STARRING: Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell, Toby Kebbell, Reg E. Cathey and Tim Blake Nelson
Four young outsiders teleport to an alternate and dangerous universe which alters their physical form in shocking ways. The four must learn to harness their new abilities and work together to save Earth from a former friend turned enemy.
Fantastic Four has us following two friends Reed Richards and Ben Grimm who have worked together on a prototype teleporter since childhood which in turn attracts the attention of the director of the Baxter Foundation, Professor Franklin Storm, to offer Richards a scholarship at the research institute. He’s brought on board to work on completing a ‘Quantum Gate’ alongside Storm’s children Sue, a scientist, and Johnny, a reckless technician, as well as bringing back his protégé Victor Von Doom into the fold. When they’re successful in their text with the ‘Quantum Gate’, the facility supervisor plans to send a group from NASA to use the Gate to enter a parallel dimension known as Planet Zero, though gutted at being denied their chance to join the expedition, Reed, Johnny, Victor and Ben use to Gate to go to Planet Zero which results with disastrous consequences.
Well it’s been stated for the last few months now that Fantastic Four has been plagued with issues in terms of production that has resulted in fingers pointing at director Josh Trank or Fox studio heads to be blamed for the finished article and as I type this more and more news of the production comes out putting both the director and the studio in a bad light of responsibility it’s clear that the film is an overall mess of a finished article.
Granted the first half of the film kept me intrigued as to where the story will go and has potential there for a pretty solid film, that becomes completely lost or unfleshed in the second half of the film which brings us possibly the most rushed final act/villain showdown that we’ll see on film let alone a comic book film for quite some time. It’s not all horror though within the film. The actors perform the best they can with the script they have to deal with (including some lines placed in there that will have some eyes rolling to be fair) but oddly the standout performance for me happened to be Reg E. Cathey as Professor Franklin Storm. He just brought a certain gravitas to the screen whenever he was on and I actually bought his relationship with Sue and Johnny individually, actually thinking about it now it’s weird how he interacts with them 99% of time separate from the other sibling, which leads to the films overall problem. There’s no real connection/interaction long enough to make you think that these four people act like a family, the only real relationship out of the four you see a connection with is Reed and Ben from childhood to now whereas much emphasis has been aimed at the ‘adopted’ angle between Sue and Johnny that is covered in a one line (or nod if I recall correctly) response to the question of if Sue was adopted….and that’s it, so that may anger some or some won’t mind they went with that angle and didn’t feel the need to be explained to them in a whole backstory angle. Even the early 2000’s Fantastic Four film had the characters interacting with each other like a family at least.
While the Fantastic Four interaction is virtually non-existent so’s the lack of action on show here, with most of the Thing’s action set pieces told in video playbacks of his army missions while Johnny and Sue train until called upon or manage to bring Richards back to the fold to help undo the damage done to them from coming back from the parallel dimension. The only real action set piece given is in the final act when Doctor Doom comes out to play and boy if you thought the 2000’s film characterisation of Doctor Doom was bad enough, wait until you get ahold of the krypton like mannequin here in this film and he has powers that just don’t blend with the character here. At least visually Thing looked a lot better than previous looks of the character.
There was clearly potential here when watching the film from the start but due to mishaps in production from both parties as it may seem to be, there’s not much to write home about or find memorable in terms of moments or characters from this attempted reboot which is a shame as I like the cast involved due to their previous work. Almost feels like shades of ‘Superman Lives’ in a way yet this film was actually released. From the start until the accident that gives them their powers had me intrigued, the second half is hurt by the obvious reshoots and quickly rushed final act hurt the film in a massive way. 4/10