Review: Fantastic Four
The new Fantastic Four has finally arrived. Eight years after the last movie and after the reboot of the X-Men movies, Fox is trying to bring back Marvel’s first superhero team. So, does it deliver? When they announced it, people were skeptical. When the also announced the cast, people were more than afraid for this movie, as all the cast was younger than their comic counterparts, plus there were those big “problems” with Sue being white and Johnny being black and Dr. Doom being a blogger or a hacker. And would this new Fantastic Four be as silly and full of weak jokes as the last ones? All this questions and more were answered.
This new origin story is different in many ways from the one in the 2005 movie. As I already said, all characters are much younger, in their early twenties. The young team teleports 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.
The story has so much potential, but somewhere along the line, director Josh Trank lost it. I’m not going into spoilers, but, the first quarter of the movie is spent following Reed Richards and Ben Grimm’s childhood, trying to establish Reed’s genius and the strong friendship between the two. While it delivered on the first one, the chemistry between Miles Teller and Jamie Bell wasn’t as good as their separate talents. Then, we go further in time, the gang gets together, united by Dr. Storm, one of the most likeable characters in this movie and we also meet Victor von Doom, who is not a hacker per se, just a very smart engineer. Then, we spend almost two thirds of the movie establishing who is who, who has what powers and trying to create a believable motive for the villain. And then, the final act ends in less than 20 minutes or so. The main problem of this movie are not the actors, the characters or the villain, who looks very cool by the way, but the slowness of the story. With a 90 minutes runtime, you cannot waste time. I understand it’s an origin story, but nothing really happens after the first half an hour, until the final act. Nothing that furthers the depth of the characters, explain the motive of the villain or show us the coolness of their powers. What I really liked towards the end, was that it became darker and darker, for a couple of minutes becoming a claustrophobic scifi horror.
Moving on to the actors, Fantastic Four has a stellar cast. Individually, all actors are very talented, but when put together, they seem to forget everything and, being young, they don’t look serious and menacing at all, except for The Thing. So… Miles Teller delivers in most of his scenes (but he has poor performance in the last part of the movie), Kate Mara looks like a strong, badass woman, but is given few scenes to shine on her own, Jamie Bell as The Thing (not his human self) is not very impressive, but at least, the rock monster accepts his condition and doesn’t cry like a baby and then we have Michael B. Jordan who seems to really feel at home in Johnny Storm’s shoes. Toby Kebbell is ok, but I expected more from the actor who gave life to Koba, but he also looks awesome when he turns into Dr. Doom. Out of all the cast, Reg E. Cathey is the best, serving as the mentor of the team and an inspiration to them.
The effects are pretty good, but maybe the 3D could have made some scenes better. The powers look amazing, especially The Thing, who is huge and really imposing and Doom, who looks like a monster from a horror movie. The music is ok, but is not memorable; Marco Beltrmai and Philip Glass managed to push some dark tones into the movie with their soundtrack, throwing some heroic and hopeful notes in some places.
In the end, I give Fantastic Four a 6. It could have done so much more. It’s not as bad as many of us expected, but it is also not as good as it could have been. Even though the movie left me cold, I really hope it does pretty well at the box office so they can make that sequel and make it better (maybe get rid of Josh Trank).