Wow. What a mess. Fantastic Four, or stylised as Fant4stic, is without a doubt one of the worst films of 2015. I understand there was a lot of controversy and problems with the production but it’s no excuse for the final product. I can’t believe this film was given the green light considering the lacklustre quality in all departments, it just goes to show what companies will do for rights, it is beyond me.
The original Fantastic Four films starring Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba and Chris Evans weren’t exactly beacons of shining light, they had some charm to them but the characters and story were about as wobbly as Mr. Fantastic's elasticated arms. The special effects were fine back then but now they’ve considerably withered away as time has gone on. You would think at least some effort would’ve gone into this reboot, and looking at the amazing cast (Kate Mara, Miles Teller, Jamie Bell and Michael B. Jordan) hope would be cast upon the doubters. But even these talented stars can’t boost Fant4stic above mediocrity.
So the story sees a science experiment gone wrong, exposing five kids with a dose of energy that leaves them with weird powers. They realise they can use these powers for good, until one of them decides to destroy the world. We’ve heard that story before, we’ve seen it done better and bigger and with interesting story arcs, but Fant4stic chooses to stick to that thinly written narrative, opting for attempts at character development and very little superhero action. Literally, there is about five minutes of vapid, uninteresting action that has zero tension and no peril for the characters, not that you’d care anyway. The special effects are very poor, green screen is gapingly obvious in the majority of effects orientated scenes and the environments looks unfinished, add that together alongside unconvincing superpower effects and you’ve got a cheap looking film. None of that is helped by boring costume design, nothing stands out, let’s just say I highly doubt any cosplayers will be going as the new Fant4stic team anytime soon.
Josh Trank has no direction or style. In his last film Chronicle, which was superb, he delivered a gritty, dark and tense found footage adventure that still thrills me today, so I get the feeling his heart was never in the project, and that maybe the studios had interfered immensely. You can’t lump all the blame in him though. The cinematography is some of the worst I’ve seen, worse than Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem. Murky shots are apparent throughout, framing is all over the place and the lack of thought is heightened by the appalling lighting, it genuinely feels like someone has dumped the odd light around a room and said that’ll do. Even with high quality viewing and appropriate lighting in my room, the majority of interior shots are barely visible when characters are interacting. With a forgettable soundtrack, no sense of grand scale or even the wonder and awe of most modern superhero flicks, Fant4stic is a majorly dull affair.