Fantastic Four [MOVIE REVIEW]

I almost stopped myself from reviewing it because I continuously felt there was no point in even talking about it as it has become quite universally recognized as a failure and practically every single person that even cares knows exactly why and has looked up everything that was wrong with it. Despite this, after I saw it I still decided to ultimately do it so here we go.

For me, I was never really looking forward to this film in the first place. I was a fan of the director Josh Trank's earlier film 'Chronicle' so the movie had that going for it but the trailers (while definitely well put together) just made the film look so horribly bland and typical. Like if you were imagining how to Nolanize a 'Fantastic Four' movie - this is the result. The same thing happened with 'The Amazing Spider-Man' movie back in 2012 and guess what... that film was not very good either. The real issue here though is obviously what everyone has been saying, this film has been hacked to pieces and scrambled together, making it a mess that barely resembles anything the trailers promised to offer us. Really I do not want to hate on the film because I do not really dislike any of the people behind it - but Fox really brought this upon themselves in one of the most disrespectful and brainless decisions I have seen a studio make in quite a while.

I do want to get the good stuff out of the way first though and believe me - there are things I liked. If I had not been aware of the insane things going on during its production and I was not aware of the universal hate towards the film, I may have thought this was going to be a decent film about 20 minutes in. There were clear character development and arcs being set up and I quite enjoyed the interaction between them. A lot of people were not really into the first act either and found it quite boring but I honestly did not mind it that much. Yes it was slow but it was not tedious in my opinion. That may be because I am not really against slow moving movies and I imagine quite a lot of people that were interested in this film mainly watch blockbusters.

The real kicker in this film comes when we get the now infamous "1 Year Later" titlecard which threw the film down the biggest dive-bomb I think I have ever seen. Everything that was set up just got completely dropped when that titlecard appeared and the film very noticeable changed completely and just became a mess that ultimately makes me unable to even call this a "movie". This is a shell of what it could have been and it is really depressing when you can so obviously see exactly what has been reshot and what was in the original script - and it is really no surprise that the best aspects of the film was everything that was NOT reshot. I am interested in watching some kind of director's cut if that would ever get released (although I highly doubt it) as I feel like this really deserves its due because just remembering it as an awful movie feels rather underserving for something that could have been surprisingly good if the studio had not meddled with the production too much (and a script they HAD to have had approved before it went into production - which means they suddenly changed their mind MID-production and decided to take scenes out). It really cannot be understated how insane that "1 Year Later" titlecard is. It simply is something that has to be seen to be believed just how big of a dip in quality the movie takes once that happens.

So many character arcs that were introduced just gets dropped without even a mention in the second half. So many things that obviously felt like they were setting something up - do not get a payoff. I shall give you an example; when they are about to teleport to that other dimension, Reed gets his buddy Ben to join them (he calls him up in the middle of the night and practically says "we are not going until you join us". We all know what happens when they arrive in that other dimension and naturally... Ben turning into The Thing should probably have opened up a huge conflict between him and Reed seeing as Reed was the guy who made him go there in the first place. It is a bit different between what happened to The Thing and what happened to everyone else as those other three members - still look like themselves. The Thing has become a freaking rock monster. I was thinking in my head "oh this is going to lead to some really interesting conflicts between the two - I cannot wait to see that!" - and then they drop it. They drop everything. This is ultimately an origin story so you NEED scenes were they learn how to control their powers - and how they FEEL about getting these powers. But of course that "1 Year Later" titlecard skips all of that in one swoop.

What we have here is a movie that has no clue what it wants to be. Of course Josh Trank had an idea - but due to the studios heavy involvement we have so many different types of movies and none of them ends up working. Like I said, we have the gritty Nolanized version of the 'Fantastic Four', we also have a David Cronenberg type body-horror (with some very obvious parallels to 'The Fly' in particular), and we also have a horribly generic comic book movie by the end. While having all of these things in a 'Fantastic Four' movie obviously does not work - the movie does not even try as it just jumps around to all of these different movies and never really settles for one specific tone. The repercussions of this is that this ends up being a movie for noone. Dr.Doom exploding people's heads with his mind-power (or whatever) is too horrific for children (I thought it was awesome by the way), the final 30 minutes is too corny and stupid for adults and the entire movie is too dry and slow moving for anyone who wants to see a blockbuster in general.

Overall, while I kind of enjoyed the first act... really there is still nothing too special about those 25-30 minutes and the rest of the film is dull and lifeless - and that "1 Year Later" titlecard takes an already pretty bad movie and just turns it into probably the worst thing I have seen in a major blockbuster since 'Transformers: Age of Extinction'. The writing is terrible, the directing is dry and uninspired, the idea of a dark and gritty 'Fantastic Four' movie just does not work in the first place, the actors try their hardest but just end up playing characters with only hints of personalities and of course, whatever they movie sets up in the first act - is never even brought up again.


- Lucas


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