Sunday, August 9

Fantastic Four Review

Fantastic Four
Dir: Josh Trank
Starring: Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Bell, Kate Mara, Reg E. Cathey, and Toby Kebbell

A new superhero movie seems to be coming out every few months, that’s exciting for comic book fans but also a risky gamble to maintain that old mantra of “quality versus quantity”. It unfortunately would seem that the “quantity” aspect has won out with the latest comic book property the “Fantastic Four”. It’s a seemingly rushed film that lacks on numerous levels, most notably the primary reason fans flock to the theaters…because they want to be entertained.

The film starts at the beginning, with a young Reed Richards (Owen Judge/Miles Teller) standing at the front of the class telling his bewildered classmates about a science project that would allow his machine to transfer matter from one dimension to another parallel one. No one believes him except Ben Grimm (Evan Hannemann/Jamie Bell), who helps Reed complete the machine only to have it blow the power in the entire neighborhood.

Director Josh Trank, who helmed the ingenious science fiction film “Chronicle” in 2012, sets up the origin in a great way. Introducing the audience to these pivotal friends before they become supporting superheroes helps establish their bond, an emotional component that connects them beyond the conflicts that are coming. We see these two characters grow from inquisitive kids to exceptionally gifted teenagers who are targeted by a research center in Manhattan.

Franklin Storm (Reg E. Cathey) is trying to accomplish the same result as Reed’s experiment; Franklin recruits Reed to join his team that also includes his daughter Sue (Kate Mara). Upon arrival in Manhattan work begins quickly once two new members join the team. Franklin’s son Johnny (Michael B. Jordan) joins after crashing his vehicle in a racing incident and Victor von Doom (Toby Kebbell), a brooding intellect who left the research center, joins reluctantly. The team, amidst pressure from a government agency that plans to take over the project, sneaks a secret trip to the parallel dimension but things go terribly wrong resulting in unexpected powers for the team.

The film feels like one long, exaggerated introduction. It’s hard to call it an origin story because it takes nearly half the movie to finally explain how this team gained the super powers displayed in every trailer for this film. The film drags along after the quick introduction of the characters as children, before the top billed cast takes over acting duties, which is when the entire tone of the film stalls completely. The first ten minutes displays promise, only to then lose grasp of the narrative movements and linger aimlessly towards the wrap-up. You’ll wonder to yourself, once the villain returns, why there is nothing intimidating or threatening about him. It’s because nothing has been earned, a quality that unfortunately exists with a majority of these characters.

“Fantastic Four” is a missed opportunity to make up for past incarnations of the comic book super team. Other superhero films have made even secondary comic characters completely interesting and entertaining, the same attention should have been given to these iconic characters in the Marvel comic book universe.

Monte’s Rating

1.50 out of 5.00

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