I finally had the chance to watch the new Fantastic Four movie. Now, this movie has had mostly negative reviews, but I thought I'd come at it from the view of a fan of Fantastic Four. I love the comics, they were my favourite until they were cancelled. Now, how does the new movie stack up?
1) Victor Von Doom
Above left we have the version from the movie. On the right we have the classic version of Dr. Doom from the comics.
Victor Von Doom from the movies is a scientist who failed to do the first time what Reed Richards did. Very smart, he then goes with Reed Richards, Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm to the other dimension. Through an accident, they then have to leave him behind. They believe him dead, but he was saved by some of the stuff on the planet that resonated with him. He has great powers, and the special effects to show them are very good. The acting is also quite good. That's putting aside that aesthetically they look very different. Still, Victor Von Doom is one of the saving graces of this movie.
2) Family Dynamics
Now I'm as much for equality as the next girl, and I think it's amazing they were able to give some representation. Traditionally though, these two were biological siblings. While it's fine to change that to adopted since origin stories change all the time, it would have been better had they explained a bit about how they came to be siblings. How is it that Sue was adopted? Work up to it, give us a bit more background. It would've made the story richer I think.
3) Origin Story
In the movie, they received their powers when they went into another dimension by an invention Reed had been working on since he was young. This origin story is actually true to a version of the comics. Ultimate Fantastic Four features a teenage Fantastic Four who received their powers that way. For that, I give the makers of this movie some respect at least.
4) Ben Grimm
Out of all the iterations in the movies, Ben Grimm has always been a problem for them to stay faithful to the idea. The Thing. The original's skin was more like dinosaur skin, but the idea has evolved (as they tend to) into a rock like skin. This is the version every movie seems to go with, it would've arguably been the perfect time to introduce the dinosaur hide in this movie. After all, they were visiting a planet still in its evolutionary stages. However, they made the decision they did and that's perfectly fine. In addition, the new Thing looked more like actual rock than ever before, a testament to improved special effects. If you're going to go with rock skin, then make it look really like rock after all.
My problem incurs with the human versions though. This is where I have problems with the new movie. In the original version, Ben Grimm was inducted into a gang like his brother. His brother was violent. Then his brother died, and after his father remarried a couple of times, Ben became an accomplished football player. He won an athletic scholarship to a university and roomed with Reed Richards, gradually becoming a NASA scientist. He truly was smart. In the Ultimate Fantastic Four comics, he was still a football player, although he'd been friends with Reed Richards before. He was visiting Reed when they got their powers.
My problem with the movie is this: they make Ben Grimm seem a total and utter idiot. He's a poor kid who got hit around by his brother, who only makes a small appearance even though in the comics the brother played a huge role. The family lives in the junkyard and Ben's father doesn't even make an appearance. He gives off the distinct impression of just being a lackey of Reed Richards, and he isn't even a high school football player, never mind an accomplished one. He also isn't in a gang. I mean, for that one good for Ben Grimm not getting in trouble, but REALLY.
The human version in the comics doesn't even share the same athletic buff build as the one in the movies. There is also next to no reason why Reed calls him so they can go through to the other dimension together. There is no friendship development between the two other than a small time in their garage, and then a fast-forward to a science fair where they fail together.
I hope that the script was bad. I really do on this front. If it wasn't, this movie could do for every actor here what Twilight did for Robert Pattison and Kristen Stewart, only without the huge fame. Nobody wants their careers killed, and it would genuinely be a shame if that happened. That being said, the acting in this movie was sub-par at very BEST.
There was very little emotional investment in the characters because at times they seemed rather stiff emotionally. Even while their lives where in danger, I could feel no real danger. I didn't feel afraid or sad for the characters. Victor Von Doom fell to his death and my emotions were just like 'eeeh'. That is not something an actor should be evoking from an audience when their character is dying. At the finale, when Reed was struggling, I could still feel very little emotion for them.
The one person who showed the emotions I expected from them was Sue Storm. I already knew Kate Mara was a good actress, but she wasn't just acting. She WAS Sue Storm. What she did was exactly what Sue would do. I know this with complete certainty because Sue was my favourite character and I looked up to her. In fact, for the good portrayal of Sue, I was very happy with this movie. Previous movies haven't done her justice. She was mostly seen as simply Reed Richards' wife, and that simply isn't true since she is a brilliant scientist and superheroine in her own right. So for that, I applaud Kate Mara. From the depths of my heart, I thank her for finally giving Sue the portrayal she deserved.
Now most die-hard fans would probably become very angry on seeing the outfits since they are nothing like the original ones from the comics. However, I like them. There are two reasons for my thinking. One is that they make sense since the four don't decide on their team name until the very end of the movie. The second reason is that the original outfits are very corny. They are the reason that as a teenager I hesitated to read the comics. I figured heroes with those lame outfits couldn't possibly have good plotlines. I started by reading Ultimate Fantastic Four because their outfits weren't as bad. I was wrong about the plotlines being bad, but the point remains: how many potential fans has that ill fashion sense chased away?
Although it had its good points, this movie was very disappointing and okay at very best. I was hopeful until the end. I wished for a Fantastic Four movie to truly do my favourite team justice, but it was to no avail. There is a reason why it received so many ill reviews.