Last night I went to see the most hated movie in America, Fantastic 4. My three buddies and I arrived at the theater just minutes before the start of the Thursday night, eight o’clock showing. Unsurprisingly, we were the only ones in attendance for the movie, except for a guy and his significant other. That’s right, six people packed into an auditorium that could easily hold over one hundred. I guess that’s what you get whenever your movie is surrounded in controversy and negativity before it’s even released.
Putting aside all the Josh Trank/Fox Studio finger pointing, the movie wasn’t as bad as the Rotten Tomato rating of 8% on the Tomatometer would have you believe. In my opinion, Joel Schumacher’s Batman & Robin movie (which scored an 11% on the Tomatometer) was a far worse movie than FF. That’s not to say that FF is great because it’s not. Is it good? No. Is it ok? Yes. It’s somewhere along the lines of X-Men Origins: Wolverine in terms of goodness, a movie with a 38% rating on the Tomatometer.
Before I go any further, I want to be candid with you. I am not a fan of the FF comic. I don’t hate it or anything, it just doesn’t appeal to me. So going into this movie my knowledge of the team was limited to what I saw in the 2005 FF film and what I have read whenever the team has crossed into a title on my pull-list. That being said, it sounded like Director Josh Trank’s vision for this movie was geared towards the casual FF fan like myself – someone who wouldn’t care if an African American actor played the role of Johnny Storm, or if Doom was now being portrayed as a computer hacker.
To be honest, I wanted a shake-things-up/somewhat grounded FF movie that wasn’t as cartoony as the 2005 FF film (that felt like it was made in the 1980’s). A lot of people prefer the 2005 film to the most recent one because it is truer to the comic. Ok I get that, and if I had to choose one over the other, I would choose the 2005 film for the following two reasons: 1. Jessica and 2. Alba.
This most recent version of FF tried to stay away from the cartoony look and feel of the 2005 FF film, which is a plus. However, it failed to develop the characters and their relationships to one another. For the most part, the movie stayed flat throughout in terms of character development. There wasn’t anything that made me feel for the characters. Is that the fault of the actors? Maybe, but I also think it’s the fault of the script. Not much was in the script that allowed the characters to have emotional levels, it was either “look like your working on something important” or “you’re in peril.” I can see where trying to develop an emotional spectrum with a face on fire, a face made of rock, and a robotic looking face is a tough task. But, I would have liked to of seen more thought go into making the audience feel what the characters were feeling.
Let’s talk about the plot. It’s basic like very, very basic. Reed Richards, since he was in middle school, has always wanted to build a device that can transport matter. He accomplishes that task and is recruited by Johnny Storm’s father to improve upon it by working at a company for gifted scientists, no not mutants.
For some reason (possibly a disagreement with the company owners), Doom was one of Mr. Storm’s prodigies that fell out of the program. Now, Doom is living in a dilapidated building tucked away behind multiple computer monitors doing…I don’t know what…his best impression of a Matrix extra. Turns out Doom was the first to create a matter transporter and Mr. Storm wants to bring Doom back to see what Reed came up with. This scene felt very uncharacteristic because Mr. Storm is portrayed as a straight shooter who plays by the rules (and gives his son tongue lashes for being rebellious), but decides that it would be a good idea to recruit the brooding, homeless Doom to create the matter transporter instead of the straight-laced Richards.
Richards is able to create a device that can transport humans to another dimension working with Doom, Sue Storm, and Johnny Storm. Richards, Doom, Johnny, and Ben Grimm (who was poorly used in this movie) travel to the other dimension and discover the green ooze that transformed four turtles into the TMNT (well, kind of). They discover this green energy and decide to go check it out. Why? Who knows, it was written kind of like this: “It looks like all that weird energy is coming from over there.” “Ok. Let’s go check it out.” Huh?
After they find the green energy, everything is pretty much predictable. Everyone (including Sue who is not with the crew but in the control room) end up getting powers based on a not so smooth return from the other dimension. Doom gets left behind because of an unfortunate circumstance; eerily similar to how the Jack Napier gets dropped in a vat of acid, which turns him into the Joker.
Several years pass and we find out that our heroes are working for the government. I can’t remember why, but the crew has to return to the other dimension. I think it is because the original transporter was destroyed upon their return and they had to rebuild it. While over there, they find Doom who seriously looks like a crash test dummy. No joke. It’s pretty bad and not Doom-like at all.
According to Doom, Earth is headed for disaster because of how humans have been running it, caring for it, not giving it enough tree hugs. By Doom’s logic, it is better to just wipe out Earth rather than use his powers to save it. Turning Reed’s machine into a black hole generator, Doom tries to suck Earth into the other dimension.
Doom’s power set is off the charts in this movie. So far off the charts that he can cause people to explode. However, while battling our heroes he decides it’s better to throw rocks at them…um, ok. Needless to say, our heroes end up working together to save the day.
The movie started out pretty good but as it dragged on it became less and less entertaining. Consume. Review. Repeat. gives FF five out of 10 Fs.