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Dan's Review: Nothing fantastic about "Fantastic Four"

Aug 07, 2015 04:12AM ● Published by Dan Metcalf

Kate Mara and Miles Teller in Fantastic Four - © 2015 Marvel & Twentieth Century Fox.

Fantastic 4 (20th Century Fox/Marvel)

Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, and language.

Starring Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell, Toby Kebbell, Reg E. Cathey, Tim Blake Nelson, Joshua Montes, Dan Castellaneta.

Written by Simon Kinberg, Jeremy Slater and Josh Trank, based on the comic books by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

GRADE: D-

REVIEW: 

Everybody wants a piece of the Marvel action, especially those who cling to small portions of it. Sony used to hold a death-grip on Spiderman – until the disastrous Amazing Spiderman 2, which pretty much killed any chances of seeing Andrew Garfield as the web-slinger again. The folks over at Disney were more than happy to take Peter Parker off Sony’s hands and introduce Spiderman into the Marvel Cinematic Universe alongside all that Avengers awesomeness. That leaves Fox holding onto the X-Men franchise, which has seen resurgence of late with First Class, Days of Future Past and the upcoming Apocalypse. Unfortunately, Fox also owns the rights to The Fantastic Four, which has yet to resonate with audiences over the past decade. The latest Fantastic Four hits theaters this weekend, and the results are disastrous. I hope someone at Fox has Disney’s phone number.

The Fantastic Four reboot is the story of Reed Richards (Miles Teller), a young genius who cracks the formula for trans-dimensional travel with help of his boyhood pal Grimm (Jamie Bell). Richards is recruited by Dr. Storm (Reg E. Cathey) to work in his NYC lab and create a machine that can send humans to another dimension on a distant planet. Joining Richards are Storm’s son Johnny (Michael B. Jordan) adopted daughter Sue (Kate Mara) and a brilliant but temperamental protégé named Victor Von Doom (Toby Kebbell). When their machine actually works using a chimp test subject, the lab’s supervisor insists on exploiting the technology to send astronauts to the planet. Disappointed that their invention will be taken away, Richards convinces his old chum Grimm to join Johnny, Victor and himself on a joy ride to the distant planet. When they arrive, Victor is swallowed up into some kind of lava while the same substance contaminates the rest of the team during their escape. Grimm is turned into the rock-laden Thing, Johnny becomes the Human Torch, Richards transforms into the elastic Mr. Fantastic, and Sue (who remained behind, but gets a dose of the planet’s goo) becomes The Invisible Woman). When the U.S. Government discovers their powers, the team is shipped off to a secret military installation, where Richards escapes. A year passes, as Torch, Thing and Sue get training to harness their powers and go on military missions. Richards is eventually tracked down, just in time to confront Victor, who somehow survived on the planet and has transformed into Dr. Doom, a megalomaniac bent on destroying the Earth. There’s a big battle between Doom and the Fantastic Four, ending with a predictable result.

There are many things wrong with Fantastic Four, but in the spirit of the number Four, I will point out four reasons the movie stinks. First is the script/story, which is void of any humor, excitement or originality. Second is the pacing of the movie, which slugs along without any thrills or meaningful sequences until the ending. Third is the ending, which offers no resolution for the characters, nor motivation for the villain, other that “he’s crazy.” Fourth is the lack of chemistry between the actors who portray the main characters. It’s as if they were assigned to the movie like counselors pair up bunkmates at summer camp.

The Fantastic Four disaster might prod 20th Century Fox to ultimately let go of the idea that the franchise has any chance of success – unless it becomes part of the Marvel Cinematic/Avengers Universe, which isn’t likely. Honestly, I could care less if anyone ever tries to make another Fantastic Four movie, since the latest version leaves me without any desire to see the team in action again.


Fantastic Four Trailer

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