with the pure controversy it has within it.

Right off the bat, I liked the film (dun dun DUNNNNN!!!!). It wasn’t fantastic, but I liked it. My money was not wasted on it and it was a good way to spend the day. I don’t regret watching it. When the film began, it was a killer film. It was setting up an intelligent, character driven film. It had all the makings of a great sci-fi film and this carried on for a large chunk of the film, but once Dr Doom appeared as his supervillain persona, that was when the film started to go downhill. It started rushing and the dialogue started becoming more expository. While there were some great moments, this part of the film (even though it was fairly small, due to the rushing) felt like the negative chunk of the film. It felt even worse when one realises that the preceding scenes had been quite great.

I feel like all the negative reviews are coming from close-minded people who go into this film wanting to hate it. The biggest argument against it is how far it’s straying from the comicbooks and Miles Teller (Reed Richards) fuelled this fire by saying in an interview that isn’t a typical superhero film. People wanted a comicbooky superhero film, and ironically that’s where it failed. The movie was going very well until the superheroics and comicbook nature had to be shoehorned into the ending. I’d assume that this was Simon Kinberg and Josh Trank buckling under the pressure. Throughout the film, I could see an underlying vision which the two obviously had from the very start, but with everyone complaining throughout its entire production, I feel like they felt a need to sacrifice this vision to somewhat cater to the audience, but this is where the film fails. That’s right! The “fans” made this film worse. It would have been a great sci-fi film if it hadn’t sacrificed itself briefly to the whims of its audience. If you walked into this film hating it, having hated it since it was first announced, and ended up not liking it, the only person to blame is yourself.

It was trying so hard to stray away from being a typical superhero film that it actually had a shorter runtime just to cater to that idea (since the typical superhero films these days are much longer than this). But enough with my little rant about “fans” ruining a film via pressuring writers, it’s time to move on to where the film succeeded and where it failed, besides the detraction that began with the arrival of Doom.

What this film did fantastically (pun intended) was body horror. There were some truly haunting images in this film. The scene where they first get their powers has some really creepy stuff. The audio and imagery in that scene is that of a really high quality sci-fi film. I felt flashes of ‘Alien’ throughout that particular scene. The film wasn’t afraid to be brutal. There were some deaths that were truly phenomenal in their brutality, especially by Doom. Doom’s twisted character felt different to anything we’d seen from the character before. He was brutal and menacing, if a little undeveloped. He was definitely a menace though. His powers were barely defined, but this made him even more mysterious for me personally. Before he becomes Doom, he’s a very cool and fun character as well. Harvey Elder is also a great secondary villain who gets a lot of good lines and scenes. If the sequel develops its villains more, it could deliver a truly great film.

The acting was pretty good and while some tension was left unresolved, the characters drove this film. Miles Teller as Reed Richards was a lot of fun to watch. His last few lines seemed to be explaining things unnecessarily, but before that, he was so much fun and a great character. Ben Grimm was tragic and really well acted by Jamie Bell. Kate Mara grows on you as Sue Storm and Michael B Jordan, while introduced later than the rest, is quite a fun character as well. There wasn’t much of a feeling of togetherness when they first became a proper team, but by the very end, you could feel it was there. The characters interacted well with each other, got a good chunk of development (considering the runtime) and the promise of more interactions in the sequel is a very exciting prospect.

If you’re obsessed with the Fantastic Four mythology, then this film will not appeal to you. It changes things up and those familiar with the origin of the Fantastic Four are constantly thrown off guard as to how a certain part of their origin will come to pass. The film is surprising and can genuinely shock with what it does with its characters.

The CGI was very hit-and-miss. Although it was more hit than miss. While delivering a lot of great effects, the Human Torch’s flames could be uncomfortable at times, but besides that, the effects were believable and fun. The suits also looked great.

I think a major problem about this film was the promotion. The actors undersold this film, or at least, it was changed to cater to fans. Victor Domashev ended up being good old Victor Von Doom, a reminder that this film only fell down because of a shoehorned superhero/comicbook vibe. Besides that, in the film Doom doesn’t do any hacking and he doesn’t have a blog. He’s the same genius he’s always been, but his origin hasn’t been changed that much.

There’s a lot of suggestion as to how events transpired, which I don’t mind, but a friend of mine who I went with (we had a fitting group of four) didn’t really like that, which he said was sort of like Man of Steel in that, in that film, the world was only suggested to be saved. It was merely an implication. Coincidentally, this film smashes past Man of Steel on so many levels (all four of us agreed) but Man of Steel is still getting a sequel which everyone is getting excited about. I think this film deserves a sequel to sort out its problems. To be fair, the film had a very hard job in trying to create a new way to look at superhero films and trying to cater to generic “fans”. It tried to do this by mixing it up, but this gamble barely paid off. A sequel could definitely fix that.

The pacing of the humour didn’t feel forced and the action was pretty good. The film was fun to watch and I feel like it was attempting to find a new take on the generic superhero film and while there were some faults, a sequel could definitely ease those creases out and the product that comes out could be truly fantastic. In this way, the film is truly like Batman Begins in tone and promise. If the film paves its own path and refuses to go along with the expectations of the fans, focusing more on its characters and the science fiction aspects of it, it’ll truly be an intelligent masterpiece. It's still a good film though. If you’re going to go see this film though, see it with an open mind. Don’t go in hating it already.

So, if I was to rate this out of 10...

7/10 (8 for effort)

Thanks for reading


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