Growing up I read a lot of comics. Both from the Marvel and the DC stables. I had my favorites such as Captain America, Spiderman, Batman. Fantastic Four was always a group that would be hit or miss with me. I liked them enough to read the comics but was never a full fledged fan like I was with the super heroes.
When studios started making comic book movies it was very hit and miss. I’m not going to include the 70’s and 80’s Captain America live-actoin stuff or the live-action Spiderman shows. I’m going to start with Tim Burton’s Batman. !989 started to look like super hero movies were being done right. For the most part were. Buton’s Batman was, at the time one of the best super hero movies I had seen this side of the original Superman. Once Schumacher took over Batman things went downhill.
In between that time we had a Captain America film which was a catastrophe as well as a Fantastic 4 film. One of the only reasons this Fantastic 4 film was made was so the studio could keep the rights to the franchise. For better or worse this film was a film that really wasn’t supposed to be seen.
Now we have strong movies coming out of Marvel Studios as well as the road DC is paving working towards their Justice League movie. While all of this is going on 20th Century Fox decides to reboot or re-imagine the Fantasic 4.
The previous two outings of Fantasic 4 and Rise of the Silver Surfer were nothing special. They looked cheap, felt cheap and the stories fell short. This new Fantastic 4 movie was going to breathe new life into this faltering franchise. Were we finally going to get a good Fantastic 4 movie worthy of the license? Unfortunately not this time.
There has been a lot of controversy surrounding this movie and it mainly centres around Josh Trank, the director. He had a big hit with “Chronicle” and was also slated to work on Star Wars: Rogue One which he ultimately got fired from because of what was happening on the set of Fanastic 4.
Storiies of him being hard to work with surfaced, always whining, not knowing what to do on set, how he treated some of the actors. When word got out that he was trashing Fox for what they did to his film and how they ruined it, it started to look like it was Trank just being Trank. But after watching the film I’m not so sure.
Many liberties were taken with the movie on how the team got their powers. Even though it is a slight change. It when from getting blasted with cosmic rays from the comics to getting bombarded by the energy of a planet defending it self. Some reviews said they got their powers through time travel…not there is no time travel in the movie, there is though inter-dimensional travel, which si how the team find a planet that could help save the dying Earth. For the most part this works, but we are getting a head of ourselves.
The first part of the movie enthralled me. It was very well done; It showed that Trank knew how to do a slow burn and build on characters and also showed he could tell a good story. This version is definitely darker and it a fresh retelling of Fantastic 4 and I was loving it up until a point.
Miles Teller (Whiplash) plays Reed Richards, a brilliant young scientist that still has his schoolboy innocence as he gets brought on by Franklin Storm to work with his daughter Sue Storm (Kate Mara) in perfecting this machine that will allow for inter-dimensional travel. Also on the team is Victor Von Doom, played very well by Toby Kebbel. Later Franklin Storm brings his son Johnny Storm (Michael B Jordan) on board as well. I thought Jaime Bell was a great choice for Ben Grimm. he really brought some humanity to the character.
Trank, I thought did these characters justice for the first part of the movie. The tone was a more serious tone, a darker tone and I felt that really worked on captivating you to what’s happening on screen. This was a film that I felt was hand and feet above the other films and I started to think we might actually get a good Fantastic 4 film.
Enter Act 2. This is where you can tell re-shoots were done and other people were brought in to change this picture. To the studio there wasn’t enough action. This is where the reshoots come into play. All of the re-shoots pertained to the action sequences, which was pretty much the final battle and some shot scenes here and there. you can immediately tell someone else was calling the shots because the fell of the movie and the tone dramatically shifted from a darker movie to a very light comicbook style movie.
The acting took a hit, the dialogue took a hit and the effects took a hit. Throughout the first part of the movie the dialogue was pretty realistic and worked very well. The banter between the team felt right and things flowed smoothly. The grounded realistic approach to the Fantastic 4 worked. When the movie shifted gears that’s when everything fell apart and it fell apart rather quickly. So much in fact that it killed what could have been a really great super hero film.
The ending battle with Doom was so anti-climatic and the rushed ending will make you roll in your seats and throw your hands up in the air, it was just that bad. It’s too bad that the studio decided to step in and ultimately do things their way.
I really do feel bad for Trank. I have been bashing him lately because of the movie and him speaking out about why the movie was trashed and I chalked it up as a young director being a baby, but after seeing the movie I would really love to see Trank’s full vision of what he had in store for Fanastic 4. If I were to rate this film on just his part of it, it would be an easy 4 out of 5, but I’m rating this movie on a whole.
With subpar effects at the end of the movie and a jarring break in style and tone of the film I can not whole heartedly recommend this film to any one. Wait for VOD or Netflix. What started out as an awesome superhero movie tuned out to fall flat and become yet another terrible Fantastic 4 movie. I give this new version 1 out of 5.