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
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.