Fantastic Four Review: Stretched Thin

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“Well, it can’t be worse than the other Fantastic Four movies they made.” – me when this reboot was announced. I currently sit, prepared to write this review, with a bowl in front of me. It’s not filled with cereal, oatmeal, or soup, but instead my words. Time to chow down.

When you go to the movies, it’s generally fair to expect, well, a full movie. That is to say, a beginning, middle, and end. Fantastic Four has too much of the first thing, virtually none of the second thing, and a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it third thing. The film follows the same general procedure most superhero origins do. There’s been a superhero origin story on the big screen roughly once a year since 2002. Yet Josh Trank and 20th Century Fox think they’ve found a new way to tell it.

In doing so, Fantastic Four has the feel of a pure, old-school science fiction film. But ultimately, it’s telling the same story as every other superhero movie. This one just doubles the time it takes to tell that story.

To be fair, the actual time passage is hard to keep track of, mostly because the characters lack any and all chemistry. There’s no question from the get-go that Miles Teller and Jaime Bell are miscast as Mr. Fantastic and the Thing. Michael B. Jordan does what he can as Human Torch, but the script doesn’t do him any favors. The only shining light is Kate Mara’s Invisible Woman, the only character who seems to be at least trying to match the film’s off-putting tone. Even so, I found myself missing the cheesy banter Chris Evans and Michael Chiklis shared in the 2005 and 2007 films. At least those movies knew what they were.

Fast forward to the titular characters getting their powers and the plot jumps ahead a year, taking away all the fun parts of the superhero origin. Moments later, it’s time to fight Dr. Doom (Toby Kebbell) and call it a day. There’s no real sense of stakes or attempt to build tension, just some half-baked thoughts on teamwork and a mediocre set piece. Yawn.

It’s pretty astounding actually. I’m not sure many studios could pull off rebooting a bad film with an even worse film. Usually there’s some effort put in to remedy the problems of the past. Not here. Fantastic Four immediately joins Green Lantern and Kick-Ass 2 as the worst superhero movies of this decade. Grade: D-

By Matt Dougherty

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