Movie Review: Fantastic Four

Fantastic Four starring Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Bell

Warning: Spoilers!

The original two Fantastic Four movies were not well received. Personally i enjoyed Silver Surfer, but it still wasn’t a good enough improvement on the first film to merit a third. So now we have the reboot, which has gone in an entirely different direction with tone and style. So what worked? The casting for a start, was spot on. Miles Teller is spot-on as the nerdy outcast yet ambitious scientist Reed Richards and Sue (Kate Mara) and he bond far more believably than the previous origin story managed. Michael B. Jordan is fun as the wise-cracking Johnny and Reg. E. Cathey lends some gravitas as their father Franklin Storm. Aside from the casting the darker tone meant this didn’t feel like a total rehash of the original (which was the main problem with the Amazing Spiderman – it was too similar to Spiderman 1 to win audiences over completely – though i do like it). Given the low budget compared to some superhero films the special effects hold up pretty well, and the soundtrack is unremarkable but effective.

The best thing in the film? Without a doubt, it’s Doom. Victor himself is a far more believable, less OTT version of the character, but it’s after his transformation that Doom really shines. In the original films, you could believe that any of the Four could hold their own against Dr. Doom. In this one, you can’t. He’s far more powerful, menacing and scary (mainly down to his new ability to implode people’s heads – which was depicted far more graphically than i expected in a 12A film) In general this is the one thing this film got right compared to the previous attempts – it’s depiction of the heroes and Doom’s powers is much better.

Unfortunately, i just ran out of good things to say about the movie. The friend who i saw this with wouldn’t have even had that many positives – she totally hated it. Most other reviews I’ve seen were mixed to negative as well. This one is mixed – but if the sequel doesn’t improve things then they should scrap it again. For a relatively short film (just over 1h 40) it’s spends an awful lot of time on build up (which would be fine if it had been 2h 30, but as it is half the film feels like set-up, which is never good). To put this in perspective, it takes nearly 50 minutes before they acquire their powers and another 35 before Doom comes face to face with them – the last 15 minutes are pretty epic, but come far too late and for far too little time.

Other reviews criticised the four’s lack of chemistry, but I’d argue that’s down to the limited amount of screen time they share rather than the actors. I suspect yet again the studio is to blame for this (it is Fox after all) because the final 30 minutes feel very rushed (like a lot was cut perhaps) and the heroes only get one real confrontation with Doom . Can studio execs f*** off and let directors do their jobs please (after all X:Men The Last Stand, Spiderman 3 and Amazing Spiderman 2 have all been worse than they should have been for this reason – and this film is another case in point). The pacing is the film’s biggest problem by a long way. Overall there are some good ideas and casting here. But the script, pacing and plot are so weak it’s hard to notice them. I was going to give this film 3 out of 5, but because it was so much weaker than it should have been I’ll have to knock that down to…

Rating: 2.5 of 5. It’s officially as bad as Iron Man 2 and as much of a wasted opportunity as The Last Stand. Well done Fox…

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