Yesterday, I went to the local movie theater to go and see the Fantastic Four. Although I knew that this movie was getting torched by everyone and everything who has seen it, I decided to see it. To be honest, the reason for seeing it was not because I overly wanted to watch this movie; it was because my friend made a ridiculous statement about the movie beforehand so we had to suffer through it. Since I used the word “suffer” in that previous statement, I am sure that you will be able to tell that I did not like this movie. You would be correct in that assumption. Fantastic Four was one of the worst movies I have ever seen. During the movie, I felt as if my money would have been better utilized by flushing it down the toilet at home. It made me sad as a movie fan to watch this abomination of an art, especially during the highs of the superhero era in cinema. Since I am not the first to rip on this movie (or the last), I will try to put a unique spin on this review; attempt to point out things that critics would not necessarily talk about in their reviews.
The major problem with this movie is that nothing happens. Normally, origin stories for superheroes produce the worst movies since the audience has to witness the events that led up to the man/woman/team to throw on a suit and fight baddies. The sequel is the better movie because the plot can jump immediately into the action and conflict rather than set up Uncle Ben dying for the third time (Marvel, please do not make us watch that again!) Fantastic Four had that already working against it. However, these characters have two points that could allow their origin story to actually be good. First, the way they receive their powers is one of the more interesting backstories for comic book characters. It might be a little cheesy or outrageous, however, the potential for providing a solid origin story is there with the source material. Secondly, their villain is one of the best comic book villains. The first encounter that these heroes face is against someone who should provide a solid challenge and push them to their limits. This movie fails to do anything successful with that. Instead, almost all of the hour and forty minute runtime of the movie is used for bad dialogue and poor set ups that have no pay-off in the end. There is about 5 minutes of action in the entire movie, and I honestly think that is a slight exaggeration. The movie is one giant set up rather than a solid movie with a continuous plot that finalizes in an epic encounter.
As I mentioned in the introduction, I could go on to discuss how the movie’s dialogue was a joke, the actors seemed to have zero chemistry between them, and other movie flaws, but I would rather address those in the bullet points of thoughts that I normally do. Instead, let me talk about how this movie felt like the plots from the previous two Fantastic Four movies squeezed together. I understand that the source material might have something to do with that, however, there are probably thousands of comic books based off these characters that they could choose from, why do audiences need to see the same failing ideas with a different cast and director? The two specific plot points that reminded me of the previous two movies were Reed Richards trying to fix the problem (specifically the Thing) and Victor Von Doom brought into a situation to solve someone else’s situation, which ultimately leads him to becoming the villain. Both of those subplots were used in this movie, in a way that felt (at least to me) too close to the previous movies. There needs to be something there that separates this movie from the ones that bombed as well. Would fixing this boost this movie up out of horribleness? Probably not, but it would at least help not remind audiences that Fox cannot avoid committing the same mistakes.
Fox is demonstrating that they are unable to keep up with Marvel in making these comic book flicks. Outside of Days of Future Past (which I did not overly enjoy either but it did well outside of myself) and X-Men 2, Fox has floundered in comparison. Maybe that is an unfair comparison since they only have the rights to two properties, but the counter argument is that Fox has the second most popular Marvel hero (Wolverine) and two outstanding villains to work with (Magneto and Dr. Doom). While they have done great justice to Magneto, Wolverine has floundered at times (especially in his solo movies) and Dr. Doom will be addressed in the next paragraph. The material they have is good enough to produce a plethora of quality flicks. Not every single movie will be a gem, but the majority could be versus how it is currently. Superhero fatigue could happen soon with movies like the Fantastic Four where people leave feeling personal attacked for two hours. That attacked then becomes linked to the entire genre rather than specifically at that movie (if repeated over and over), which begins to lead the casual movie goer away from seeing Ant-Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Dr. Strange. Eventually that fatigue will set in naturally, but Fox part of the reason that might be occurring early.
One of my personal favorite villains in comics is Dr. Doom. From his name to his powers, the man is formidable adversary and could produce a critically acclaimed performance out of the actor who plays him. Thus far, Dr. Doom has not been done right at all. While thankfully this movie did not have Doom as the rumored character that was leaked (Victor Doomashev, the online hacker), the character was dry and lacked the strength that the comic book character demands. Now, Doom did have the best part of the movie where he is walking through the halls exploding people’s minds. That scene made him look unstoppable, which is how the character should be portrayed. But then that changed about three minutes after he creates the black hole. Instead of dispatching the superhero group as he did everybody else (because the plot needed him to stop), he is defeated by the slowest punching Mr. Fantastic and a distraction plan. Selling punches as if he were a wrestler for the WWE, Doom stays down after measly being punched a couple of times and throw down long enough for the group to plan their attack. To quickly address the “battle,” it was similar to a fight at the end of a children’s cartoon show where it needs to wrap up immediately rather than having an epic encounter that should happen. Doom’s character goes from being this sadistic killer to an imbecilic who decides to use the nonlethal powers he has to prevent the group from spoiling his plan. There are better ways to have him defeated rather than a simple distraction routine. Then to top it all off, they kill him! There is a planned sequel, apparently Fox wants to join the Fantastic Four to the X-Men, would Dr. Doom not be a great villain to keep around for that? Is Christopher Nolan the only man who believes that a villain can be utilized more than once? Even with contracts and actors having other projects, there can still be a plan to keep the villain alive! Dr. Doom would be perfect to keep around for multiple movies. He is that good of a villain where it is believable that he can always return to try rule the world, kill the Fantastic Four, or something.
