You may have heard that today, August 7 “Fantastic Four” from Marvel has hit theaters all over South Florida. Before you get excited to see the next chapter in the Marvel Universe, keep in mind that they are owned by 20th Century Fox who also does the X-Men movies. While the recent X-Men movies have been quite good, the same cannot be said here. In fact, this new movie is quite bad.
This new “Fantastic Four” movie borrows heavily from the Ultimate Fantastic Four comic book story line. Instead of going up into space, like in the original comic book and the 2005 movie, Reed Richards (Miles Teller), Johnny Storm (Michael B. Jordan), Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell) and Victor Von Doom (Toby Kebbell) teleport to another dimension. When they come back they are all affected by different super powers, including Sue Storm (Kate Mara), who helped them get back. The four would like the use their powers for good, but Dr. Doom has other plans.
If you listen to rumor, things did not go well for young director, Josh Trank while making “Fantastic Four.” It doesn’t matter if any of those rumors are true, the fact of the matter is he did a poor job directing and co-writing this movie. For starters the plot lacks direction. It goes one way, then another, then another, but without much reason. First it’s “Let’s try to get to this other dimension.” Then “On no, we got these powers, how do we get rid of them? We need to find a cure.” Finally, “Oh, no. Dr. Doom must be stopped.” The story structure on which these plot devices are built is poorly constructed.
The final battle between the Fantastic Four and Dr. Doom has some entertainment value, but not worth the 90-minutes you have to sit through beforehand to get to it. Any time the script calls for a scene of peril, tension or excitement, Josh Trank is never up to the task of delivering them. This is another case of a studio hiring a director who made only one interesting movie and then throwing them in the deep end of the pool where they drown. In Trank’s case, he made the movie “Chronicle.” It was an independent super hero film. That doesn’t mean he was ready to direct a movie about Marvel’s First Family.
The new cast in “Fantastic Four” are fine. That’s the best word to describe the lot. There are no bad performances, but hardly any stand out. Michael B. Jordon who becomes the Human Torch was the far better player to come from “Chronicle” than the director. This new movie was supposed to be better than the unmemorable 2005 and 2007 Fantastic Four movies, but it’s not. This movie even borrows some story elements from that one. For example, Doctor Doom has feelings for Susan Storm and some of Doom’s powers mirror the ones he had in those previous movies. The only thing that’s better is The Thing. The CGI on him makes the character look how we always thought he should.
A sequel is already planned for 2017, but let’s see if all the negative reviews that are out affects the box office. If they do make another movie, maybe they can finally move on from Doctor Doom. In all three movies so far (four if you count the never seen Roger Corman one) they have always fought Doctor Doom. So here’s hoping they can work in the Mole Man or some other villain. That would be a good change of pace. As it is though, there is very little good about this movie. It is rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, and language.