What the everloving f**k was that?
I never thought I’d live to see the day where I want to watch the Jessica Alba “Fantastic Four” movies again, but here we are. Ten years after that attempt, we get what should be the first quality “Fantastic Four” movie, mimicking much of what Christopher Nolan did after “Batman & Robin” with “Batman Begins.”
With “Chronicle” director Josh Trank behind the camera and talented actors Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara and Jamie Bell in front of the camera playing the eponymous team, it seems like it has potential, right?
That’s all this movie has: potential, and it’s wasted from the start.
Make no mistake, “Fantastic Four” is atrocious in every sense of the word. I didn’t really have great expectations for the film, but I at least expected to leave the theater with my will to live. Writing this, I still can’t comprehend the movie I just saw, as it literally makes no sense to me whatsoever. I feel as if I haven’t even seen the film, just an extended trailer for a movie that doesn’t actually exist, a movie that exists in an alternate universe where this should be good.
Why should it be good? Because of Teller, Jordan, Mara and Bell, who are four of the best working young actors in the business today, which may not be the case after this weekend falls into theaters. These actors have all been in critically acclaimed work, performing wonders on the screen, and yet, I get the vibe that they’re putting as much effort into this film as an underfunded high school drama program puts effort into its production of “Mulan Jr.”
Perhaps I only feel this way because of the script, which features some of the worst dialogue spoken by veteran actors in years. It gives way to terribly stiff acting, even from Mr. Fantastic. Barbie could have more flexibility.
On top of the terrible dialogue, the film has absolutely no structure whatsoever, as it’s completely missing a second act or even half of a final act, for that matter. The film builds in its first act for a good 80 minutes before jumping directly into the final battle scene, which lasts a total of 5 minutes and features little to no action whatsoever — no menace, no stakes, no excitement, nothing of any value whatsoever.
On top of that, let’s take into account that the film loves to jump around its timeline, leaving out critical parts of the story simply to speed up the process of the film. This leaves the film feeling even more disjointed than it already is and leaves the audience in the dark on most of the things that should make The Fantastic Four, well, The Fantastic Four. Even leaving out several parts of the trailer that seemed critical to the story. It’s simply a mess on a massive scale.
There have been rumors that director Josh Trank showed up to set many times high on something and was barely able to talk, prompting screenwriter/producer Simon Kinberg to help him direct much of the film. From what I saw on screen tonight, it certainly seems like Trank was drunk behind the camera, utilizing the most basic of camera techniques, horrendous CGI effects that look straight out of “Scooby Doo,” taking cues from better movies before it, mirroring the work of a film student (like myself) and simply just desecrating what could’ve been a good movie.
Gone are the days of fun “Fantastic Four” movies because while the first series was pretty bad, you can at least admit it to be cheesy fun in the process. This new rendition of “Fantastic Four” has no fun to be found whatsoever. It wallows around in its own darkness like an emo teenager refusing to let the world tell them anything while they listen to “Blood on the Dance Floor” on repeat in their Hot Topic garb. If I wasn’t laughing from being so baffled at how horrendous this was, I was bored to tears.
The stakes don’t exist in this film, simply because our villain, Dr. Doom, is the most underdeveloped villain I’ve ever seen. He’s simply evil for the sake of providing a villain for our team to fight against. Not only that, he shows up so late in the film that he has no menacing entrance, motives or even any purpose. He exists because we have to feed the conventions of a typical superhero movie and make him lead the third act to its epic finale.
Oh wait — there was no epic finale. This film simply leads our characters into a battle that should’ve been in the beginning of the film as the first battle, not the final one. Not only that, it’s so anticlimactic that I was honestly confused when it ended. I thought that the projector must have had a glitch and skipped ahead about 45 minutes, but alas, I was not correct. The film ended, and I wasn’t sure whether I was pleased by that or not.
The cast of this film deserves better than this because “Fantastic Four” is one of the worst films I’ve seen in years. It’s worse than “Hot Pursuit,” and yes, even worse than “Aloha.” I was honestly baffled at the entire affair and how any cast of any caliber, let alone this one, managed to become part of this disaster.
This honestly has to be the most misguided attempt at a reboot I’ve ever seen, and, unfortunately, it even makes me like the cast of the film less. Jordan should be able to recover with “Creed” later this year, and Teller has the rest of the “Divergent” series to feel out, but I’m legitimately concerned for the careers of Bell and Mara, as they don’t have many tentpoles to hang onto at this point.
Trank, as a director, is fair game at this point, as he was recently fired from directing a “Star Wars” spin-off, which, after seeing how this film turned out, was probably a wise decision.
There was a point in “Fantastic Four” where I slid out of my seat into the floor of the movie theater and simply sat there out of frustration. Even now, over 1000 words later, I’m still in awe at what an atrocity this was and how it came to be.
Fox has a sequel for this film set for June 2017. For humanity’s sake, I’m hoping they call it off. This truly is a disaster and a terrible movie for the history books. File it right next to “Batman & Robin,” but at least that one is funny enough to laugh along to. This movie just made me want to drink away my sorrows.
Directed by: Josh Trank
Starring: Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell, Toby Kebbell, Reg E. Cathey, Tim Blake Nelson, Tim Heidecker.
Runtime: 100 minutes
Rating: PG-13 for sci-fi action violence and language.
Twentieth Century Fox presents, in association with Constantin Film and Marvel Entertainment, a Marv Films/Kinberg Genre/Robert Kulzer production, “Fantastic Four”