Not So Fantastic Four, A Messy, Ridiculous, Bore

Fantastic Four

            Seems like superhero movies are taking over the theaters this year, as we get our third tale of heroic comic book characters in the span of three months. After Marvel’s last adventure about three weeks ago, I was hoping for the same type of magic in the latest retelling of the Fantastic Four. The trailers didn’t paint a pretty picture, but hope still remained that Marvel had gotten the formula right this time. What was the verdict? As always, please read on to find out.

I guess I should start out with the truth, this movie was not that good, and perhaps one of the weaker superhero movies in a while. Let’s start with the story. The beginning of the film wasn’t too bad, a fun and slightly humorous introduction to our protagonists. The background story was realistic, and had some good team building moments, though it was a bit dull. Then comes the incident. It’s been a while since I reviewed the Fantastic Four lore, but this movie centers on the theme of our team set on traversing across the space-time continuum to an alternate dimension. And like always, a sudden, and very conventional set of circumstances happen that leads our team to developing powers. Now I’m not caught up on the dimension thing, but the delivery was horrible as the circumstances suddenly just happen. This hasty mess of loud noises and bright flashes, led to a rapid, chaotic, and rather cheesy transition into their familiar forms. And from there it only got worse, the plot continued to spiral downward as a hasty culmination of shallow plots. To me it seemed like they couldn’t settle on where to take the story, and mashed things together to cover their bases and give an excuse for action. It didn’t work, the details were all in a frenzy and shallower than a kiddie pool and incredibly disappointing. No training, no coming to grip with powers, not even a legitimate introduction to the villain, only a boring mess of half-hearted scenes whose only use was to show off the special effects.

Speaking of special effects, Fantastic Four has some decent CGI work, though nowhere near the best. Our groups powers were nicely animated, each well edited into the real time acting to give a smooth transition from actor to super actor. In particular, the Thing looked much better from the earlier counterpart in the fact that he didn’t look like a latex covered linebacker, though he didn’t look much better. And Reed Richard’s stretch power was a little stiff and exaggerated, but surprisingly some of the best action. Speaking of action, this movie was not that good in the action department either. Sure the animation for the powers was decent, but the action was just as disorganized as the story. Our heroes primarily used their powers in quick shots, often a quick sequence to show the “struggles” of training or mindlessly destroying some military equipment. When the epic finale hit, there was not much improvement, with a little strategy amidst the flashy display of computer generated powers. A shame they didn’t study the work of previous Marvel movies that were successful.

Acting wise the movie isn’t that good either, most of the time our group lacks any emotion in their dialogue and when they finally do get emotional they go overboard. Most of it is shouting, or very sad attempts at crying, that tried to show they had a side outside of their intellectual side. Surprisingly the emotion came when they were trying to reason with everyone, which often calls for logic not emotion to be successful. Silly directors. And Doom’s character, especially after the event, was very dry, monotone, and much different from the evil genius we have come to know. The best character for this reviewer , was the Dr. Storm (Reg. E. Cathey) who was the best balance of intellect and emotion in the movie, which wasn’t hard to do.

So what did I actually like from this movie? We start with the musical score, a nice symphony of instruments that helped add a little spark of life to this rather mundane movie. The generic tracks they designed have some emotional drive to them, and I’m always a fan of the scores that represent a new frontier to explore. The second aspect is that they did get the movie done in under two hours and minimized my suffering through this picture, though perhaps this could have been the factor that caused it to be rushed in the first place. Finally the lovely Kate Mara was a good component to this movie, her acting a little awkward at times, but her beauty as a blonde was nice to see on the big screen. Props have to go out to the costume department as well, whose costumes and makeup mostly brought the characters to life.

Fantastic Four is a series that struggles to get a real life adaptation. I applaud the team for trying, but Marvel needs to go back to the drawing board for this series. If a sequel is in the works, they need to do some serious homework to right the wrongs they made. This reviewer cannot recommend seeing this installment, and encourages you to check out Antman instead. If you are looking for a movie this weekend, you need to lean towards the Gift or Shaun The Sheep instead, whose reviews are mostly positive.

My scores are:

Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi: 5.0

Movie Overall: 4.5

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