by Wilson Morales
There’s nothing more depressing than going to see a film where buzz has been negative from months on end. It’s one thing when folks, who haven’t seen the film, assumed the worst, but it’s another when the studio releasing the film wants to wait until the last minute to screen it for press. That should tell one where the film is headed.
Such is the case for ‘Fantastic Four,’ the third attempt to ignite some fire into this franchise. After two less than stellar films that were directed by Tim Story, this latest reboot comes in with a new story, new cast, and less attraction than the previous films.
While the cast may be younger and more suitable for the roles they are playing, the film is a failure due to a poor script that lacks any heart, charisma and action. There’s nothing dazzling about this film that audiences will want to rave about. If it weren’t for its connection to Marvel through the comics, there wouldn’t be an interest to keep this franchise from rising from the dead.
Directed by Josh Trank, the film starts off introducing the audience to a young Reed Richards (Miles Teller), a genius that no one wants to recognize but his fellow classmate and trusted friend, Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell). Grimm believes that Reed has the ability to do something wonderful with his talent, even if it blows out the city lights while experimenting. Years later, when he fails to convince any adult at a science fair, one man takes exception, Franklin Storm (Reg E. Cathey). Along with his adopted daughter Sue (Kate Mara), the two notice Reed’s brightness and that he’s the missing piece to what they have been working on. Reed is given a scholarship to attend the Baxter Foundation, a research center for the gifted where Franklin is in charge.
Along with Sue’s adopted and misguided brother Johnny (Michael B. Jordan) and the older but rebellious Victor Von Doom (Toby Kebbel), Reed has to work with them on developing a teleporter or gate where they can send objects to another world before going there themselves. When they get the transporter finished and the government wants to take over from there, Reed, Johnny, Victor decided to test themselves right away. Bringing in Ben for the ride, the four go to another world where within minutes, bursts of lava start tearing the planet apart and Victor is caught and presumed dead and the blast gets Reed and Johnny before they were able to escape with their lives. As the transporter gets back to the lab, Sue gets caught by electric waves and knocks her out.
As they wake up, nothing is the same. Reed has the ability to stretch his body. Johnny can turn himself into fire, while Sue is adjusting to staying visible, literally. Poor Ben. He had it worst as his body is trapped inside a bunch of rocks. When Reed escapes the lab to figure out a solution, the rest has to adjust to their situation until a threat of evil (Dr. Doom) comes upon, not just them, but their planet as well.
From here out on, if you have seen the previous films or read the comics, you knows what’s to come. The problem with this film starts with the long build up to who they become. Granted, we’ve seen plenty of these comic book films start off with introductory sequences, but the pacing and lack of chemistry in this one really tests your patience. By the time, they become “Fantastic Four,” one is either longing for action or bored by then. If this were a TV series, this would be acceptable as the first episode, but as a film, the script was laced with holes. In these comic book films, a level of disbelief is expected, but when there’s way too many questions of how, what, when and why going through one’s mind, that’s when you know the film is a lost cause.
With all of the buzz surrounding Michael B. Jordan’s casting as Johnny Storm, it really was no issue in the film, especially with Reg E. Cathey cast as Franklin Storm. There wasn’t anything to talk about. Most of the issues come with the script. With the exception of Cathey and Kebbel, who can play evil good (if you saw Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), the rest of the actors play their roles with blandness. Not even Jordan’s efforts to be funny can muster a smile.
Instead of taking a page from what Marvel or Bryan Singer have done with their films, especially when rebooting a dead franchise, Trank or the real folks in charge chose to go a different route and provide the audience with a soulless, boring, build-up to nothing. Not one character gets a chance to shine that adults or kids will want in their collection. By the time we get to the last act, everything becomes so predictable and quick that it’s a blessing. All you want to do is forget the time you just wasted.