Since I do not want to rant about this movie for forty pages (which would be long enough to qualify for my senior research project), here are my thoughts during the movie:
• So according this movie, the Thing says “it’s clobbering time” because his brother would say it before slapping him a couple of times.
• Wow, we could have skipped the entire part of the Reed and Ben being in fifth grade. That is ten minutes of movie and my life wasted.
• How does Reed’s fifth grade teacher have the authority to be judging a high school science fair?
• Sue is with father, Johnny nowhere to be seen, $20 says there will be something about the unloved biological child versus the prized adapted one.
• Wait, Ben does not go to the university with Reed, so how does he get the chance to go into the pod? I hope they do not have Reed pull “well he is my friend so he has to go.”
• Are we honestly supposed to believe that Reed and Sue will ever be a couple? The onscreen chemistry is simply not there.
• Doom reminds me of Joey’s roommate from Friends after Chandler moves out. Personality and all.
• Are we also supposed to believe that their will any real tension between Johnny, Sue, and Reed with Victor? The setup is not there, well maybe not yet.
• Bored, bored, bored, bored, slump further into my seat, bored, bored, bored
• I wish I had more popcorn, this bucket is empty. Oh look, they’re done making the transporter. Can they transport more popcorn into my bucket? Eh, eh?
• If the chimp dies, I’m leaving.
• The chimp lives! It’s a success! Clearly there is no reason to wait a while to study the chimp to guarantee nothing bad happened to him before sending humans over. I mean, what is the worst that can happen…. Oh wait.
• Government people have to be liars and bad guys because why would anyone trust the government?
• Ugh, they seriously used the “well he’s my friend” so Ben could travel and get transformed into the Thing
• So is there is only four pods and all the guys are going, how does Sue get her powers?
• Now I might not be the scientific type, but if the ground around me is shifting with green goo underneath, I’m not exploring.
• There are three other people in the same room as Sue, and two are on their computers as well, yet she is the only one to receive the notification that the pod left? Seriously?
• Doors close perfectly fine, but since the plot needs the characters to logically receive their powers, doors must open!
• Okay, so Ben’s pod filled with rocks, Johnny’s caught on fire, which explains what happened to them. But, was Reed in the laffy taffy machine while he was being teleported back?
• So Sue becomes invisible because she was in the same room?
• Man, that one year of the Thing kicking ass and taking names could have been fun to watch, instead, they chose to bore us with Johnny and Sue arguing over using their powers
• World’s weakest looking head-butt takes out the slowest Mr. Fantastic ever
• Giant zit in interrogation room magically disappears in a short walk to the observation room for the teleporter
• Do they expect anyone to be surprised that Doom is still alive on that planet?
• Gee, I wonder if Doom is going to kill anything that walks when he returns… Yup!
• Okay, so they made Doom look incredibly powerful, so how are they going to ruin all of that setup so he can be defeated
• Oh okay, Doom fries and explodes everybody’s head to instant death, but dad is allowed to live for a few seconds to offer words of encouragement
• Don’t forget “with great power come great responsibility”
• What is the point of creating the black hole if he has the teleporter? After the devastation that Doom caused during his return, I cannot imagine that they would try to return to his planet. The need for the black hole is purely so that Fantastic Four can go do something in this movie
• The effect of seeing friends in peril is enough for Reed to figure out how to control his stretching without supporters. A year in South America, nah that is not enough. But friends in peril, light bulb!
• WWE should hire Doom to wrestle, he would put almost everybody over. The man can explode heads, but can be knocked down for a while after Mr. Fantastic’s slow-motion punch
• Why would Fox decide to kill Doom!
• All of this feels like filler for the end of the movie
• I am at a loss for words on how the characters “thought up” the name Fantastic Four, probably the worst piece of dialogue from any movie this year
This movie deserves every bit of that 9% that is currently has on Rotten Tomatoes. Personally. I would give this movie a solid 3.5%, only because of the Dr. Doom hallway scene. This movie is a colossal failure, in every way, shape, and form. The rights for these characters should go to Disney-Marvel, hands down. Do they deserve another shot at a featured film? I believe so. Should they make another featured film for the Fantastic Four? Honestly, no they should not. These characters are now recognizable enough to where they could be thrown into the current Marvel storyline and not miss a beat. Either way, Fox needs to lose the property rights to the Fantastic Four before people hate the superhero team.