Fantastic Four isn’t a good movie. It could have been, and that’s disappointing. Over the past year there have been rumors of issues from Fox about the director Josh Trank. He apparently trashed a house, and possibly came to work stoned. Fox executives then may have banned him from working on any post production work (Uproxx Story). Trank also tweeted out that he had a fantastic version of the film and it would have received great reviews. The tweet was then deleted, but lives on in screenshots (Polygon). It seems like there are two sides to this story. With these rumors and issues I can see why the movie feels so unbalanced and disorganized. The first half of the movie is interesting, or it was to me. The second half or last third just falls off a cliff and dies on impact.
I really liked the trailers for the film, and thought with the cast and Trank as the director it would be a good movie. While I wasn’t as high on Chronicle as others, it was still a good first effort from Trank. Fantastic Four had elements of Chronicle in it. Trank built a compelling story in the first act. I liked the interactions with the main members of the cast, and thought they had decent chemistry. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t horrible either. When we see them get their powers is the part I enjoyed the most out of the movie. They become monsters, and I felt this point was conveyed extremely well. Reg Cathey, who plays Franklin Storm, does a great job of capturing a father’s fear and anguish over what has happened to his children. It’s after this point where the movie takes a nose dive.
The strangest thing at this point in the movie is it jumps ahead an entire year. It makes no sense to do this in the movie. It feels like there was about thirty to forty five minutes of footage of this film left in the editing room. This could have filled the yearlong gap in our characters lives. The movie isn’t long, only at an hour and forty minutes of runtime. They could have had more movie to flesh out the story. It was just a weird time hop, and then the movie rushes to a conclusion and final fight with Dr. Doom. If there is one thing everyone is upset about it is the films’ waste of Dr. Doom. I have never read the comics, so I’m not sure what Doom’s special powers are or what type of villain he is supposed to be. I do know he is wasted in this film.
What stinks is I think this villain could have been good. I just don’t know if he was needed for the movie. They could have saved him until the second installment (If there is going to be one). He had some cool powers. I liked a few of his scenes at the end during the fight. They should have went a different way and had the team fight the military which was holding them hostage. This would have made for a better ending. We are more connected to the government as the villain in this movie than we are to Dr. Doom. Tim Blake Nelson plays Dr. Allen from the government and is truly the main antagonist of the film. I really wish he wouldn’t have chewed gum in every single scene he was in. It was extremely annoying, and really took me out of the film. He’s a great actor, I know he can act without gum in his mouth. I kept seeing his character from O Brother where Art Thou on the screen during Fantastic Four.
They then have an end fight with Dr. Doom and then the movie ends. The ending is extremely rushed and is unfocused. Trank seemed to have a focus for the movie, and Fox went with this up to a point, but then took control. I’m reading the tea leaves here, but it’s a plausible reason for the film to seem so unbalanced. Even the dialogue, which isn’t great during the first part of the movie, takes a nose dive during the third act. It may not even be the dialogue but just the way the scenes are edited together and how the dialogue flows. There doesn’t seem to be any focus or point after our heroes get their powers. When they get their powers, the fear, anger, and anguish each has is great, but this feeling is completely wasted during the last half of the movie.
The direction of the movie at the start was building towards a good film. I liked how our heroes where brilliant kids who made a stupid decision. The darker tone could have been built upon, but it is thrown away during the last half of the movie. I wanted to go see Fantastic Four this weekend because of all the rumors and bad press it has been getting. It was like a train wreck, I couldn’t help but watch and be fascinated. Don’t waste your money and see this in theaters. Wait until it comes out on a movie channels or network cable before watching it.
My Rating: Wait for Cable release.
If you did go see the movie, let me know what you think. Give me your top five worst superhero films if you are wise and didn’t go see this movie
My Top Five Worst Superhero Movies (I admit I haven’t seen quite a few of the worst turds)
1. Batman and Robin
3. Superman 3
4. Hero at Large (Click on the link to investigate this turd)
5. X-Men Last Stand