Fantastic Four (2015)
dir. Josh Trank
written by: Jeremy Slater, Simon Kinberg, Josh Trank
starring: Kate Mara, Miles Teller, Michael B Jordan, Jamie Bell, Toby Kebbell
0.5 out of 4 stars
Note: Yes, I know that’s from the old one.
Superhero glut invaded cinemas in the early aughts. Sam Raimi’s Spiderman movies (the first two) were high-flying, exemplary action films. Brett Ratner’s X-Men and X2: X-Men United remain rewatchable and contain storylines full of well-cast, memorable characters and a civil rights message that resonates still.
Then there was Fantastic Four (2005), a superhero movie following a predictable origin story with a fine cast. Chris Evans was a particular standout playing the Human Torch, a confident, sexy jackass with the same memorability he since brought to Captain America. A pitiful sequel followed, and we all thought the Fantastic Four had vanished from the silver screen.
Marvel had different plans, or someone did. This movie falls into the strange quagmire of sucking so much, I don’t know whether to hunt down those responsible or just sigh in defeat because I sure as hell don’t want to go to LA this time of year. With this reboot of the franchise, they throw in a fresh, young cast and tell their origin story all over again, Doctor Doom and all. Those those unfamiliar with this superhero-ing tale, Reed Richards (Miles Teller) and his childhood friend and bodyguard Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell) team up with siblings Sue and Johnny Storm (Kate Mara and Michael B Jordan, respectively) and Victor Von Doom (Toby Kebbell) at a swanky scientific institute. After some sciencing gone wrong, they get a healthy dose of radiation and become superheroes, and one super villain.
Okay, you’re caught up. This movie goes nowhere else. The heroes garner no powers until over halfway through this abomination, and our bad guy starts blowing stuff up about ten minutes before credits roll. The rest of the movie is beset with family melodrama and pointless set-up after pointless set-up. The audience is bored long before anyone has time to catch on fire or become a stone giant. The script is far from passable, filled with dialogue sinful to reproduce. If they were aiming for a sequel, I advise immobilizing those sadists in Hollywood.
Gratiously, the cast didn’t live down to the horrid reputation being built behind the scenes. Well, barely. Kate Mara was soft but smart, playing the same stuff she always does. Miles Teller is a nerdy guy trying to not be too nerdy, but he’s a charming enough actor. Michael B Jordan wasn’t nearly goofy enough to play Johnny Storm; I would’ve been fine with him playing Chris Evans. Jamie Bell, well, that one was kind of weird from the start. It was a miscast in my mind, but his gravelly voice sounds right, despite the pre-granite stature. Toby Kebbell is given tragically little to do. An actor who showed Andy Serkis-style abilities in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes should not be relegated to such pitiful characters.
Other than the main actors, it was unwatchable. The effects were poorly done. Seeing The Human Torch fly looked fake as hell. Even when the effects were more believable, like when the heroes acquire their powers, the actual effects were horrid. Catching on fire, garnering rocks. It was just infuriatingly bad. Why waste the theater space on this? Did no one proof read the script, watch any other attempt at the Fantastic Four, or review the final product before release? So many unanswered questions, but now that I’ve watched it, maybe you’ll just save yourself the trouble.