10 years ago Batman Begins introduced the term ‘reboot’ and became the shining example of how to introduce audiences to a character and their world. Since then, mainly due to Marvel, we’ve been spoiled with the overall quality of comic book films. A golden age you might say.
Fantastic Four is sad proof that the genre is still capable of creating a stinker. The troubled production has been well documented; full of reshoots and internet backlash. Director Josh Trank had a tweet clearly aimed at supposedly meddling FOX execs hastily deleted.
Whatever may have happened though, visiting the cinema is not a cheap experience, and a film can’t be reviewed on what it might have been. Based on the final film, I can’t suggest that you spend your hard-earned money on watching Fantastic Four.
The first act attempts to build things thoughtfully but completely fails in creating the relationships that will later be tested. Broad brush strokes give us no reason to invest in these future heroes.
The second act may have been where the film picked up, if there was one. Instead what little story is formed gets tossed aside as the film becomes hell-bent on giving us a villain and a fight. It’s rushed, boring, and feels as though it was from a different film altogether.
Infuriatingly there may be something better buried in here somewhere. But it’s given no time to become anything more than awful dialogue and dull action. The cast is a fine one, who all show in glimpses what they could have done with their roles. Add this to the horrifying changes to their bodies plus the threat of weaponisation and this film could have made a mark in ways that the Marvel films can’t.
Once the dust settles we’re left with the group in a new base, congratulating each other as they devise a name for their superhero team. Not only is it a horrifically contrived final scene, but it flat-out isn’t earned. This scene and FOX’s announcement of a sequel all comes off as incredibly cocky, as if audiences would just lap up anything that has a superhero in it. Sure, the hunger for comic books films is huge, and the business case is compelling. You need to actually make a decent film first though.
A waste of acting talent, as well as two hours of my life, Fantastic Four is an immensely frustrating experience that amazingly fails to improve on previous incarnations.
Note – Who knows if we’ll have a sequel now, with it being removed from Fox’s schedule. We still hear the odd noise made about it but there’s nothing concrete.