Let me just cut the crap and say this - Josh Trank's re-imagination of Fantastic Four is not as bad as many have claimed. What's more, it does pose some interesting ideas, which are not fully formed or completed but the biggest problem of the movie isn't the characters or the approach. The big failure of the film, divided in three acts, is that it takes so much time in developing the origin story that by the time that all the pieces start falling into place... the movie has ended! Also, if Marvel hasn't been any good at delivering a great villain, neither does the Fantastic Four. That being said, let me tell you why Fantastic Four is not by any means the worst superhero film out there.
First of all we all know that cinema, like many other life aspects, is about taste, pleasure and perception. You may argue with all reason, that the Fantastic Four reboot is one of those films that shouldn't have happened and you also may be thinking after watching the movie (it's necessary for anyone to watch the film to omit a clear and valid opinion); didn't Fox learn anything from the previous FF movies?. But you know what? After all those Marvel movies belonging to its MCU, Fantastic Four is greatly welcomed. We all admire and recognize that Marvel has brought to life successful franchises, nevertheless at the end of Phase Two, it all seems repetitive to me. At least Trank and Co attempted something different. Wanna know what? Keep reading!
Make no mistake, Fantastic Four is way more a sci-fi movie than a superhero one. Instead of just using unnatural fantastic elements to develop the power of the heroes, Josh Trank kept them scientifically closed. That's the first intention of the film, to be grounded, very much like what singer did with the first X-Men (still, X-Men played a little bit more with the comic part). That's why we have the use of the military resources and government involvement in the teleporter project (which is a fine comment regarding the military application of scientific developments). And then, the movie stops being merely a sci-fi and enters the territory of horror and fantasy.
When Doom re-appears on screen (for all accounts, was he even necessary?) and he starts killing people, the way he does, it is cold, visceral and kind of scary. It is as if that part had been directed by David Cronenberg himself. The pace, the violence and shots resemble films like A History of Violence and The Fly. I challenge you to name one of Marvel superhero films in which you can actually see the violence inflicted in both villains and heroes that feels organically real. Fantastic Four does accomplish that task. There aren't simple bombastic explosions all over the place. You get to see the actual murder of the people. But what about the plot and the characters?
For a group of heroes like Fantastic Four, there's little of a family throughout the story. And that's the point. Unfortunately, none of the characters are fully formed, henceforth they end up being plain and unattractive. We don't have the chance to see Reed, Sue, Ben and Johnny growing up. The relationship between all of them is artificial and non-existent. Sue and Johnny only create a bond when his father dies but other than that there's no interaction at all between the step-brothers. On the other hand, Reed and Ben are best friends and we get to know why but as the movie progresses that story is radically cut. Even if you allege that Reed runs from his problems and leaves Ben, what do you think he's been doing while in exile? Didn't you notice he always cared about Ben? And finally, we arrive to the issue that detonates all the other problems: the plot.
Fantastic Four is a about the origin story and no more. But for a movie running one and a half hours it's a waste of time spending 45 minutes in telling us how things happen, yet it isn't completely pointless either. There's really no conflict in Fantastic Four and filmmaker Josh Trank seems to rely heavily in the audience's response towards the first half of the movie. And for those who haven't seen the film, I won't spoil it but the ending is a big WTF! All this time spent just for this? I won't even touch the special effects because those are passable. And don't start saying that the effects are lame because the fight between Thor and the Destroyer is far from being an example of breathtaking effects, if you consider the budget of the film.
Like it or not (I did like it), Fantastic Four is not a complete waste of your time. Even if you await to see it in Blu-Ray or On-Demand, you have to give it a try if you are to make a comment on it. Even if Josh Trank's film isn't a disgrace he feels disappointed with the result:
Could Trank's version have been better without the interference of the studio? We'll never know. But remember that unknown David Fincher who walked away before Alien 3 was finished? He's now one of the best filmmakers in the industry and who knows, Trank may follow in his footsteps. Besides, Trank has a lot of talent and he has proven that in Chronicle and the latest Fantastic Four reboot (even if the outcome doesn't engage with the audience). Have you seen Fantastic Four? What do think of it? Share your comments.