Directed By: Josh Trank
Written By: Jeremy Slater, Simon Kinberg & Josh Trank
Based on the original Marvel Comic Book By: Stan Lee & Jack Kirby
Cinematography: Matthew Jensen
Editor: Elliot Greenberg & Stephen Rivkin
Music By: Marco Beltrami & Philip Glass
Cast: Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell, Reg E Cathey, Toby Kebbell, Tim Blake Nelson, Dan Castellaneta, Chet Hanks, Tim Heidecker
FANTASTIC FOUR, a contemporary re-imagining of Marvel’s original and longest-running superhero team, centers on four young outsiders who teleport to an alternate and dangerous universe, which alters their physical form in shocking ways. Their lives irrevocably upended, the team must learn to harness their daunting new abilities and work together to save Earth from a former friend turned enemy.
I didn’t quite hate the film as much as other people. Oh the film has many problems and isn’t good, but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t see what was being attempted with the film by the director.
The group dynamic angle and how it all comes together works well. As the first half of the film and most of the film. seems to be on course to be an origin film. Made to be so that any future sequels would be more adventurous. Though it feels like if the film stayed on that course that seems to be what was originally intended. This would have to be a 3 – 4 hour epic film. As it takes it’s time to get to the point. Like a long winded storyteller.
As the film tries to make the world they inhabit seems normal to a degree and more innocent until the story starts to take shape out of necessity. As the film then seems to become so chic and fashion forward for a certain amount of time.
The film seems like an honest attempt to try and create it’s own legend. While staying true to the comic book, with a modern twist. Though it looks so dark and dingy and like it tries too hard to be darker. As one thing I can say is that this is one of the bloodiest marvel comic book takes brought to the big screen.
Though the film seems to try and humanize the characters. After they get their powers the film seems to drop the psychological angle and makes them Seem more like science experiments gone wrong. Just as the government seems to see them. It also leaves the characters and effects to look cheesy to a degree while attempting to be sharp and more like a body horror scenario. Like a David Cronenberg influence that never materialized, While also trying to make the characters look human when using their more deformative powers. (Especially when it comes to the character of THE THING. Who looks either animatronic or stop motions animated. Either way always feels fake. Which at least the previous fantastic four films got right even if you Could tell it was Michael Chicklis is a suit, but he humanize do the character. So that you didn’t notice as much) Nor are any of the designs throughout the film impressive in an aesthetic level.
When the action actually starts it is more in experimental bursts. So that when we come to the end battle scene. It feels like filler and cheesy. As we have waited so long that the film has built up to, then when we finally get to it. it seems so generic and unexciting. As there seems to have no excitement. Like it’s a chore to get through. It just stays in a dull pace in the second half. So much that it seems more like an expensive drama with some action and science fiction.
The lack of action doesn’t help the film. As there seems to be no joy. So that we never really get to see them do anything really as a team or depend on one another until the end and even that is disappointing and minor once it happens. As the film Seems to be leading up to it being a pivotal moment.
The other dimension is not that impressive and looks like more of an afterthought. As most of the films budget went to other things. So they skimped on this aspect of the film. Which looks like a bad set from a STAR TREK episode and he energy looks like bad CGI mixed with the green slime form DOUBLE DARE on Nickelodeon. Even Stan Lee Declined to make a cameo in the film.
The film has a revolving theme of power outages. Which kind of goes for the film in it’s moments too.
The costumes/uniforms looks like EDWARD SCISSORHANDS hand me downs.
The film really tried to drive home the point of Reed Richards guilt over all that happens. As he should as both him And Victor doomed all of them to their current states. Though the film fails to rally have him earn his forgiveness. The stakes feel so light. Though at least it does work. Even if Miles Teller feels miscast in the role. As if you watch his facial expressions throughout the film they are hilarious. His character only comes out as a hero at the end. As the film seems to make it all about him and his arc as a character. Which then really discounts this being more of a team or ensemble effort. It also seems running away has helped his eyesight as before they were always needed. Once he comes back he see to have 20/20 vision.
Just as we are introduced to the reed and sue storm flirtation and know she has a history with victor. So it would have been more interesting to see them compete for her and wonder if in the other dimension of victor felt reed let go of him on purpose. So that when victor reemerged as doctor doom in the end (or at least a version of him As he more resembles a updated version of the villainous computer cyborg from SUPERMAN 3. Mixed with Ultron from THE AVENGERS) here would be more motivation for revenge. Rather then just randomly seeking power. He Also comes off as more laughable as a villain then dangerous despite his atrocious action.
I wondered if I was being too harsh on this film only because, the film had been so bad mouthed. So I probably went in intentionally looking for things to criticize and while there are plenty. Not as bad as I thought it would be.
The film makes no sense that in the first half everything is so detailed and filled in as far as details then the second half become so glossed over. As soon as the special effects kick into high gear. Making it seem like Director Josh Trank was trying to make more of a Michael Cimino Esque epic, that you can tell the studio tampered with it to make it a bit more commercial and speed up the conclusion. So that it ends up feeling truncated and pieced together. So that his vision while it still might not be the greatest, but it seems salvageable. One of the problems is that none of the actors truly inhabit their roles. They feel more like actors trying to inhabit these roles and end up not being memorable except for their powers in the film. It spends too much time trying to explain the emotions behind the four rather than remembering it is an action/fantasy film.
Another Partial Clue that the film was doomed was the casting of Tim Blake Nelson in this franchise. As the last time he had a major or going to be major Role in a franchise film was in The Hulk. Which also went for a different pace and ended up majorly being disappointing.
As the film obviously seems to go for being a cooler version of the films that came before less glossy family comic book film. Though it also seems here like a teenager going for the gothic look to seem deeper and different.