Well, if you are reading this then you haven’t been scared off to the setting Sun by the mere mention of the 2015 adaptation of “Fantastic Four”. And you are either a very brave soul, or you took too many vitamin pills this morning. Either way, I thank you for your company, and will give you the final warning before we continue. Ready? Good, let’s get on with this.
This is 20th Century Fox’s latest (and increasingly desperate) attempt to hold on to this Marvel franchise, which seems odd when you witness how the material gets treated. But starting with the story itself, we have a young Reed Richards (Miles Teller) who manages to create a machine which can both transport material to another dimension, as well as return it back in theory. The creation gets picked up by the Baxter Foundation, who can use his ideas to finish their construction of a dimension transporter in order to find new energy resources for the slowly dying Earth. Reed is aided by Johnny Storm (Michael B. Jordan), Sue Storm (Kate Mara), childhood friend Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell), and Victor von Doom (Tony Kebbell) in finishing the project. And after celebrating with some brews, they decide to enter the transporter and be the first to set foot on this new and unknown world. But while there, they get infected by well… goo, and upon return to Earth discover that they have superpowers which the Government quickly steps in on in order to weaponise them for the Military.
And I would go on from there to explain the synopsis more, but things get so out of order that it will sound like the mad ramblings of a hobo yelling how the world is going to end.
I’m not going to dump the lorry-load of trash on this just yet however, because I’ll start with where this was going, at least, alright. The first 30 minutes or so may be very plain and lacking investment for the audience to get into, but it does seem to be trying to set things up in some kind of order. We’re introduced to the main characters, see some of their motivations and personality traits, and how Franklin Storm (Reg. E. Cathey) brings them all together in order to complete the project. The simplicity means you can grab on to the basic elements of the story and get a little interested in where it will go. Some of the character interactions had me amused, and Reg. E. Cathey seemed to be trying to pass as the authority figure who gets the crew to work together. It’s not all that good, but hey, it’s something and actually was better than what I was dreading.
But once they land in the other dimension things start to go horribly, devastatingly, mind-numbingly wrong. The story doesn’t so much as lose sight of the goal but completely fucking derail and crash into the station. The Four placed in a situation that forces them to never work as a team in the way you want to see the Fantastic Four do, and at the same time completely halt the plot for nearly the entire second act. Really, when you think about it the middle section has very little impact on the end result except to place them back emotionally where they were before they entered the transporter. (Except for Doom of course)
The mix of the pacing going AWOL with the destruction of any primary story plot leads to one of the most boring movies I witnessed from 2015. I can’t imagine what happened between the writers and producers to try and force the story to suddenly become “dark” in theme and use this as a crowbar to force the team apart. There is a point where Reed Richard flees and lives a life of collecting scrap metal for… some reason. And we are never illustrated what this life was or what his goal was with it. He just left. And then he’s caught. Just because he wasn’t needed for half an hour of the running time. It is so sloppily handled that I am shocked it made it past pre-screeners. How???
I could go on… and I shall. Sue Storm is given barely anything to do as The Invisible Woman, The Thing looks like they forgot to render the CG and then the file got corrupted into a cluttered mess, the motivations for Dr. Doom are so insignificant they could be written down on the stub of your cinema ticket, the flames on The Human Torch are of an appalling quality, the dialogue…. sweet holy fuck is it bad. I’m talking so flat and uninspired that that it could be patented as a potent cure to Insomnia. Everywhere you look and everything you hear is devoid of creativity or the sense that anyone gave a fuck. I’m sad to say that where there may have been people who tried to put their talents into this, but on the screen… you see none of it. AT ALL.
And as a finale to this disaster we get the last 30 minutes featuring the battle against Dr. Doom, and the Epilogue to it. The fight is woefully choreographed and laughable in the set up, I get the feeling that they simply copied ideas used for final battles from other modern superhero movies and mushed them together in order to try and make something cool. But you can see the gaps clear as day, they’re not fooling anyone into thinking this scene has any level of tension or illustrating that the Four are finally working as a team. The end sequence is what must be a kick in the teeth to the fans out there, who after sitting through the 100 minute running time get offered zilch in return.
I’m not very knowledgeable in this team, but even I found this version of “The Fantastic Four” to be an unholy mess of boredom. There are sure to be worse movies from 2015 that would piss people off or offend others, but this would certainly in a Top Ten of the worst for completely missing the point of the fundamental traits of these characters. You hardly see them working together, you never see them as a family unit, or being a cheesy light comedy, or saving the day in a manner that is gratifying. It makes “X Men Origins: Wolverine” look superior in every way, simply from at least trying at times to stay faithful to the main character.
I may not have been angry, but I was bored as all hell. Except for that opening where it showed a glimmer of hope before dashing it to smithereens, I couldn’t find anything to even so much as be amused or excited by. It felt like a basic draft that got severely hurried into production to meet the demands of the studio. And I feel sorry that the creative crew along with the actors got dragged along in the dirt. There’s nothing to say beyond that.
Thanks for reading!