Boy oh boy. The buzz on the interwebs was never very good for this movie. With all the rumours of the erratic behaviour of director Josh Trank during the filming of the film, and the numerous re-shoots that were said to have been done to fix the movie, all signs pointed to a train-wreck in the making. So frankly I wasn’t looking forward to seeing the Fantastic Four reboot when it came out. But fear not worthy reader, I took one for the team and watched the latest foray of Marvel’s first family just so you wouldn’t have to.
The movie starts of promisingly enough, laying the groundwork for all the science behind the origin of the superheroes, following Reed Richards from childhood, where he is a brilliant, if socially awkward child, pursuing the secrets of teleportation with his friend Ben Grimm. What they discover instead is inter-dimensional travel. Cut to present day and Richards, along with Ben, Victor Von Doom, Sue and Johhny Storm find themselves imbued with special abilities after being irradiated by cosmic goop from another dimension when they test their inter-dimensional machine.
Now, there have been three attempts already to bring the Fantastic Four onscreen with mixed results. While none of the previous versions have been totally successful, they do have a certain charm about them, their campiness and family dynamic helping to elevate the movies above their sub-par stories. Alas, the reboot can’t even rely on humour and campiness to save it. This movie is as dark and gritty and humourless as it can get, with a drab colour palette and nary a trance of camaraderie or sense of family.
Add to this scenes that look like they have been shot by different directors (which they probably had), animation effects that would have been at home in a college students video project, and probably the worst design of a super-villain since the diarrhea-inspired Parallax from the Green Lantern movie, and you have a product that I’m still amazed was released by Fox Studios. Surely they must have seen the final cut and thought, “We can’t release this mess”? I guess this must have snuck past quality control.
What is really frustrating is that there is the foundation of a great sci-fi story here. And given that the cast of the movie are among the top young actors in Hollywood today, there was so much potential to finally get a Fantastic Four movie worthy of the Marvel franchise. Alas it’s not to be. I’m not sure whether the fault lies with Josh Trank, or whether it’s due to studio meddling, but one thing is for certain, the only way we are going to get a decent Fantastic Four movie is if the rights revert back to Marvel. Until then, let’s give the Fantastic Four a rest, and hope that the cinema going public soon forget this unfortunate misfire.
I give Fantastic Four a 3 out of 10.