Opening August 13, 2015
Directed by: Josh Trank
Writing credits: Jeremy Slater, Simon Kinberg, Josh Trank
Principle actors: Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell, Toby Kebbell, Reg E. Cathey, Time Blake Nelson
After a rather lackluster two movies from the early 2000s, there was much hope that this time the beloved superhero team the Fantastic Four would finally get the movie they deserved. Unfortunately for everyone involved, this latest outing for the team makes no strides towards improving. It is mediocre, clichéd, and boring which leaves much to be desired.
Fantastic 4 is a reboot origin story of the team, who are now younger and more unrealistic than ever before. Reed Richards (Tellers) is a young genius who, through years of experimenting in his garage with his unremarkable and wooden friend Ben (Bell), has discovered a way to send objects through space and make them return. The returning part is news to Dr. Franklin Storm (Cathey) and his stodgy daughter Sue (Mara) who have been working on the problem for quite some time. Storm immediately recruits Reed to join them in their fancy institute of scientific discoveries. No one seems to think there’s any problem with having teenagers create a trans-dimensional device, and in fact Dr. Storm even brings in the unstable Victor Von Doom (Kebbell), whose name is foreshadowing to the extreme, to complete the team. Mix in a greedy corporate head (Blake Nelson), Dr. Storm’s troublemaking, but genius son Johnny (Jordan), and teens being teens to create a perfect storm for terrible decision making which leads to disaster.
The problem with Fantastic 4 is its absolute mediocrity. It is watchable and no worse than some other films that came out earlier this year (Taken 3 and Jupiter Ascending, I’m looking at you), but considering how little it had to do to be better than its predecessors is what really makes it a bomb. Fantastic Four (2005) and its sequel Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007) are renowned as being terrible films which were too boring and childish to be worthwhile. With the plethora of examples of good comic book movies out there right now, it seemed a given that Fantastic 4 (2015) could only be an improvement. Instead, the audience is regaled with Dr. Storm giving over-the-top and clichéd speeches, a villain who has literally no motivation for being evil, and main characters, who have about as much depth as glasses of water. One has to wonder what the screenwriters were thinking. The first half of the film is a boring lead-up to the team gaining their powers, then there is another useless quarter of the film where we learn nothing else about the characters at all, we just see them using their powers and being vaguely emotional. It is only in the last half hour that anything actually happens and honestly, none of it really makes any sense. The cherry on top is that the special effects, the cornerstone of any superhero film, are completely underwhelming. What is left is a stale film with very little to recommend it. Even the actors don’t seem to want to be there. Fantastic 4 is anything but fantastic. Do not waste your time or money. ( )