Fantastic Four (Fant4stic) Review

(Look at that! It seemed like it could have been great!

I don’t own this trailer).

Okay so there may be spoilers, this movie came out in August 2015 so it’s not new anymore.
This is my opinion and no one may agree with me, some may agree with me but this pros and cons review will express my thoughts on this one.
Pros:
  • The casting. A lot of people blame the failing of this movie on the casting (mainly the black actor) and I disagree because the main cast was strong. It was interesting to see younger versions of them. It allows for a different dynamic because they’re not all established in their positions and it allows room for a different kind of character growth.
    • Miles Teller as Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic: He is the smartest man in the Marvel Universe and I liked that we were going to see the beginnings of that. Teller played Reed, at least in the first half, with a charisma of an awkward young man who would grow into a great man with experience and time.
    • Kate Mara as Sue Storm/The Invisible Woman: I consider Sue to be one of the strongest women in the Marvel Universe. Mara played Sue with quiet strength and confidence, especially in her abilities and her specialties. She was also the only one who was smart/wary about the government involvement in the second half of the movie.
    • Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm/The Human Torch: First of all, I love me some Michael B. Jordan. But he played Johnny the way he’s always played, a hothead, thrill seeker and a bit immature. He’s the only one, I thought who was consistent throughout the movie. Once things took a rough turn, it seemed like Jordan was the only one who continued to try and actually care about the movie and his role. It was like he still had faith in it.
    • Jamie Bell as Ben Grimm/The Thing: This casting I thought in the beginning was a bit odd only because he’s short lol. But once I thought about it, I knew he’d be fine. He plays Ben as Reed’s silent but strong best friend. He’s the backbone that Reed doesn’t have. When he becomes The Thing, he plays Ben with a sadness, anger and betrayal that is only evident in his eyes.
  • The costumes/the look. Outside of some missteps in the CGI in the action, I liked the design of the costumes. I liked how Johnny’s suit had vents on them, so he had something to project the flames from if he needed a more concentrated attack. I liked how The Thing was huge because he’s this huge rock mass, it makes sense for him to be huge, I was also fine that he was without pants. Since he was the government’s pawn, it makes sense they kept him under their thumb in more ways than one. Reed’s suit was homemade. There were metal coils on his arms and legs that kept the stretching under control until he learned how to do it himself. Lastly, Sue’s suit was pretty standard. It was functional enough to assist her in her invisibility. I liked how they looked like actual suits and weren’t skin tight. That works in comics and animated shows, it doesn’t do so well in live action.
  • How they got their powers. I thought the part when they got their powers (minus Sue) was pretty clever and kind of horrific. 30-45 minutes is spent of Reed, Victor, Sue and Johnny working to get to Planet Zero, another worldly dimension. They succeed when it couldn’t have been done before. They’re told they’re not equipped to explore it first so the boys including an invited Ben go anyway. While there, Victor disturbs the green substance that flows through the planet. It disrupts the core and Victor ends up being left behind (you can visually see his space suit being fused/burned to his body when the green energy explodes and covers him). The other three run back to their “shuttle”, Reed was ultimately fine in his pod, Ben’s door wouldn’t close, he was pelted with rocks, fire broke through Johnny’s glass window (I will admit… where did the fire come from though? Lol) and all you see is his hands on the glass while he screams. I thought that was handled well.
  • The potential. It’s obvious to see there was a lot of meddling from the studio and that the director’s original vision somehow got crushed between all of the drama. I rewrote this movie so many times that I wish I was involved lol. The first half of the movie isn’t perfect by a long shot but it was almost solid. Once the time jump happened, I knew it was downhill unfortunately. The potential for the characters to be more than a weak script was there and like I said, in the second half (in the obvious reshoots) Michael B. Jordan looked like the only one who wanted to still try. The action could have been great, the set up for sequels could have been great and the relationships between the characters could have been great. It was all there. It just wasn’t explored… or maybe it was but I’ll never see that movie no matter how much I want to.
Cons:
  • Character development. So look, even though I think the cast was selected well and they were fine in their roles, I do think there was an obvious lack in character development we should have received. Characters are always important otherwise we’re not going to root for them. Let me break this down.
    • Reed Richards.  We knew nothing about him other than he was intelligent, his home life may be unfulfilling because he felt his mom and stepdad didn’t understand him. He was awkward, and didn’t seem to have much of a backbone. We should have seen his confidence grow throughout the movie.
    • Sue Storm. She could recognize patterns and likes music which is fine but is that it? While the men worked on the actual logistics of traveling and machinery, she made the travel suits. Wow. But there were times where it seemed like she would know what she was doing with the actual science and handiwork. I’m not saying don’t let her make the suits, but why is that all she contributed to our knowledge? When she gets her powers, she’s the only one who is wary of the government but there’s no conflict other than two conversations with her family. She’s also adopted but it was not explored. It would have been nice to include since it’s different, I liked it but needed information.
    • Johnny Storm. We know nothing about him. He is introduced in a car race, he wrecks, his father has to pick him up and they have an argument. All that shows the audience is he may be reckless, he may be a hothead, definitely sarcastic, may be resentful towards Sue and angry with his father. He built the car he raced and he helped build the pods to travel he’s obviously smart. But does that mean both he and Sue are geniuses? If so, what is his specialty? Did he have all the potential but was too much of a playful soul that he didn’t put in the work?? Nothing is discussed, nothing is SHOWN. Even after the time jump, nothing is resolved with his father. We still don’t know what Johnny’s problem is and why he is so angry. They couldn’t have been so arrogant to think they didn’t need to explain any of this because there was going to be a sequel. Even when Johnny and Sue talk to each other, something obviously is sour between them but by the end, they’re fine because their dad said so. I don’t believe that.
