Fantastic Four Sucked (But It Was Still Not As Bad As Green Lantern)

Fantastic Four was much reviled by the Marvel comics masturbatory fanboy community. To be honest, they weren’t wrong. This movie is bad. But it isn’t the incoherent piece of shit I had been led to believe. The story isn’t good, but it does make sense, and there is a general sense of cohesion. Watching it, you can’t tell there was so much behind-the-scenes turmoil.

The main problem is the story. It is woefully generic. From the moment the opening shot fades in, you have already seen all of this before. The main character, played by Miles Teller, is a boy genius who is ridiculed by his luddite teacher, Homer Simpson. Of course, Teller invented a teleportation device in his garage by hooking up a bunch of Nintendo 64s.

Teller keeps working on the device throughout the course of middle school and high school (and his luddite teacher follows him for some reason), and eventually gets disqualified from a science fair, because the luddite thinks it’s magical or something. I don’t know, it’s idiotic.

A few moments later, BBQ Guy From House of Cards shows up with Kate Mara From House of Cards. They come from a big company/university/something, and have been building their own teleportation device. They haven’t been able to make theirs work properly. This being a braindead movie, of course, the scrappy kid with no resources was able to do something a mega-corporation with unlimited funds couldn’t. So, they bring Teller along with them to get their own device up and running.

The next forty minutes or so are painfully boring scenes of dialogue and “character building.” I put that in quotation marks, because you don’t actually learn anything about the characters other than they are one-dimensional comic book tropes. They spend too much time trying to get the audience to buy into the “realistic science” they are trying to do. Sorry, but when your main character turns into Stretch Armstrong, trying to make things realistic is an exercise in futility.

Eventually, the machine works. It teleports shit to another planet/dimension/something. Teller and three other dudes go there without permission. They IMMEDIATELY fuck things up, and the planet tries to kill them/becomes unstable/something. What follows is the most hilarious scene in a modern-day superhero movie.

The characters race back to the device to return home, but while they do that, the planet pummels each of them with a different element which will inform their superpowers. Jamie Bell gets showered with rocks, Michael B. Jordan erupts in fire, and Teller — well, I’m not sure why he got all stretchy, that wasn’t clear. Anyway, I was laughing my ass off. After that, the device teleports them back to Earth. A shockwave bursts out, and Mara gets caught in it. She is then able to develop force fields and become invisible because reasons.

So, an hour into a 1 hour and 40 minute movie, the superheroes finally get their powers. What a crock of shit. From that point on, the movie rushes to come up with a bad guy, a crisis, and throw the team together to save the day.

Toby Kebbell played the villain, Dr. Doom. He is rescued from the other planet by NASA. He doesn’t want to be rescued, so he immediately starts killing everyone, including BBQ Guy From House of Cards. Once he returns to his planet, he creates a teleportation device/wormhole/something out of a bunch of rocks (*facepalm*), and will use that to destroy Earth by stealing all its trees like in Spaceballs.

The four heroes assemble. They master their superpowers in about five minutes. Even though they don’t like each other, they form a unified force and expertly defeat Dr. Doom. It’s pretty lame, and the final battle seems like an afterthought.

The second major problem with the film is the third act. It is decidedly low-stakes. Sure, Dr. Doom wants to destroy Earth, but there is no tension at all. He had no nefarious plan, and there was no buildup. He just arrives, says he’s going to kill everyone, and then is defeated, all within the space of about 15 minutes. Lame.

The acting is passable, but everyone appears bored. Either that, or they knew the script sucked, so they were just doing the bare minimum to earn their paychecks. The directing is serviceable, but offers nothing unique, no original flare; it could have been directed by anyone. The special effects are surprisingly good, so at least the movie has that going for it.

Apparently, there was a lot of turmoil behind the scenes with Teller showing up drunk on set, director Josh Trank being batshit crazy and letting his dogs ruin a rental house, reshoots up the wazoo to add more action (which means the original cut must have had no action), and the cast acting like assholes to one another.

Despite all this dominating the other reviews, none of it comes through in the finished film. It is polished, coherent, and the narrative flows well. Any animosity the cast might have had for one another doesn’t come through in the acting. Everyone seems to have behaved as professionals once the cameras were rolling. I don’t believe drama behind-the-scenes tanked this movie, but rather the insipid plot and lack of ingenuity in bringing these characters to life.

The other big point of contention amongst Marvel fanboys was making Human Torch into a black character. Jordan plays him well. The funny thing is that it’s a complete non-issue in the film. It changes nothing about the character. His race absolutely does not matter. He delivers a decent performance; he’s the best actor in the movie, but completely hamstrung by the shit around him.

Fantastic Four is not the worst superhero movie ever made. And it isn’t the trainwreck most reviews have made it out to be. At the very least, it’s better than Green Lantern, which holds the title of Worst Superhero Movie Ever Made. But at least that movie was memorable for how bad it was. Fantastic Four is ultimately forgettable, and that might be a worse crime.

Verdict: Shitty

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August 2017


BrikHaus - Find me on Bloggers.com

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