Hollywood’s third attempt at making a blockbuster out of Marvel’s Fantastic Four hits cinemas across the globe this weekend. A new and young crop of actors and a little altering of the storyline are some of the changes that have been made to this new attempt. Did they finally get it right? Let’s have a look at what critics are saying.
More like the Unfantastic Four.
Fantastic Four feels like a 100-minute trailer for a movie that never happens. At this point in the ever-expanding cinematic superhero game, it behooves any filmmaker who gets involved to have at least a mildly fresh take on their characters and material, but this third attempt to create a worthy cinematic franchise from the first of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby‘s iconic comic book creations, which can genuinely claim to have launched the Age of Marvel, proves maddeningly lame and unimaginative. Die-hard fans will undoubtedly show up, but box-office results for this Fox release will fall far short of what Marvel achieves with its own in-house productions.
Joining Spider-Man in the annals of dizzyingly rapid reboots, Fox’s second stab at Fantastic Four comes just eight years after the first try and its sequel, which didn’t set the bar inordinately high. Yet if this latest version, with a significantly younger cast (one’s tempted to call it “Fantastic Four High”), clears that threshold, it’s just barely, drawing from a different source to reimagine the quartet’s origins without conspicuously improving them. All told, the movie feels like a protracted teaser for a more exciting follow-up that, depending on whether audiences warm to this relatively low-key approach, might never happen.
Where many recent superhero movies have risked overstaying their welcome, “Fantastic Four,” at 100 minutes, actually feels a tad rushed at the end, with a hasty climax that nevertheless produces some solid moments — at least a few of which, given the slow pace initially, probably should have come at least a half-hour sooner. Instead, filmgoers are treated to a lot of science, with the central characters gazing intently into computer screens.
I feel that I should preface this review by stating what a big fan I am of the Fantastic Four from the many iterations of the comic book, so my expectations have been high that someone someday will make a live-action Fantastic Four movie that works. Fox’s latest attempt, directed by Josh Trank of Chronicle fame, doesn’t necessarily get things wrong as much as it doesn’t get the things it needs to get right, which is a shame because there are a lot of interesting ideas that probably would have worked well in comic form.
That said, it starts in the laziest and least creative way possible showing Reed and Ben as kids, which is something that’s been used by Fox for many of their superhero movies already. It’s a scene used to establish Reed Richards as a super-genius who as a teenager impresses Reg E. Cathey’s Dr. Franklin Storm, who recruits him to work on a project along with his adopted daughter Sue and a Latverian hotshot named Victor von Doom (Toby Kebbell). The idea is to teleport to another dimension that can be explored in hopes of fixing some of the problems on Earth, but the government wants to get NASA involved so Reed recruits Ben, Johnny and Victor to take a test run to the dimension that goes horribly wrong.
While not nearly the disaster people seem to be expecting or hoping for, Fantastic Four should and could have been better because there was potential in some of its better ideas. Instead, it ends up being a fairly standard superhero movie, which makes one think that maybe the Fantastic Four just aren’t meant for a live-action movie.
These reviews do not exactly inspire confidence, but as a fan-boy, I’ll probably still watch it at my favourite cinema.
How about you, do you still have plans of seeing the movie even after the reviews? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.