Director: Josh Trank
Cast: Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Bell, Toby Kebbell, Reg E. Cathey, Tim Blake Nelson, Owen Judge, Evan Hanneman
Genre: Comic, Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Age Rating: 12A/PG-13
Running Time: 100 minutes
When the news about a FANTASTIC FOUR re-boot surfaced, I have to say I was pretty excited. Although I appreciated Tim Story’s 2005 and 2007 FANTASTIC FOUR films for what they were at the time, when you look back on them now you have to admit that they were very cheesy and pretty poorly made. Unfortunately, any excitement that the trailer for FOX’s new and darker-looking FANTASTIC FOUR franchise created by CHRONICLE director, Josh Trank, is very short-lived.
Miles Teller (WHIPLASH, TWO NIGHT STAND) plays the boy-genius turned scientist Reed Richards who is set on making cross-dimensional travel a reality for the human race with his closest friend Ben Grimm (played by BILLY ELLIOTT’S Jamie Bell). After Dr. Franklin Storm (Reg E. Cathey) and Dr. Allen (Tim Blake Nelson) recruit Reed to work in New York alongside Dr. Franklin’s adopted daughter Sue Storm (Kate Mara) and the intelligent loose cannon Victor Von Doom (ROCK N ROLLA’S Toby Kebbell), Reed’s dreams become a reality. Determined to see-through what he started, Reed takes his team to the other dimension in search of answers, but instead they are all exposed to an unknown energy source which alters their physical form for good. With their new abilities, Reed, Sue, Johnny (Michael B. Jordan) and Ben must work together to save the world from an unlikely threat.
Much debate has been created around this particular film for many reasons, but the major talking point around the FANTASTIC FOUR re-boot of 2015, is how much of this film was actually director Josh Trank’s work and how much was manipulated by the people at FOX. Personally, this is a lousy excuse to hide behind as, at the end of the day I cannot believe that FOX would supposedly want to change the feel of a film themselves unless it had a real impact on the final product. However, the fact that a Marvel summer blockbuster is under two hours, it does create a sense of controversy in my mind.
Unfortunately, this film struggles throughout. Cross-dimensional travel was an unnecessary alteration to the plot of the fantastic four origins, and as much as I respect a lot of the cast for other works, if a team of superheroes cannot create a better chemistry, or even as good as a chemistry as the team in the original films which were made, why re-make it?
I can admit that this film did not disappoint me to the levels that the likes of IRON MAN 2, DAREDEVIL (2003), SPIDER-MAN 3, X-MEN: THE LAST STAND, ELEKTRA, and HULK (2003) did, but personally, that is not the level of film you should be trying to surpass. In this day and age, if you are trying to rival what the likes of Marvel and Disney are bringing out with their Marvel Cinematic Universe, you do not create something unless it is anywhere near as great.
FANTASTIC FOUR definitely has a stellar line up of current and future talent, a good portrayal of how powerful Dr. Doom can be, and a stronger and less comical Reed Richards in Miles Teller, but personally, using only 100 minutes to tell an origins story of one of the most famous teams in Marvel Comics and defeat one of the most powerful enemies in Marvel Comics, is not enough! This film deserves more depth, and although the power Dr. Doom possesses is pretty much the best thing I can praise about this FANTASTIC FOUR version compared to the Tim Story films, his character was not appreciated enough in my eyes, which made for one of the weakest endings in Marvel history.
“When you change the world, prepare to defend it.”
Recommendation: This is a very rare thing for me; not recommending you to catch a Marvel film. Basically, as it is not part of any other Marvel focus, I can safely say hold out for DVD/Amazon Instant Video with this one.