    • Ben Grimm. He gets the least amount of development. We get a peek into his life in the beginning when he’s a kid. I just have to say, him turning his bully older brother’s line “it’s clobbering time” later as his catchphrase… was weird. That should have come about in a different way. He’s this quiet, kind of sullen kid. He grows up, best friends with Reed who kind of makes him stop being so sullen but he’s still the quiet type but he’s not smart like Reed, so he’s not at the Institute with the others. So, outside of him being best friends with Reed and in the comics, he could have been removed altogether and no one would notice. That’s how you know they didn’t do him right. When he becomes The Thing he feels betrayed for reasons but that’s resolved quickly. His character didn’t get the arc he should have to get to that point.
  • Victor Von Doom. Doom is NOT smarter than Reed. He also does not get powers the same way the four does. Neither movie-verse has done this correctly. He has some mythical powers after spending time with monks. Since this Victor was young, they should have approached him differently and interestingly. He seemed to be the oldest out of the four, prideful and cynical which could have helped put a rift between him and Reed instead of Sue being at ease with Reed. Also, if they wanted him to someday be the villain, it should not have been this way. They should have introduced him here but then save him as a baddie for sequels. Toby Kebbell was a fine choice for him though.
  • The Origin of Sue Storm’s Powers. The way she received her powers… I get how it happened but really? When the boys, minus Victor, returns, the machine explodes and a field erupts from the explosion and Sue is knocked unconscious. We see her start to shift. Like I said, I get it, her powers come from the field that exploded upon return but why couldn’t she go? Victor should have not have gone. During the “climax” she has a few cool moments but otherwise doesn’t do much in the fight. It just didn’t sit well with me that this powerhouse of a mind and power was sidelined so much.
  • The look overall. I liked the costumes, and most times I didn’t mind the look of their powers IE: Sue’s invisibility, Johnny’s pyro abilities, Ben’s overall look. But there are plenty of times where there are obvious issues with the cgi. Reed’s stretching abilities (the power is kind of lame already lol, the only time it was legit cool was Elastigirl from The Incredibles) looked downright silly. There’s a scene where he contorted his face to look another person and when he’s turning back, it was so horrible that I remember going “Ew”. Also, superhero movies all want to be dark and stuff, and while I appreciate that ideal, not everyone succeeds. The overall look isn’t very pretty and I think Marvel films generally look nice even if there isn’t a lot there. Planet Zero looks like a world from The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl and it should have been something cooler, something that looked like people would want to explore it, instead we get a barren wasteland with green goo. The fact that we return there during the climax doesn’t help because the place doesn’t do anything for the look of the film.
  • Weak script. I probably will never know what the original script looked like, but I thin it’s safe to say the final product had too many hands attached. First, there were scenes in the trailers that were nowhere in the film. There’s a scene where Sue cries over what looked like a hurt Johnny= scrapped, a scene were Sue is flying in her force field through a rock mound=scrapped, something that looked like both Sue and Johnny plowing through large rocks or something=scrapped, I even saw b-roll dealing with the flying car Reed creates, it’s was supposed to crash land or something (lol) =scrapped. If all of that was scrapped and it looked interesting, what is left? A choppy story. The Josh Trank (director), the writers and Fox executives needed to sit down and get this story polished, especially if something happened that required reshoots. The reshoots were obvious in the second half because Sue’s hair changed from her natural dirty blonde look to this horrible blonde wig.
  • Weak Climax. A superhero film is nothing without it’s big climax, without it’s protagonists facing off against the antagonist. However, this climax lasted about 10 minutes. A film has a first, second and third act and the third act cannot even be properly separated as a third act. Doom is found when they finally manage to get back to Planet Zero and he kills everyone because he is angry and wants to use Earth to fuel his new “home”. His motivations were rocky and unmotivated; we don’t know his plight so we can’t care about it to even think his idea was warranted. As a villain, we don’t always agree, but if we understand that makes them a two dimensional villain. He uses the machine to get back, the four follow him and try to defeat him separately but Reed decides they need to work together in order to fight back after Doom wipes them all out. So, they quickly come together and boom… resolved. Boring and stupid.

Overall, Fantastic Four (Fant4stic) was a mess, and while I enjoyed it to an extent (I also own it now) I recognize that it was a mess. I just don’t think it was that bad. I know I listed a lot of damaging cons but since there was potential and that was destroyed due to drama behind the scenes, I don’t fault the movie and the actors for that. There was a lot of talk after the film released, where the writers stated their movie was not what was put in theaters. Trank stated his Fantastic Four movie will never be visualized because this overtook that. Allegedly Miles Teller even had disputes with the director over the plot. There were a lot of rewrites, reshoots, scrapped scenes and it shows. It’s unfortunate that Marvel’s first family just cannot seem to get a good movie. The earlier 2000 ones were fine, not good but fine.
Rating: 1.8 out of 5.
P.S. To prevent this from getting longer, I’m going to post a companion piece to this review of how I think this movie should have gone. Click here for “Ways Fant4stic Could Have Been Better”.
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