The Fantastic Four.
Marvel’s Original family/team of superheroes.
One of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s most beloved creations.
This movie that Fox created by running along and jumping on the Marvel success band-wagon…
They missed the wagon and fell flat on their gluteus maximus, maximuses, maximi… whatever… butts.
I haven’t been this disappointed in a hero movie since the 1991 Captain America movie.
Go back and look at my reviews here at LTBM and you’ll see I am a movie fan and I am usually pretty kind to films. I am also a huge comic book genre nerd and have enjoyed the cinematic experiences that I have had the past decade+, including a 20 hour Marvel cinematic marathon with my very loving, supportive, and patient wife while sitting next to a large over thirty guy holding and waving small toy Thor hammer.
Some things I liked about the film.
1) Some changes: A childhood connection. Movies take liberties all the time. It’s a dangerous path to go down when you are dealing with comic fans. Drastic changes have been welcomed at timed and completely shunned others. (example: From 1963 to 2000 Nick Fury was a white guy. In 2001, he became Samuel L Jackson. Accepted by comic fans. Versus Deadpool is a smart-mouthed vigilante and becomes a no-mouth, no-eyelid thing with blades coming out of his arms in Wolverine Origins and gets obliterated by fans.)
For me, looking at an origin where Reed Richards and Ben Grimm are actually childhood friends was a smart move. I’ve never bought the old college pals story, because Reed was a lab genius and Grimm was a muscle bound bruiser. Then they simply fly off into space together. In the movie they give us a nice back story showing Reed’s hyper-intelligence from a young childhood and Ben’s protective nature of him. This works for me. [Some I know disagree with this, but I for one enjoyed it.]
A character of “color”. Comics has had a limited number of characters that are Black, Hispanic, Asian, etc from their creation. I didn’t mind Fury becoming a black man in 2001. I didn’t understand the need for it, but I liked seeing that move. Johnny Storm is a black man in this film. This doesn’t phase me at all. Michel B Johnson is a good actor and his color doesn’t affect the character to me. I like the adoption angle they go with to explain the differences in the siblings.
2) The cast is a group of people that I truly enjoy.
3) I liked the idea where the story was going. A teleportation device is created. A tragedy happens over there. Their powers are gained that way.
4) The special effects for The Torch and Mr. Fantastic were comic book spot on.
That’s it. That is pretty much all I liked about this movie.
Going back to my point 2 of things I liked. Fox picked a great group of actors that had no chemistry together what-so-ever. Their characters fell totally flat. Reed Richards gets self-absorbed in all of his work and barely takes notice of anyone; however in this movie he wants to be noticed by everyone.
Reed and Sue is the longest love story in Marvel history, and yet they got two actors that had as much romantic chemistry as a toaster in a bathtub full of water. Sue is to be the level head and compassion of the group and yet I don’t feel like Kate Mara cares about a single person she is with, including her adopted father and brother. Johnny is a daredevil, thrill seeker, smart-aleck that is brave enough to lead the team and yet the only thrill seeking Michael B Jordan does is car racing, he’s scared of heights, and he isn’t a smart-aleck, he’s just disrespectful to his father. Then you have the muscles, the big guy, the protector of the group, Ben Grimm. I didn’t buy Jamie Bell as a protector any more than I would buy into Barney being one. Finally, the conceited, arrogant, highly intelligent, sophisticated, and you will follow my lead Victor Von Doom is played by an alternative music, long haired, quiet Toby Kebbell. There’s a constant rival with great admiration between Richards and Doom in the Marvel world. In this film, there’s just blah.
This was a hot mess of great talent that did not work well together AT ALL!
Going Back to my 3rd point of likes. The story. I liked the direction of the story. However, it was like they fired a self-guided missile and forgot to turn on the tracking component. There were so many gaps in the story. Why would seniors in high school be competing at a junior high science fair? Why would a Dr. Franklin suddenly show up at this particular junior high science fair where these two seniors are presenting their experiment? Why is Doom a recluse? Why is the world dying? There is gap, after gap, after gap. I believe the writer had ADD (NOT making fun of anyone here, I’ve struggled with ADHD my entire life… I’ve actually written this while doing 12 others things) and wrote down every thought and idea and then never completed them.
Finally, my fourth point: Special Effects.
When Johnny flames on, he looks awesome. It reminds me of the comics. I’m good with it. Probably my favorite effect in the whole film. Second favorite is watching Reed fight. It’s what the first 2 films were missing. In the Comics, Reed was like a quick slinky rubber-band type guy that could flip and flop around any obstacle. I enjoyed these scenes where they showed Reed in action.
That’s it faithful readers. The rest was bunk. My Tope 5 irritants
#5 I did not like the way Reed looked stretched out on the tables and such. When you stretch a rubber band, it becomes thinner. They stretched him and made his appendages wider. It looked distorted. Not in an extra-long sort of way… but wider and bulkier sort of way.
#4 Landing on the other planet ready to fight Doom had to be one of the worst CGI sets I have seen in a movie in a very long time.
#3 Sue’s Powers. They simply stopped recording and took her off set. Come-On people! If you are going to do a Fantastic Four film you have to read a comic. Yes, there should be some scenes where you don’t know she is there at all. But at times you have to see the “ghost”/translucent image of her; it is part of the charm that is Invisible Woman. They simply had her there and then gone like a light switch turning off and on. [ALSO… Her hair color kept sporadically changing throughout the movie.]
#2 The Thing looks Dumb, with a capital D. In the first 2 films I felt like he looked too much like a suit. However, this is just too much CGI. His eyes don’t even line up. They needed to mix the two together. I can’t buy that this creation is the best they could do for a couple of million dollars for The Thing.
#1… They DESTROYED Doom! They took one of the most iconic Marvel villains and totally obliterated him. Dr. Doom wears a metal uniform due to scars. Doctor Doom knows sorcery and is a genius. Dr. Doom wants to rule the world. The creation that they came up with for this film is NOT Dr. Doom. A glowing green mummy inside of a clear plastic shell that wants to destroy the world. He goes around and causes people to blow up internally. His character took what was a not so good movie for me and totally ruined it.
Final notes, Stan Lee is NOT in the film, there is nothing after the credits (It’s not an actual Marvel Studios movie after all), there’s very little humor and what humor there is doesn’t make you laugh. It’s dark. It’s depressing. It’s not worth the money you spend on a theatre ticket.
It’s 2 Stars.
My advice: Wait until it comes out on instant watch on Netflix and watch it while your folding your laundry, grading papers, or doing something else so you don’t feel like you wasted your time.