Anything But: A Review of ‘Fantastic Four’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - August 07, 2015
Anything But: A Review of ‘Fantastic Four’

There are a lot of reasons to make a movie.  Art and commerce are actually at the top of the list and they are pretty valid reasons, but when you green light a property that you were doing nothing with, just to retain, fans across the world will let out a collective sigh. Fantastic Four is anything but and is a tired and hackneyed excuse for a film that basically has no plot and buries itself in mostly useless exposition.

Leaps in science sometimes require some forward thinking as four young brilliant outsiders (Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B Jordan and Jamie Bell) come together to finish an unbelievable project that will allow them to teleport to another planet in another universe.  However, discoveries like this come at a price as stepping into their universe alters these friends in some unimaginable ways.  As they come to grips with their new abilities they are forced to team up and prevent an old friend from bringing the destructive nature of this new planet back to earth.

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This just a mess…and not even the kind of mess that we can take a little bit of pleasure in as Fantastic Four is the example of a group of incredibly talented people just laying a big fat egg of a film with a weak screenplay wrapped around a bunch of flashy visuals that go absolutely nowhere.

While we will leave the conspiracy theories of how the studio got involved with the film and the general unrest behind the scenes, this just feels like a terribly weak effort as co-writer/director Josh Trank tries to jam a square peg into a round hole.  These Marvel and in general any comic book movie out there has beats that are common in telling these types of stories and while Trank has a certain flare and style for visuals it feels like any engaging narrative moments get overlooked or outright ignored.  It’s effects driven story that ends up collapsing in on itself because the narrative is so thread bear and the entire ensemble just don’t have a reason to give a damn.

Part of me wishes I could blame the ensemble for this, but in my heart of hearts I honestly can’t.  The script was absolutely lifeless and it felt like it actually had large chunks taken out of the overall story.  Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B Jordan and Jamie Bell have all done high quality and on occasion award worthy stuff but not here.  It all plays out as such a rote and buy the numbers affair that it is almost insulting as these good actors have to suffer through mediocre dialogue.  Nobody resonates in it all and even Toby Kebbell as Victor Von Doom’s plays it all petulantly and dull.

This movie actually starts out with a little bit of promise…but it never knows how to cash it in or even develop it.  Fans can debate until they are blue in the face of the studio sandbagged the movie just to screw over Marvel and retain the property, or we can wonder if writer/director Josh Trank is a one hit wonder as his low-fi  Chronicle teeters between cult classic and flash in the pan, but none of that right now matters.  The bottom line is that Fantastic Four is a disaster of a movie that looks good but is sloppy in all the places that make comic book movies genuinely resonate with audiences.  I can only hope that everyone involved in this one, will learn from this mistake and do better next time.

This post was written by
David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like Examiner.com, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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