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From one of its grandest highs with X-Men Days of Future Past, 20th Century Fox produced one its more depressing lows with their most recent Fantastic Four movie. No one was more depressed as me on Thursday when I heard the outcry from critics. I was rooting for this one to finally be the Fantastic Four movie we all can agree was good. (I say this because I’m among the few that actually liked the previous two films). Alas, this movie was not doing well with critics and audiences.
Despite that, I decided to see it anyway. Me and my family are big fans of Marvel movies whether it be from Disney, Sony or Fox. Something just told us that, no matter what everyone is saying, this was just something we had to see for ourselves. Having now seen the film, I think we’re all in agreement that this wasn’t great. Whether it was bad was where we started having our differences.
When Reed Richards was a boy, he dedicated himself to being the first to achieve teleportation. One fine evening with the help of his friend Ben, Reed succeeded and spent years perfecting the technology. This ends up catching the eye of Dr. Franklin Storm who recruits Reed for a project aiming to teleport people to a different dimension. When the project is complete, a band of five individuals venture to this dimension and come back with strange powers.
They say creative differences killed this movie and I agree. For now, we don’t know exactly everything about this film’s developmental woes. Regardless, based on what I see, this story is a all over the place. It’s a compelling story with good concepts unfortunately destroyed by bad, or at least clumsy, storytelling.
This is not a movie that gets better as you keep watching. Actually, the exact opposite is true. The first act is the strongest of the entire movie. It has a Man of Steel vibe that introduces the characters swimmingly. You get your concept, your plot, and you’re on your way. Act two is where things start to drag. It begins to feel like a totally different movie as it switches plots. You start to notice some holes in the story, namely the lack of character interaction, which I’ll get to soon.
Then there’s the infamous Act three. This is where all the characters awkwardly and abruptly assemble so that they can partake in (and I’m not joking here) the first and only action scene in the film. This scene is filled with corny lines, reveals the villain’s weak motivation, and then shows the shortest and most uneventful final battle in any super hero movie ever. It then ends with a groan-worthy conversation. The End… Oh and there’s no end-credit scene because screw you!
Other then pace and storytelling, the dialogue can be painful at times. It’s not awful, but it often fails in moments that are supposed to be witty or fan service. (The Doctor Doom name-drop is the worst line in the film).
Like I said, there are bright moments- more accurately there’s great set-ups and ideas. Unfortunately, this film is too inconsistent and ambitious for its own good. Sometimes it tries too hard, and sometimes it seems to have given up.
I hear some people don’t like the effects in this movie, but I didn’t mind it. It actually looks presentable outside of a couple standouts. I mean, it’s true that some of the CG and green screen looks obvious where it should be seamless, but most of it looks good to me.
The alternate dimension, Planet Zero, looked pretty cool. The ground looks like PS2 graphics when the scene is calm, but during the chase scene and the final battle it actually looks good. The green energy thing looked realistic enough, too.
Character models post-powers look great all around. The Human Torch looks great when he’s “flamed on”. It looks very much like a burning body that won’t entirely fry. The invisibility effect on Invisible Woman looked cool. They really like emphasizing the shielding ability more than anything, but it looks fine. Mr. Fantastic’s stretching ability is among the strongest effects in this category. It doesn’t look rubbery like before, and even that face shifting thing isn’t that bad.
The Thing is by far the best looking character effect here. Gone are the days of foamy, smooth Thing. This Thing has a great rocky texture. The uneveness and size gives you a design that looks like a man buried in rocks and somehow moving within it. However, he could really use some pants.
Finally, let’s discuss the notorious Doctor Doom design… It’s certainly not good.
Honestly, before seeing the movie I was convinced this was going to look way worse. As it is, it looks like a scrapped Terminator design with a scarf. They gave a decent enough explanation for his look, but it still needs work. It also needs an actual cape.
As a small side-note, I feel I should point out that this is the second Fox character to have his mouth welded/sewed up. When will they learn?
The acting is very good all things considered. Whether it be our four leads, our villain, or the secondary characters, everyone does the best they could with the script they were given. However, the dialogue and writing put the odds against them.
This script doesn’t give us the best basis for character development. With the exception of Reed Richards (Miles Teller) and Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell), every character gets minimal backstory and little room to thrive. In regards to the Storm siblings (Michael B. Jordan and Kate Mara) and Victor von Doom (Toby Kebbell), you get small hints of their backstory with no elaboration.
For example, its said that Doom should’ve been arrested before he’s introduced. Okay, why? What did he do? Why wasn’t he arrested? Never explained. There are many cases of this throughout the movie.
It would’ve helped if the characters worked off each other well, but character interaction is practically nonexistent. Again, with the sole exception of Reed and Ben’s friendship, there’s no sense that these guys are friends besides an occasional high five or bro hug. Hell, I’m trying to remember if Sue ever said a word to Ben, but I can’t. I’m convinced the two never spoke, so how am I supposed to buy that these two are on the same team toward the end?
This is the movie’s greatest sin, Cohesion is the most important aspect to any team-based movie. Take X-Men or Avengers for example. Each character works off each other and creates camaraderie. Without it, you aren’t as invested when the characters eventually come together.
Like I said, it’s not the actors’ fault. It’s the circumstance.
At least the movie looks professional. Camerawork and sound quality are fine. The music is pretty standard for an action blockbuster, but I really liked how it was implemented. It made the otherwise boring scenes seem more epic and eerie.
Do I think this is a good movie. No, not at all. This is probably the most underwhelming superhero movie in the past ten years. But I still struggle with the idea that this movie is terrible. There are still some really good moments and ideas here. It’s well-made to an extent, has good performances, and good effects. However, this is still a tedious, clumsily written movie. I’m glad I saw it, but I’ll probably never watch the movie again.
If you’ve been struggling with whether you should see this or not, I say anyone with their expectations low as can be will be pleasantly surprised. If you’re looking for a fun popcorn flick, see Ant-Man instead. If you’re looking for a decent Fantastic Four movie, stick to the Tim Story films. The only reason people should see this film is to feed curiosity. Otherwise, stay away!
I’m SBox180. Thanks for reading!