Directed by Josh Trank
Starring Miles Teller, Kate Mara & Michael B. Jordan
Review by Chris Olson
If you are exhausted from reading about another superhero/reboot it's probably because the studios-that-be have left us little time to ponder the cultural impact of their output before blasting us with another movie, whilst offering smaller returns in terms of creative gold. And this particular reboot from Twentieth Century Fox seems to be suffering from a fatigue of its own, perhaps from being overwrought with concern about any accusations of copying the "formula"...
Starting out with copious amounts of tedious computer gazing and science fair calamity, Fantastic 4 barely gets off the starting line by the middle third, by which time the majority of the audience has sighed a sigh of resignation that, yes, it probably is as bad as everyone told them before heading to the cinema. The film manages to pick up the pace when the characters get their inevitable superpowers; stretchy bloke, rock bloke, fire bloke and see-through woman, which creates a bit of razzle dazzle and theatrics before deciding too much fun was being had, and they must stop! It's not Guardians after all.
Throw back in some more computer screens and enough bland space jargon to choke Christopher Nolan and we move into a short lived climax and are all home before dinner.
With no attempt at flair, character chemistry or an interesting plot, it's like the filmmakers made a good and bad list before making a comic film, and picked up the wrong one as a checklist. Even tried and tested clichés which could be found in the first F4 outing were avoided, for fear of stepping on anyone’s toes. This pussyfooting about has left a chasm of drab and dreary filmmaking that fails to even consider an audience that might fall into it.
Performances are so un-noteworthy it seems impossible to remember what any of them did in the film. Jamie Bell checks out as early as possible, and you might suffer from Whiplash looking at Miles Teller as he consistently misses his beats.
Far from glorying in this epic fail, most audiences just seem let down by a film that had all the right ingredients but decided to blend them all up until what was left was an unrecognisable mush of tepid nothingness. The irony of having Fantastic in the movie title is not lost on anyone, and the failure of this film goes to show that audiences are not just satisfied with “any old comic film”. The successes of recent years from the big hitters, are not solely down to bad ass budgets and brand recognition. Instead, if you want to throw down with the heavyweights, you sure as hell better bring some big game.