By Matthew Soall
Well it’s time to review Fantastic Four. A film so shallow it was only made so that Fox would not be required to hand the rights back to Marvel Studios, and boy does it show. This year has been a slap in the face for this reviewer when it comes to pop culture. There have been good films or mediocre ones, and I’m not even going to get started on all the problems I have with the video game industry. But Fantastic Four takes the cake. It has been a very long time since I have watched a film that is structurally as broken as Fantastic Four.
Fantastic Four begins with Reed Richards (Miles Teller) and Ben Grim (Jamie Bell) as children. Richards is a misunderstood boy genius, and Ben is a kid impressed with Reed’s intellect, who begins about helping him with his science project to teleport matter.
Fast cut to their teenage years, and both are still working together, trying to impress people with their teleportation device. In a massive coincidence, Franklin Storm and his daughter Susan (Kate Mara) happen to be at said science fair, and they recruit Reed to work on their teleportation project.
Turns out the Storm teleportation project is headed by Victor von Doom (Toby Kebell) who gets slightly pissy at Reed sometimes because….reasons. Long story short here, they build the machine, it takes them to another dimension, they touch some green shit, and powers.
First, I’m going to talk about the good, because there are some good elements here and the people who worked on the better parts of the film deserve credit. All the actors in this film performed well. Kate Mara, Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordon and Jamie Bell aren’t irritating or grating. These are good actors stuck in a pile of shit. Even Toby Kebell as Dr Doom is leagues ahead of the original.
Some of the design elements are good as well. The planet they visit in the other dimension is interesting. The powers look more realistic and the CGI the Thing looks a lot better than the foam suit from the first film. But all the effects must have been cobbled together from a bunch of outsourced contractors because sometimes they look good, and then other times you’re asking how they can still produce CGI this bad. The Thing had no facial expression and Sue floating around them in a shield bubble just looked terrible, almost like watching a cartoon.
Now, the first two acts in the film are watchable. There is enough good to keep the film going—it’s even enjoyable at times. I liked the angles they were taking with the powers. When the characters awake and have to deal with the mess that their bodies are now in, you feel repulsed by their situation. Richards is trying to keep his body together, Grimm is terrified by what’s happened to him. These are chilling moments. Especially when Reed leaves Grimm behind, and The Thing is begging Reed to help him.
I mentioned earlier that the film is structurally broken, and you may be wondering what I mean by that. So here is film 101: every film is basically comprised of three acts—a beginning, middle and end. For example, in Star Wars, we meet up with Luke on Tatooine when he finds out about the empire and the captured princess. Han Solo and Luke rescue the princess. Then together as a team they blow up the Death Star and win the day. Each part should be roughly equal to each other.
In Fantastic Four, the first two thirds of the film are relatively equal, and then it all falls apart at the end. I kid you not; the climax to the film ends in 10 minutes. Act Three is over so quickly that if you blink, you miss it. This means that all the work that is put into the begging and middle of the film go to fucking waste, and it’s a real shame because the film could have been salvageable. This movie is like a bad lover. The seduction happens, there’s even some foreplay, but then when you finally get to the good part, it’s over in ten seconds, and your lover has already turned over and fallen asleep.
This film is a soulless product simply created because Fox didn’t want their competitor Marvel Studios to have the film rights back. History repeats itself (Check out the story behind the Rodger Corman Fantastic Four film from the 80’s). When Fox is producing films like X-men: Days of Future Past and Planet of the Apes films they have no fucking excuses for the level of crap they dished out in this movie.
This film is designed to rob you of your money. Please, I implore you do not pay money for this film. If you can’t wait for it to be on Netflix or Stan, watch it by some other means, but don’t give Fox money for a piece of crap that makes Batman and Robin look well-structured by comparison.