Friday, August 7, 2015

Fantastic Four Review (2015)

In order to remind us that Fox owns the film rights to a couple of Marvel series, a reboot of the Fantastic Four (2015) was made. Fox still has movie rights to X-Men, as well. If not for the last two amazing X-Men movies, I'd say Disney is the only one that does Marvel movies right anymore. This is the fourth attempt at a Fantastic Four movie, including 1994 movie that never got released. Sooner or later Fox will have to accept they can't do a Fantastic Four movie that's worth seeing, and  it would probably be better in the hands of another studio. Perhaps this cinema atrocity will put them on the right path.
Transported to another dimension, four young outsiders gain superhuman powers which alter their physical form in shocking ways. Reed Richards (Miles Teller) becomes able to stretch and twist his body, while Reed's friend Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell) gains immense strength and a rock-like body. Johnny Storm (Michael B. Jordan) is able to control and project fire, while his sister Sue (Kate Mara) can become the invisible and generate force-fields. Together, the team must harness their new abilities to battle former colleague, Victor von Doom (Toby Kebbell) who poses a threat to Earth.
Really, that simple synopsis is everything that happens in this one hour and forty-six minute movie. They spend a lot of time showing us montages of the group creating an interdimensional transport, broken up with token bits of poorly done, awkward character development. Then they go to another dimension for a little while and acquire some powers. Then Doctor Doom shows up when the group attempts a second expedition and then they have to fight him. That's literally everything that happens. The first fight scene in this action movie is at the climax at the end! This might be the most boring and uneventful super hero movie to date.
I appreciate the fact that they were trying to get this new version of the Fantastic Four to be more character driven and more realistic on some level, but the result was so sloppy and poorly written. Compounding that with the fact that it takes itself very seriously makes it hard to enjoy. I understand that in the world of comic book based movies you have to allow for a certain level of whimsy, but so many plot devices and character abilities were left unexplained. As an example of these infractions, just because you can fly, your body can be engulfed in flame, and you can throw fire balls, doesn't really mean you have the strength or physical structure to smash through colossal stone pillars like Superman might. Why is this weird radiation energy from another dimension able to alter people's physiology, and why does it grant someone powers who had never gone to that other dimension? Why do they need space suits to traverse the other dimension early in the movie, but not later? Most of that could be explained with one or two lines of dialogue, but that wasn't bothered with.
One of the fun things about superhero movies is seeing our protagonists discover their newfound abilities. I love watching Tobey Maguire learn about his new powers in the first Spider-Man movie, or Tony Stark try to perfect his Iron Man suit. It's even funny watching Thor having to acclimate to a lack of powers he's always had. That scene was completely lacking in Fantastic Four. Our heroes make it back to our dimension unconscious, but exhibiting signs of their powers. Then we get a slow fade to black and a caption that says "One year later" and we catch up with everyone who has basically mastered their abilities by this point. It felt like we were being cheated of crucial character development and potential for humor. We didn't even get to see much of their reactions to new powers, let alone them trying to figure them out. It's stunts like this that made the movie much worse than it should have been.
There were several annoying changes made to the characters, some of which are really going to upset Marvel fans. Reed Richards is the most intelligent person in the Marvel Universe, and a couple of times, Victor erases and corrects Reed's calculations during a montage. An often critical device when fighting Doctor Doom in the comic books is that Reed is one of the few people that can outsmart him, but we're just going to ignore that, apparently. Doctor Doom was really bad, though. Doctor Doom's powers include technological manipulation and some mystical abilities like energy projectiles and creating protective shields. In this movie, he's psychic, telekinetic, can open gateways to other dimensions, can convert matter into energy, and can control rocks and apparently some weather. He just walks down the hall, and people die without him lifting a finger or even looking in their direction. Not only does he look too far off from what he is in the comic books, his powers and personality are so off the mark that he's basically not Doctor Doom at all. They don't even call him Doctor Doom in this movie, just "Doom" maybe once or twice. Doctor Doom is as far from his source material in Fantastic Four as Deadpool was in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and that disgraceful depiction of Deadpool made everyone furious!
I'd like to say that the graphics are at least good, and occasionally they were. There's a scene where Reed is trying to squeeze out of some constraints, and you see the muscles in his arm working even though his arm is stretched out. When you see him try to pull out of the constraints, still with his arm stretched, you can see his skin bunch up around the bands as he tries to free himself. Some things like that were pretty impressive. But there were other bits that were so lacking in refinement they may as well have come from a Sy-Fi Channel television movie, like Sharknado.
This latest Fantastic Four movie fails everything essential to make a good superhero movie. Good superhero movies need exciting action, colorful thrills, enticing visual effects, a few laughs, and characters we can relate to, root for, and watch grow and develop. Fantastic Four literally has none of that available. The story is extremely boring and slow. The first fight scene is at the end of the movie, for crying out loud! The characters aren't even likeable and are changed for the sake of the movie in all the wrong ways. The camera work was sloppy, transitions between scenes were often awkward and confusing, and the script is just terrible. The previous Fantastic Four movies were better than this, and that's saying something. This is the worst superhero movie I've seen since Daredevil or Elektra. I implore you not to see this in theaters; if this ends up as anything more than a box office bomb, Fox will just try to make a sequel. If for some reason you truly want to see this movie, wait for it on Redbox or something. It's certainly not worth the price of a movie ticket, and barely worth what you might spend to rent it.

Okay, what is the worst superhero movie you've ever seen? Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, any comic book series that has had a movie based on it. Comment below and let me know!

No comments:

Post a Comment