Thursday, March 31, 2016

In short: Fantastic Four (2015)

I’d love to pretend that this is an unfairly maligned attempt at a superhero movie that actually has a lot going for it, but this thing is indeed as bad as everyone says it is.

Some of the film’s direness can surely be explained by the fact that director Josh Trank (who made the much, much superior pseudo-realist teen superhero movie Chronicle before) and studio Fox didn’t see eye to eye about the film at all, leading to a movie that never can decide what it’s actually about, what tone it wants to take, or what its reason of existence is apart from keeping the Fantastic Four out of Marvel’s hands where we’d risk to get an actually watchable movie out of the first modern Marvel heroes. However, there’s really very little on display here that suggests that anyone involved – either on Trank’s side or the studio’s - had actually any idea how to do a Fantastic Four movie.

You’d think the Fantastic Four would be superheroes that are rather easy to get: they are a family, and they have SCIENCE! adventures. Clearly, nobody involved actually wants anything to do with either aspect of the characters, so instead we get a semi-grim dark movie about random, bland people (seriously, can you remember a single character trait about anyone here?) doing…

Well, doing not much at all, really, for beyond its general lack of any kind of point (and be it the old-fashioned one to actually entertain its audience), Fantastic Four is also moving at a snail’s pace, strictly avoiding anything of the spectacle I (and I suspect large parts of the audience) expect from my superhero movies. Which would be a workable approach if the film put anything meaningful in place of spectacle – say interesting character work. Unfortunately, it doesn’t, leaving us with a film where little of consequence happens, and a would-be blockbuster that avoids anything that might be spectacular or even just interesting to look at while it very slowly grinds through a very boring version of an origin story any sane script would have told in fifteen minutes, twenty minutes tops.

And don’t get me started on the film’s only success: including a Doctor Doom who is even less fun or interesting than the one in Fox’s last failure at getting the Fantastic Four. I could go on criticizing and nitpicking for another thousand words or so, but honestly, Fantastic Four is such a failure in every single aspect I don’t see why anyone should bother.

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