Fantastic Four: nauseatingly bad

Posted on 13 August 2015
By James Burcher
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Before heading into this movie, I was unsure whether I wanted it to succeed or not- Part of me wants to see a good Fantastic Four movie and see the group actually get a good ride for once. At the the same time, I feel as if the likes of Doctor Doom and co. are being wasted by not being in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and that Fox are keeping them away purely out of spite.

So I was happy regardless of the outcome, but nothing could have prepared me for the utterly ridiculous and absurd nature of this movie. The Fantastic Four, as a brand are now toxic beyond recovery, I would be astonished if we see them in another feature film for a generation.

They have 2 other fairly terrible movies, but this one trumps them all by a long way. At a running time of 100 minutes, it was so painfully obvious that large chunks had been left on the cutting room floor and the narrative had been patched together with re-shoots.

The first half isn’t too bad in all honesty, it’s ok, nothing special but it’s not horrendous. It dithers a bit and maybe spent a bit too long on the character’s childhood and introducing everyone but other than that, I couldn’t see what the big deal was for the most part.

There was just one thing; it irked me how downright boorish everyone was. From teachers to government officials everyone seems to treat the main characters with contempt, just because the narrative said so as far as I can see.

Dan Castellaneta makes a bizarre cameo as Reed Richards’ teacher and is about as encouraging as a school bully. He treats what appears to be a star student and clearly a very clever boy, with genuine disdain. Richards’ is probably around ten years old in these scenes and is talking about supercomputers and other things that are very much real in 2007, and despite this, the teacher tells him “you were supposed to make a presentation about a real job from the real world”.

Cut to seven years later, Reed, now a teenager, has pretty much invented teleportation and the teacher says, no joke; “I’m not seeing any science here, this is magic.” This theme continues with every other adult figure he meets, it’s absolutely laborious and makes no sense.

What really kills this movie, no in fact, murders this movie is the ‘1 year later’ hard-cut half way through. Just as the characters acquire their powers, the rug is pulled from under us and all momentum is halted. Up until the very end of the film, the only action sequence we get are a few seconds of The Thing beating up a tank on a screen, that’s literally it. There was an attempt an a character arc for Richards but he disappears for a good chunk of the film and returns with a interesting plot point about a suit which is then immediately abandoned when he comes back to the group.

He also has a falling out with his friend Ben Grimm, (The Thing) which is also glossed over and immediately abandoned as they return to being good friends almost instantly in the next scene as if nothing had ever happened.

This film even manages to make a mess of one of Marvel’s best and most inconic villains in Doctor Doom. Toby Kebbell actually played Victor von Doom fairly well before he ‘dies’ half way through. I think Kebbell is a good actor and I loved him in Black Mirror, but he’s totally tied down in the last 15 minutes as his costume is abhorent, the script is terrible.

He is inexplicably nerved for the final fight, despite the fact that moments earlier, he was killing people by simply glancing at them. Speaking of which, even his powers are poorly defined; there’s no explanation, he just looks at things and sometimes they blow up.

Due to the fact that he first appears with about 15 minutes left (they introduce the main villain with 15 minutes left… Seriously) there is no opportunity to even remotely flesh the character out and his motivations are just not explained at all.

This film manages to feel empty, but yet also rushed, as if there are loads of scenes missing, but still dawdles on nothing moments. I haven’t even got to the science lingo yet, which is cringe worthy beyond belief. They seem to just use jargon at random and it was verging on insulting at times.

This film has re-writes, studio interference and continuity errors all over it. It’s a giant shame which not only has done irreversible damage to the Fantastic Four brand, but also damage to Marvel. It’s clear that Fox is keeping hold of the brand out of spite which is both childish and of no use to anyone anymore.

The Fantastic Four as a film IP is now dead in the water, I think the planned sequel will almost definitely be scrapped and the only logical course of action would be for Fox to enter into an agreement with Marvel Studios to use their licensed characters in future MCU films. If they get the likes of Doom, Galacticus and others back, Marvel will finally be able to pit their A-List villains against their A-List heroes in future MCU films, which is better for everyone.

If i had it my way, I wouldn’t expect to see the Fantastic Four on screen again for a very long time.