Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Review: Fantastic Four

Starring: Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Bell
Directed by: Josh Trank
Language: English
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 100 minutes

As tired as I am with these rebooted franchises and superhero movies, lately they've been surprisingly great. Marvel has stepped it up quite a bit and Christopher Nolan took a new perspective of the iconic Dark Knight. While there have been a few misses in the sea of superhero movies, I suppose there were some people excited for this reboot. I don't know. I thought the 2005 version was pretty good, although I know it wouldn't work out casting wise if they decided to put them together with the X-Men or the Avengers.

Young Reed Richards is determined to invent a machine that will teleport matter from one place to another. With the help of his new friend Ben Grimm, they make significant progress on their project and catches the eye of Dr. Franklin Storm at a science fair. Dr. Storm invites Reed to be apart of his huge teleportation project and scientific institution. Teaming up with Sue Storm, whom Reed met earlier at the science fair; her brother Johnny Storm, and Victor Von Doom, Reed hits major success with the teleportation machine and decides to try it out with accompaniment of Reed's childhood friend Ben.

Honestly, I think the 2005 version of Fantastic Four had some mixed reviews. Some people thought it was a bit cringeworthy, while others thought it was entertaining enough. I already mentioned that I enjoyed it and didn't have any major problems with it. It had plenty of action and I found the characters entertaining. I have yet to see the sequel in its entirety, but what I have seen didn't seem too terrible. Of course, this review is about the newest rendition of the comic book foursome. I suppose there was a lot of hype surrounding the film and lately Marvel has set very high standards when it comes to comic book movies. Having last seen Ant-Man in theaters, I expected another entertaining Marvel film. I didn't have any expectations set going into the movie, so my mind was very open to this reboot...even though I found it slightly unnecessary.

When the movie began, things seemed very promising. It offered plenty of backstory on our characters Reed and Ben, which was an interesting decision and offered a little more detail to those characters compared to their adult forms in the 2005 version. I was also curious how things would progress and how they would obtain their powers. When Victor entered the scene, he was different than I expected. He wasn't an obvious bad guy character just waiting to be mutated into evil, he was a normal young adult that had some slacker habits and of course a crush on Sue. As the story moved forward, I was enjoying all this background on these characters and once they decided to be the first human test subjects on their teleportation machine, I was getting excited for what would happen for these characters when things went awry. Before going any further with the story, let me touch on some positives. For the most part, I enjoyed the characters. There might've been a few small things that bothered me about their personalities like I wish Johnny's cockiness and troublemaking ways felt more natural. Also, I thought the visuals looked alright. It was nothing spectacular, but not unbelievable.

Now for the unfortunate negatives. As much as I enjoyed the offer of background for Reed and Ben, Reed's past of being shut down by his teacher for wanting to build a teleportation machine and even at the science fair, it seemed extremely unbelievable. In a time that fosters creativity to our children (I believe schools still do that), I can't imagine a teacher telling a child that they can't do something because it's not possible or is silly, especially when his dream was very realistic. If he said he wanted to be a superhero or a unicorn tamer as a career, then I can somewhat understand the teacher disapproving his choice as that isn't a real career. In short, the movie's version of 2007 felt like 1970's instead. Meet the Robinsons did a better job at a kid with big dreams and him participating at a science fair than this movie. For the most part, I did enjoy the characters, but certain aspects about them were lacking in places. I already mentioned that I wished Johnny's rebellious actions felt more natural and less cliche, but Victor's character seems completely forgettable. Once he kinda sorta becomes Dr. Doom, his power is intimidating, but his cause is weak and his character design doesn't help him be intimidating. As much as I wanted to enjoy his power, I couldn't help but laugh at his appearance. Also, now that I think about it, Ben is a little forgettable, especially he becomes The Thing. The way they received their powers is poorly executed as well and felt like a bunch of interns decided to throw rocks into Ben's pod and just randomly set Johnny on fire. It was too silly! The biggest problem with this movie is the story. It has a good beginning, but there's no build-up, no climax, and nothing at stake. There's a big decrease of action compared to the 2005 adaptation and that's what made it entertaining. For the most part, a lot of elements in this movie is paint by numbers and even the characters predicted it.

Fantastic Four in one word is underwhelming. Even though I had no expectations going into it, I somehow felt a bit disappointed by this reboot. While the character background was interesting and some of the characters were alright, the unforgettableness of some of them, bad character design, and lack of a threat left me unsatisfied. The director had some good ideas going on, but the execution was cut short. Whether there really was discrepancies between Miles Teller and the director or even the director and the production studio, I really don't know, but it's obvious that there were issues somewhere to achieve this unfortunate outcome. This movie isn't the worse of the worse, but honestly, I would suggest skipping out on it.

Rating: 2/5

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