When you’re on Netflix and you come across a movie you recognize that has 1.5 stars, or 1 star, you know that it must be extremely bad. Why? Because even knock off movies like World of the Monkey People (I made that up) have 2.5 or 3 stars. Everything on Netflix seems to have a higher rating than you’d expect. So why, oh why, did I watch the Fantastic Four?
I’m under the weather, it was only 8pm, and I was curious about all the press I’d read about it. There was the initial version the director who was fired had in mind. Then the stupid came in and turned it into a raging hot mess, apparently. As a writer, I thought, “Hmm, let’s see what’s in there.”
Before talking about the recent movie, let’s back up and look at the movies that were de-booted, dropped, abandoned, or otherwise considered terrible by many.
The first of the two, I really enjoyed. While I thought the actor portraying Reed Richards was a little goofy, overall I thought it worked. The second movie was filled with so many OH COME ON moments, that it’s hard to admit that I saw it in theatre. All that said though, I think they could have recovered some of the magic from the first one in a third one, which never happened.
Score for the original movie? I’d give it 3.5 stars and the second one 2 stars.
Alright, now let’s look at the steaming pile of reboot. Well, actually, one comment before that. As a comic collector in my youth, I collected The Fantastic Four. I still have about 100+ consecutive issues from the late 80s, early 90s, and think of them fondly. I’d like to consider myself someone who understands what makes that team really work, and its an entirely other discussion about how it would be possible to make that team work in today’s socio-political climate.
Firstly, if you were like me and thought the previous Reed Richards was goofy, this is the movie to make you apologize ten times over, and start sending fan letters to Ioan Gruffud in penance.
Miles Teller, in the role of Reed Richards, is one of those… one of those actors who must have been cast with a completely different version of the movie in mind from the other actors. Next miscast? Ben Grimm’s Jamie Bell. The idea that Reed’s taller and physically bigger than Ben was a weird one, and this movie really makes it seem like Ben just hangs around because he’s a poor kid with nothing better to do.
I could buy the version of Jonny Storm that Michael B. Jordan played, and was thankful he didn’t have any “raising his arms up in a V and screaming WOOO!” lines. And I really enjoyed Reg Cathey as Franklin Richards (that man is awesome period, the voice and looks he gives, awesome). I could also buy Kate Mara’s Susan Storm, though I enjoyed Jessica Alba’s one much more.
You’ll notice that I left a few character and actor out, Victor von Doom played by Toby Kebbell. When he’s first introduced I really expected not to like him, but that very quickly changed. I felt that he was short changed from a writing point of view as he had a lot to offer, and I kept wanting Miles (Reed Richards) to get off screen so that I could have more Toby (Doom) time. Compared to the Doom from the previous movies, it was an interesting take… at least initially.
Oh Mother of Mercy, there is no writer. The reboot suffers from so many things, and I fully recognize where the studio came in and changed the ending and revised things. But even given that, there are some very basic things that make you go WHAAAA???
Let’s take, Victor. Here was a character that you wanted to know more about, who (spoilers ahead!) ends up being left behind and presumed dead in the negative zone. We don’t see him again until about 30 minutes left in the movie. That’s a long time, so long that you wonder if he’s really a seed for the sequel. No such luck.
Instead of that usual pattern of villain is revealed, heroes encounter villain and falter, then heroes encounter villain and triumph. they try to to do the last two together. Oh, and they forgot to make it clear how and why the villain, Doom, is doing what he’s doing. I think he’s trying to deconstruct the Earth, transforming it back into energy which he can harness (for no good reason), so that he can recreate the Earth (which is really loosely tied to remarks he made early in the movie).
Doom is given unbelievable, ‘your head explodes’, level power. I don’t bye for a minute that this band of “heroes” could take him on. Nope. You look at him, head explodes, it’s done. Did I mention where Sue and Jonny Storm don’t really grieve over their dead father? Never mind, it wasn’t important. Neither was anything else.
The movie spends so much time on the military aspect, only in the end to have the military become beholden to the team, which made my wife and I roll our eyes so hard I think it was audible. The ending, and the lines that had too much cheese for this dairy-intolerant writer, were horrible attempts at changing the tone.
If there is one epic fail of this movie, it was the Zack Synder mistakes (Superman, B v S), which was it started out with a misunderstanding of what makes those characters and that team iconic. It’s like the Captain America works for Hydra issue. An attempt at darkening something that fundamentally isn’t. You can start there, but you have to transition from there to bring about the spirit and elements that allow the characters to rise above their initial station.
Fantastic Four – The Reboot fails because of writing, because of competing terrible visions, but also because people just didn’t understand what this was about in the first place. I gave it 2 stars because I didn’t hate it, it just falls apart from the get go. I should have watched something else.