Fantastic Four Review

The Plot

 When a group of young scientists teleport to an alternate universe, they each return with fantastic powers. Struggling to come to terms with their dramatic transformations, they need to learn to harness their newfound abilities to save our world.

The Good

The previous Fantastic Four films delivered fans unashamedly colourful and camp comic book adaptations, met with mixed reactions by fans and critics alike. This new reboot of Marvel’s first family perhaps predictably opts to go down a darker route, both visually and in tone. It’s an interesting move that at least initially works to add a slight edge to the Fantastic Four.

At the same time the film introduces a new generation of noticeably younger heroes with the combined talents of Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, and Jamie Bell. Likewise Toby Kebbel (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) takes on the role of Marvel’s most ominously named villain Victor Von Doom. It’s a promising crop of fresh faced stars that have each already proved themselves more than capable.

The Bad

Cynics feared that this hastily announced reboot was merely a rushed effort to ensure that Fox didn’t lose the valuable creative rights for the characters back to Marvel studios. Choosing an impressive cast and promising Chronicle director Josh Trank reassured fans that the studio did actually have serious plans. Unfortunately those best laid plans sadly failed to deliver entertaining results.

For the supposedly ambitious opening of a rebooted franchise, Fantastic Four is incredibly simplistic. It adds surprisingly little to a well know origin story and delivers CGI effects which are more drab but oddly often no more convincing than those of the often mocked 2005 film and its sequel.

Toby Kebbel is given no time at all to create a memorable nemesis. The film squanders one of the most iconic comic book villains, by offering mere hints at an intriguing but unexplored back story and vague explanations in place of real motivations. Likewise after slowly introducing our heroes and their fantastic gifts, the film gives them little chance to interact before a frantic final act that conveniently throws them instantly together as an oddly unconvincing team.

Ironically the one thing the previous Fantastic Four films arguably got right was the amusingly dysfunctional chemistry amongst the super powered family. The lack of humour, tension and heart in this new version becomes increasingly obvious as the film progresses and starts to sadly make many of the same mistakes as its much criticized predecessor.

After an overly long time spent barely developing the characters, setting up a sullen tone and introducing the main villain, the final act feels awkwardly rushed and unoriginal. The threat barely feels threatening to the main characters let alone the rest of the planet, while what little plot there is feels far too neatly tied up. Leaving any hopes of an improved sequel even less likely.

The Ugly Truth

Fantastic Four tries to offer a darker take on the familiar franchise but proves thoroughly disappointing despite combining an undeniably talented cast with a promising director. The only positive thing to be said is that at least there’s little danger of the promising stars being tied down by unnecessary sequels.

Review by Johnny Ellis

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