FANTASTIC FOUR | REVIEW

Oh this film has been a sorry case of affairs, a huge flop that will lose squillions and even has Marvel threatennig to take over the franchise – unsure as to why they haven’t – it is one of their products? I do apologise for the delay in getting this out to you prior to release but the distributing film company dumped us from their screening list and and the peeps in marketing/ public relations for unmentioned company seem incapable of email communications, hence films from said company no longer get reviewed prior to release. Said company will also not be mentioned on the site – apparently promotion is not free, who would have thunk it? FANTASTIC FOUR is out now in most cinemas, runs for 100mins and is rated M, it won’t last long, it is copping too much hate, I still want to see it, I have a shameless crush on Michael B Jordan, and hey, I liked GREEN LANTERN so am sure I will enjoy this one :). Kernel Andrew, resident geek and comic book/ graphic novel lover was not really a fan, in the slightest, enjoy his thoughts below……….all the best………JK.

 

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FANTASTIC FOUR | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | MOVIE POSTER IMAGE

 

BY ANDREW BRUSENTSEV

I will point this out straight away. I am a comic book nerd. Now into my 41st year on the planet I have been reading the funny books with serious intent since probably age eight or so. For me Lee and Kirby are towering giants of creativity in my sea of rock stars, artists and other creative types. Their creations have thrilled me and dared me to dream big. All the way through my childhood, teens (when reading comic books meant you were one step above the D&D nerd (which I also am)) and into adulthood. Their finest creation as far as I am concerned is the Fantastic Four. It was the first serious comic which created a linked universal canvas for the entire Marvel franchise and in essence launched the Age of Marvel as we know it.

So it does my heart unending damage to realise that there have been three previous attempts to make this particular movie. The first the kitsch and reported mess of the 1994 feature. Produced by Bernd Eichinger and the great Roger Corman and directed by Oley Sassone. This was said to be so cheesy (I have seen stills and grabs) that it never made it out to the public.  Then the second and third instalments directed by Tim Story in 2005 and 2007. These did surprisingly well at box office but were pretty much canon blasphemy and war crimes against art.

 

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FANTASTIC FOUR | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | THE CREW IN ANOTHER DIMENSION

 

So would it be four times lucky this time? Josh Trank (who did a great job directing CHRONICLE) was given the director’s chair for this reboot. Could he hit the trifecta making a comic nerd, movie and box office success of Marvel’s (or is it Fox’s?) first family ala Iron Man, The Avengers, Captain America or The X-Men?.

The press leaks started out well, the announcement of the acting list saw some pretty hefty names there. A veritable who’s who of new blood talents. Miles Teller (playing Reed Richards or Mr Fantastic), Kate Mara (Sue Storm), Michael B. Jordan (Johnny Storm, the Human Torch) and Jamie Bell (Ben Grimm or The Thing). Finally one of my all-time favourite comic villains – Victor Von Doom played by Toby Kebbell?

Then we started to see the first hints of issues. The very underwhelming trailers that began to surface and rumours of unhappiness between Trank and the Studio and the actors and Trank. I still thought I would give it a chance. Anyways I plonked my money down opening night (long story with distributor and press screenings) and went along. I took my young godson as well. He was not familiar with the Four nor the previous movie attempts, so this would give me balance so I didn’t sink into nerd nitpicking.

 

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FANTASTIC FOUR | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | REED RICHARD (MILES TELLER) AND JOHNNY STORM (MICHAEL B JORDAN)

 

What’s the verdict? FANTASTIC FOUR overall feels to me like a very long, abysmal and supremely tedious version of the trailers. Essentially 90 minutes of setup and then one very underwhelming final boss fight with Doom. Did Trank learn nothing from the successes of the Marvelverse or the pages of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s iconic comic book creations? Whose pages I have said can genuinely claim to have launched the Age of Marvel? How could he with all that make something so lame and unimaginative. Here is how;

Reed Richards (Teller) is introduced from the outset as a nerdy kid genius. Richards has essentially built a teleporter in his home out of common equipment found in his basements and in junkyards. The young braniac shows it at school for show and tell. He tells the class it is a “matter transporter” something that can transport bio matter through space. Introduced here as well is a young Ben Grimm who befriends Richards after he catches him trying to steal parts for his experiment from the Grimm family junkyard.

