Fantastic Four is definitely an option for moviegoers this weekend, an option for moviegoers who are interested in films that reach the epitome of boredom. The film was chock full of torpidity. Fantastic Four was co-written and directed by Joshua Trank in a style that can only be described as befuddlement.
Basing its revised storyline on the 2004 Ultimate Fantastic Four books, the movie takes place for the most on a planet (“Planet Zero”) coursing with living, liquid energy, which looks like something a 13-year old could have created with a green screen and a Macbook. Fantastic Four restricts its gifted young cast to what appears to be sets built largely in Industrial warehouses. When dealing with a universe that is as vast as Marvel, the audience expects big, and Fox’s effort behind the production design is nothing short of a High School production of Grease. Miles Teller’s Reed Richards utters “you made it ugly” after seeing what the government has done to update his teleportation design which was built in the time since the initial accident. No Kidding, Reed! Everything about this movie was ugly from the effects, to the production design, to even the script that is wrought with issues.
The plot follows a rough formula that most of us expect in a Fantastic Four picture: After an accident at the Baxter Institute for deplorable reboots, science super whiz Reed Richards becomes Mister Fantastic, pure elastic. Sue Storm (Kate Mara) can make a blueish ball do cool things; Reed’s pal, Ben Grimm, (Jamie Bell) turns into The Thing, made of rock; and Johnny Storm (Michael B. Jordan – who’s probably just counting down the days till Creed hits theaters) becomes the Human Torch. Their nemesis is Victor Von Doom (Toby Kebbell- who portrays Doom with all the gravitas of an impudent child) who just wants to destroy Earth and fix Planet Zero.
There are some people who will praise this film as being character centric and a departure from your “normal” super hero films. I don’t have a problem with a director or a writer going in a different direction, but I do take issue with it when the movie is maddeningly unbalanced. This isn’t Steel Magnolias or Streetcar Named Desire, this is a superhero movie about four kids who accidentally fall into super powers. The melodramatics water down the action rather than intensify the characters. You can give me an origin story, but I don’t need their entire life story for crying out loud. I want some action! Out of the 106 minutes of this eyesore of a film, 80% of the action takes place in the final 15 minutes of the movie. That’s not balance, that’s a one-sided endeavor.
Some will also praise its “War and Peace” like origin story as an effective way to set up future Fantastic Four films. Viewers shouldn’t have to accept the idea that “oh … just you wait … its coming … it will all make sense when we do the next Fantastic Four movie”, the burden of entertainment falls solely on the filmmaker, not the audience. Furthermore, there was not one thing in this movie that got me even remotely excited for any future installments of the Fantastic Four. This abomination had as much excitement as a colonoscopy.
What a Fantastic Bore.