By Nico Beland
Movie Review: F (1 star)
20TH CENTURY FOX AND MARVEL ENTERTAINMENT
We all remember the Fantastic Four, whether it’s the original Marvel Comics or animated Saturday morning cartoons, or even the original live action films directed by Tim Story, and I’m sure we all made fun of those movies, right?
Anyway, back in July 2005, the first Fantastic 4 movie was released in theaters and while it did well at the box office, critics and nerds responded negatively about the film. I was 11 when the film came out, and I kind of liked it back then but it wasn’t a movie I thought about that much, probably because it came out the same summer and year as Batman Begins and Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.
Sadly I got to know most of the Marvel superheroes from their movies and reading the comics to get me hyped for the film’s release. From great Marvel movies like The Avengers, X-Men, and Spider-Man to failed attempts like Elektra, Punisher: War Zone, and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.
But the negative reviews for the first film didn’t stop the sequel to get released, Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer, released in 2007 and was the only Marvel movie with its branding label to receive a PG MPAA rating. This one was a little better than the first one, it had a stronger plot and the Silver Surfer was pretty fun to watch, but again, didn’t think about the film much because of other summer 2007 movies like Spider-Man 3, Transformers, and The Simpsons Movie.
So now eight years later after the release of Rise of the Silver Surfer, director Josh Trank (Chronicle) steps in to reboot the franchise. When I first heard they were rebooting the Fantastic 4 I honestly didn’t know how to feel about it, while I enjoyed other reboots like Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy or Mark Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man, I pretty much had no expectations with this movie, the trailer didn’t really sucker me in all that much and I just said “Eh, maybe it’ll be good, I don’t know!” that and all my eyes were drawn towards Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man, NOTHING ELSE MATTERED!
But since I am a long time supporter of film releases of Marvel superheroes, I went to one of my local theaters, sat down and watched it…and it BORED ME and followed pretty much NOTHING from the original comics, I have a whole new appreciation for Tim Story’s Fantastic 4 movies, comparing them to this movie makes the 2005 Fantastic 4 movie look like Spider-Man 2, confused? Well, perhaps after I describe the plot, you’ll understand where I’m coming from.
Ever since he was a boy, brilliant mind, Reed Richards (Miles Teller-The Spectacular Now, Divergent, Whiplash) has been exploring the universe in his garage after school every day. After he succeeds in a scientific breakthrough at his school’s science fair, he is offered a scholarship to work at the Baxter Foundation, directed by Professor Franklin Storm (Reg E. Cathey-The Mask, House of Cards, Grimm).
Once Reed and his best friend, Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell-Billy Elliot, Jumper, The Adventures of Tintin) make it to Baxter they meet Franklin’s daughter, Susan Storm (Kate Mara-We Are Marshall, 127 Hours, Transcendence), Franklin’s son, Johnny Storm (Michael B. Jordan-Chronicle, That Awkward Moment, The Boondocks), and computer technician and scientist, Victor Von Doom (Toby Kebbell-Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes).
So the five of them collaborate on building a machine that can teleport organisms and objects to another dimension, codenamed Planet Zero. When Reed, Ben, Johnny, and Victor teleport themselves to Planet Zero, they get attacked by a powerful substance that gives each of them special powers, and after they arrive back to Earth, the impact of the teleportation blast affects Susan as well.
So the substance gives them super powers, Reed Richards has the power of elasticity, Susan Storm can turn people and objects invisible and project forcefields, Johnny can set himself on fire, throw fireballs, and fly, just by simply saying “Flame On”, Ben has been transformed into a rocky monster that has super strength, and Victor has been transformed into an electric powered, power hungry supervillain called Doctor Doom, who plans to plunge the Earth into Planet Zero.
So Reed, Susan, Johnny, and Ben become Mr. Fantastic, The Invisible Woman, The Human Torch, and The Thing, better known as the Fantastic Four to stop Doctor Doom before the world is destroyed.
Yeah I know what you’re probably thinking now, this sounds nothing like the 2005 Fantastic 4 movie or the Fantastic Four comic books, and you’d be right. They didn’t even attempt at a Fantastic Four movie, the origin story is changed, The Human Torch is now an African-American (I’m personally not against this but it doesn’t make sense with the story), the actors seem too young to portray the characters, the acting and script is extremely wooden, which is a shame because the actors who play the characters are very talented in other films, it’s mostly the script that’s the problem, and the film is extremely lacking in action, there’s only ONE superhero battle throughout the entire movie, the rest is just buildup and poor development.
Whether you like or hate the previous Fantastic 4 movies, at least it’s an attempt, the actors looked like the characters, they had more action, and the characters are developed, and most of all they weren’t dull or boring, this on the other hand is and it fails as a comic book movie, now is it the worst Marvel movie ever made? Probably not, I still think Howard the Duck is the worst, but this is at least the worst with the Marvel label on it, this pretty much makes Elektra, Punisher: War Zone, and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance look like good movies and it really saddens me that a decent director and a talented cast, and even producer Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class, Kingsman: The Secret Service) could end up with such a boring mess.
And sadly we have a sequel coming along, let’s hope it’s better, because as of right now, Fantastic Four is a “Fantastic Bore”. If you want a great Marvel Comics movie from Fox, wait until Deadpool, X-Men: Apocalypse, and The Wolverine 3, Marvel, buy the film rights back for Fantastic Four from 20th Century Fox and reboot it properly either as a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, ABC TV series, or a Netflix series, I can guarantee they would do a much better job with it than these guys.