Fantastic Four Movie Review
The new Fantastic Four isn't as bad as you'd expect.
That doesn't mean it still doesn't suck.
The movie is not the epic disaster all indicators have suggested, a culmination of bad buzz that neither is the second coming of the antichrist nor a movie that comes anywhere close to the standards set by modern comic book adaptations. The new Fantastic Four is better than the previous two movies, if only because it's not the previous two movies.
Where it's not so bad:
- Scene by scene, director Josh Trank (Chronicle), who was apparently fired from an upcoming Star Wars movie as a result of this one, doesn't deliver anything that's laughably bad (well, sort of). It's the sum of these parts that simply doesn’t work as intended.
- The Dr. Doom escape sequence is pretty decent and shows off what Trank is capable of (heads exploding, woot woot!). Too bad it's really the only cool scene in the entire movie.
- As an origin story, it has the right building blocks. Unfortunately Trank forget to make the rest of the movie.
All in all, I wasn't bored by the movie, nor was I offended by what is shown on screen (as bad as the visual effects are). It's a perfectly mediocre superhero movie, and by mediocre I mean bad-but-watchable. Sadly, Trank offers little reason to ever watch it again, or even why people should give it a first pass.
Because. Nothing. Actually. Happens.
The worst part about Fantastic Four is that Trank experimented with delivering a movie with no middle act, and the experiment failed miserably (I’m pretending that he experimented and didn’t deliberately make an incomplete movie). The movie is only 95 minutes long--thankfully--and about 80 minutes are spent introducing us to the four boring and shockingly somber lead characters, explaining how they got their powers and... well, that's about it. During this time, there are literally zero action scenes, zero moments where the four team members are on screen at the same time and zero times where any fucks were given. Trank could and should have done the same origin story in about 40 minutes and everything would have been fine.
In fact, things would have been more than fine, because Trank would have time for a middle act. Inexplicably, Fantastic Four literally goes from the 80-minute introduction to the climax, with nothing in between. Dr. Doom doesn't make an appearance until near the end, and then suddenly he is trying to destroy the world for unknown reasons and the four leads have to join forces to stop him... Having not once fought together before.
Usually, after spending some time explaining how everyone gets their powers, you'd have some other action scenes, some moments where the characters can interact and convince the audience that they should care for them, and some semblance of a story that builds up the villain and explains why he is doing the things he's doing. Maybe he even gets to win for a while before the good guys finally figure out a way to stop him.
Fantastic Four astonishingly cuts all of this from the movie. It doesn't exist. All the fun stuff you like about comic book movies... It's not there. The movie is largely humorless, but more importantly it isn't fun. The characters are dull, the action nonexistent and the entertainment limited. It's like dry humping only without the good parts of dry humping.
Fantastic Four is not the disaster it could have been. But it’s still a disaster, another example of potential wasted, talent underutilized, and a franchise doomed from the onset.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.