So with much trepidation I finally saw Fantastic 4. It is of course the huge flop produced by Fox and I guess the question is- ‘is it as bad as people say it is’. I guess it depends on what lens you are looking for and I think how invested you are in comic books and superhero movies. I have little investment in either so in the end I thought it was mediocre with some of the worst special effects I’ve ever seen.
The script is also kind of lazy. It is an origin story which is very predictable with the origin part coming very late in the movie. I’m surprised Simon Kinberg who wrote the terrific X-men Days of Future Past would allow for such a cliched story to get approved. I understand there were problems on the set and the studio interfered but that wouldn’t effect the entire story and the extremely predictable writing.
I also can’t give director Josh Trank a pass either because the story from start to finish was cliched and silly. It wasn’t just one scene that you could tell the studio messed with; although the last 20 minutes is definitely worse than the rest. It’s surprising with Trank because he made Chronicle a superhero film on a small scale that I really love. The special effects in that film on a minimal budget are much better than anything here. I don’t know what he was thinking with the special effects. The editing was also really amateurish.
I also didn’t like Reg E Cathey as Dr Franklin Storm. For being the father of 2 of the characters he seemed flat, unemotional and like he was delivering motivational speeches instead of being an authentic character. I always felt like he was reciting lines and not feeling the emotions of a parent.
Toby Kebbell is also shockingly bad as Victor Von Doom (one of the worst names in superhero villains IMO). He was so great in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes but it’s not really his fault here. He is given little to do and the special effects are so bad. People who were critical of Ultron in Avengers 2 need to take a look at Dr Doom because the characters aren’t that different but one is executed so much better.
I can’t overstate how bad I thought the special effects were. Especially every time we see Mr Fantastic (Reed Richards played by Miles Teller)’s arms stretch I couldn’t believe it. Also there were a lot of times when it was so obvious they were in front of green screens and it looked extremely fake. I guess The Thing (Ben Grimm by Jamie Bell) looked ok but he had this strange voice that was distracting.
Other than that I can’t think of a special effect that worked. They were on a syfy Sharknado level. (have you gotten the point that I hated the special effects…)
As far as things I liked I thought the 4 young leads were all good in their parts and I could see them being a good Fantastic 4 in another movie with better special effects and script. They save a lot of scenes with their charisma and chemistry. The music by Marco Beltrami and Phillip Glass was also a standout.
I thought they could have gone somewhere interesting with using the Fantastic 4 to help the military which they do with the Thing. On one hand he saves lives. On the other he is an agent of war. There was something there they could have worked with. The sets all look nice and while the origin of the super powers takes way too long I thought it had ok moments. I was also surprised how bloody the ending was for a pg-13. Normally blood=R
I would have been a lot angrier if it had been like Transformers: Age of Extinction and been almost 3 hours. This was 100 minutes so it left me just shrugging. And again I am not a huge superhero person. If I was I am sure this would have engendered a Maleficent response from me because I love that character and world. As it is I just kind of shrugged it off. It’s a lame superhero movie. Not the first and won’t be the last. In fact, the genre is probably past due for a stinker. Ha.
If you are curious to see if it is as bad as people say it is go see it. I think you will be shocked by the bad special effects like I am but I have friends who liked it. I’ve warmed up a lot to superhero movies in the last few years with movies like Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers 1 and 2, Captain America 2 and Big Hero 6. This is way, way, way, way, beneath that level but I had a few little things I liked. Overall, I just thought it was super mediocre.
Overall Grade- D