Seven years later Reed (Teller you can already tell is coasting at this point) and Grimm show their now joint experiment at a local science fair. Here they receive private backing to perfect their creation at a prestigious think-tank/university.  I thought to myself ok this is getting better, the opening act may have been a bit shaky but it will take off from here.  At the think-tank we are introduced to deep-voiced project overseer Dr. Franklin Storm (Reg E. Cathey), his car-happy son, Johnny (Michael B. Jordan, who looks like he is looking for the fourth wall exits) and Storm’s adopted daughter, Sue (Kate Mara), a master technician who spends most of her time in front of a screen and in terms of acting style looks like she is as excited as a wooden cooking spoon. We also meet a moody, temperamental genius Victor Von Doom (Toby Kebbell). The foundations boss Dr. Allen (Tim Blake Nelson) wants Richards’s work accelerated, he sees many applications  for a machine designed to move matter through dimensions. What is laughable though is that after one test on a chimp our young human heroes are ready to go to manned missions. It is decided that Richards, Grimm, Von Doom and Johnny Storm will conduct the next trials on themselves before Allen can hand it on to anyone else.

 

FANTASTIC FOUR MOVIE IMAGE
FANTASTIC FOUR | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | THE THING (JAMIE BELL)

 

Our pioneers make it to a barren, rocky land of unknown location. Here they plant the U.S. flag and are subsequently engulfed by a green energy field. The effects here are pretty average and are done against a very dark background. I think 2015 audiences expect a bit more these days I think.  They don’t improve one iota in this department. It really is dross all round.

Anyways everyone but Von Doom makes it back to the transporter after the green energy field engulfs them. They are transported back to Earth but when they make it back they all have strange powers. Reed develops elastic, ever-stretchable limbs, and Johnny can turn into a flaming meteor. Ben on the other hand has a new rocky body mass; the 2015 interpretation is not too bad. Actually probably the best thing in this horror show.  Sue Storm, although not going on the mission is affected by the green energy when some of it leaks back on transportation. She can now turn invisible and also harness a force field around herself which she can also use to fly (kind of like the witches in Wizard of Oz!) The most laughable is Victor Von Doom when we eventually see him. Allen and now the US military have taken Richard’s experiments and are attempting to replicate its properties. When they go to the same distant location they encounter Victor and bring him back. Doom is really the low point, he looks like a Power Ranger on acid. It is simply awful. One of the most brilliant and diabolical villains in the Marvelverse is reduced to some kind of awful costume who shoots green energy bolts.

All of this takes at least over ¾ of the film. I am thinking to myself when does the movie actually start. Unfortunately it builds and builds to? Nothing at all.

 

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FANTASTIC FOUR | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | JOHNNY STORM (MICHAEL B JORDAN)

 

The filmmakers bring nothing new to the formula, actually the RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER at least attempted to capture the comic book in some way shape or form. This version? Horrific dialogue mumbled out by actors who look as if they don’t want to be there. Mediocre sets, horrible interpretations of the Four’s costumes, poorly lit and shot and woeful special effects. The fact that the writers couldn’t think of anything interesting to do with these characters in this first series reboot does not bode well for any potential excitement in a sequel or possible investment from Fox? Then again perhaps they will? I say leave it alone you have taken a dump on them four times already.

The cast? Well these talents are utterly wasted here. One of Teller’s line as Reed before the last fight with Doom is “We opened this door, we’re gonna close it.” Well don’t let it hit your ass on the way out.

Abysmal.

 

Half Pops

 

 

When asked what is good in life? Kernel Andrew will tell you film, music and beer is all you need. Equal parts Star Wars fanboy, sci-fi nerd, horror head, comic book tragic and Playstation fanatic. You can find him ranting on these things and others on his twitter feed @abrusentsev