Movie Review: Fantastic 4

For being as much of a fan of superhero movies as I am, it will shock and disappoint you all to know I haven’t seen the first two Fantastic Four movies. I know. I’m sure you’re devastated in my love of superheroes to skip what I have heard are two of the worst superhero movies ever. But, I decided to give this a chance, even if it doesn’t have Michael Chiklis in it.

So where to start…ummm…okay…the trailer is pretty good?  Although, the Honest Trailer is even better.

Admittedly, I didn’t hate it, but I certainly didn’t love it. Fantastic 4 has the problem that I have noticed with other superhero movies in that it gets very formulaic. And in some instances, even though the film is formulaic, it can shake that off and provide enough elements around the film to distract from the formula of it. The formula goes something like this: build up of the good guys, getting to know them, drama, the good guys aren’t sure if they want to/can be good guys, worse drama, good guys decide they can be good guys, save everything, hooray.  It’s a predictable methodology for superhero movies, I get that.  But some superhero movies can follow that formula but not feel formulaic.  The massive fight scene in the Avengers clocks in around 45 minutes or something like that.  Action that intense and varied is what keeps you from noticing, “Hey, this all seems pretty similar.” Instead, you’re like, “Omg, did Captain America just throw Black Widow onto an alien?  Iron Man just flew through an alien and exploded it? That’s what I saw right?”  The great action and drama highlight the characters, not the formula.  This film did barely anything but build up the plot to an unbelievably anti-climatic fight scene.  Wow, you have to work as a team…how original…

One great thing about the film though is the amazingly underutilized cast.  This cast is freaking epic.  Miles Teller plays Reed Richards/Mr Fantastic.  Kate Mara is Sue Storm/Invisible Girl.  Michael B. Jordan is Johnny Storm/the Human Torch.  And Jamie Bell is Ben Grimm/the Thing.  I mean, c’mon.  Look at that cast! That is some amazing talent for leads.  And supporting cast featured Reg E. Cathey and Tim Blake Nelson.  But the thing about films is that even with an amazing cast, if the rest of the film is crap, the actors can only do so much.  This movie is called Fantastic 4, and not a single character gets referenced by their superhero moniker with the exception of the Thing at the very end in an offhand manner.  Just, why?  This is a superhero movie.  Are you trying to be avant-garde by not calling them by their alter egos?  Really, it’s just annoying.  With different…leadership…and by leadership I mean ownership of rights…*cough-give-it-back-to-Marvel-cough* this film could have been so amazing, especially with the talent leading it.

f4-characters-poster-us-203x300There was very little development of relationships between the characters, with the exception of the friendship between Reed and Ben.  That was an amazing addition, though I wondered if it appeared in the other film.  Because you got a sense of them growing up together, and Reed having these crazy ideas and Ben being fascinated by it all but not really sure how to deal with it but liking Reed anyway.  But there was very little of their relationship once Reed went to “genius camp.”  Development between a Reed/Sue relationship seemed to be brewing but left unexplored, besides Dr. Doom’s…I’m sorry…Victor Von Doom’s jealousy over her smiling at Reed.  Toby Kebbell plays Victor and he did smoldering annoyance quite well, it just wasn’t developed into anything more.  I’m not saying this dog of a film is entirely the fault of Twentieth Century Fox.  But what I am saying is that Marvel Studios would have done a much better job.  I have had this feeling for a while in terms of, I shall say it, mismanaged superhero movies.  I’m not saying Fox can’t do a good superhero film, I’m saying it isn’t their forte in my opinion.  At least this time we didn’t have to suffer through the objectification of the female character via her breasts hanging out/pushed into view constantly.

It’s not the worst, but it’s certainly not the best.  I would not go so far as to say it’s Fantastic. Ha, see what I did there. But if you like superhero movies and want to be consistent with the evolution of superhero films, it’s worth an hour and thirty minutes of your time.

Find it debuting on HBO SATURDAY, May 07 at 8:00pm.

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