If you watch any of my periscopes (I have a daily live video streams on the Periscope app) then you know I wasn’t thrilled about the direction that Fantastic Four was going. On more than one occasion I bemoaned the fact that the director was too green, the decision to go with the Ultimate version of F4, and a myriad of other issues I had leading up to the film.
Regardless, I am always excited to watch a superhero film. Try as hard as I do, I can’t keep myself from the childlike excitement that takes over when I see that Marvel production graphic in the opening credits. I’m a relatively positive person as well. I want to like movies. I want to give them the benefit of the doubt. That being said, Fantastic Four isn’t as terrible as everyone is saying, but it’s definitely not a good movie.
Imagine that you’re building a really cool motorcycle. Imagine that instead of focusing on the end result of the motorcycle, you focus on how interesting the individual parts of the motorcycle are. “Wow, what a cool crankshaft bearing. Isn’t it shiny?” (Yes, I just spent 10 minutes trying to find the name of a motorcycle part for this example.) After you’ve gone on and on about how interesting the parts are, you spend what seems like a lifetime building the motorcycle and then you never ride it, but look at it and congratulate yourself.
That is the most recent Fantastic Four movie.
First, the film spends a considerable amount of time trying to convince us that the four people who will become the Fantastic Four are really interesting people all on their own. Why do we need that? Why spend that much time just trying to prove that they’re all so unique and cool?
But, let’s say that they are interesting. Let’s say that they do have something to offer outside of having super powers. Even still, they have incredible actors playing the heroes, but either the writing or the directing completely keeps you from connecting to or even liking the characters.
Victor Von Doom isn’t a scary dictator, but a government hating recluse. Johnny Storm isn’t funny, he’s just angry and brash. Reed Richards is odd, but not in a fun way and he turns out to be a terrible friend. Sue Storm is just boring, and they got the angst part of Ben Grimm’s character right, but overall he had no personality. Oh, but don’t worry, he said, “It’s clobbering time” and it was just as out of place as you’d think it’d be.
Then, they try to shove all these people into the Baxter Building in ways that make zero sense. Reed and Victor? OK, sure. These kids are smart enough to be inventing this machine. But Sue? She recognizes patterns well? Which makes her good at creating protective outfits? What is happening here? Also, do we really have the only girl making clothes for everyone? Oh, and Johnny is really good at building cars, so he should definitely be qualified enough to help Reed teleport organic material through an alternate plane of existence called the “zero planet.” The only person who kind-of made sense to be there was Ben because Reed didn’t want to go without him.
When it finally comes to them getting their super powers by teleporting without permission, Sue doesn’t even go. It was a weird boys club moment where the rest of them went and she was hit by a random wave of “I-don-know-what” that gave her powers as well.
So yea! Now they have powers! I guess they are going to use them as a team! Nope. Reed is now going to disappear like a tool for a year and the rest are going to be glorified soldiers that we only see fight in recaps. The movie then becomes incredibly cliché and makes the villain “The Government,” who has somehow destroyed our planet, but they never actually tell us what’s wrong with it, making the stakes incredibly low. When did this movie become less about defeating Dr. Doom and more about how humans are awful and destroy mother earth?
So, after the evil Government makes Reed create another teleporting machine, we finally get to see Dr. Doom in all his glory. However his powers are almost god like and he kills everyone in the building including Sue and Johnny’s dad, which everyone called his death in the first five seconds of the film. In movies, he who gives long passionate speeches and has his crap together early, dies every time.
When the Fantastic Four finally fight Doom, they end the fight incredibly fast by “working together as a team,” which made everyone collectively puke in their mouths. Then the action is just over and the movie ends kind-of like Man of Steel where they insist that the government leave them alone but give them their own science center. Followed by the obligatory joke about naming the team the “Fantastic Four.”
Overall, the movie took forever to get to any kind of action, then when it did, the action wasn’t amazing and ended quickly. As much as I wanted to like it, the film was boring and I couldn’t connect to any of the characters. My suggestion? Just watch Ant-Man again.
P.S… Did anyone see a Stan Lee cameo? Because I did not.