Hey gang, Valkor here. You gotta give FOX a little credit with the Fantastic Four franchise. I mean at least they tried something new and different with the foursome, starting with Josh Trank taking over the director’s chair, adding a younger cast and a gritty new look. And while at first I thought the critics were a little harsh… I finally watched Fantastic Four (2015) and let’s just say… well for the most part they were still harsh, but the film still isn’t very good. Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen it.
The 2015 version of Fantastic Four kicks off with a young Reed Richards, who along with his best friend Ben Grimm, knock out all the power in their neighborhood when they test out Reed’s teleporter… which actually works. But it’s to a degree that they’re unsure where it teleports to and they think it’s to another side of Earth. Fast-forward 8 years later and an older Reed (Miles Teller) is still at it with the teleporter, but now he’s with Ben (Jamie Bell) showing it off at a kid’s science fair. Again it works, but not without making a mess and ultimately the judges aren’t with it. Thankfully Reed’s experiment catches the eye of Franklin Storm (Reg E. Cathey), who gives Reed a full scholarship so long as he brings his teleporter idea to work alongside what his team is doing. Franklin also informs Reed that that his teleporter, which can also bring things back, doesn’t go to the other side of the planet but to another dimension. Along for the ride is Franklin’s adopted daughter Sue (Kata Mara), her brother Johnny (Michael B. Jordan) and hacker from Latveria Victor Von Doom (Toby Kebbell).
Initially, testing of the device proves most successful when a chimp is sent to the other dimension and back without harm, which then sees the head of the experiment wanting to send astronauts over for human testing. Reed isn’t having this, so he, Victor, Johnny and he calls in Ben Grimm (because he’s not going without him), sneak back into the lab, suit up and secretly head off to the other dimension. It all goes smoothly until they explore a little too far and wind up kicking up some green goop, which takes Victor. And before the threesome can make it back to the teleporter, they too are exposed to the stuff. Sue Storm is able to return them to the lab but in doing so she in turn is exposed to the radiation as something of an aftershock. The effects of the stuff grants the foursome with extraordinary abilities that some might consider a blessing but one will consider a curse – Reed is capable of stretching his limbs at an amazing length. Sue can become invisible as well as make things around her invisible and even create an invisible shield. Johnny Storm can become engulfed in flames as well as shoot fireballs. And poor Grimm is now a rock monster of immense strength, but incapable of reverting back to his human self. The four are kept under lock and key, though Reed is able to escape, promising to come back to help Ben with his situation.
Fast forward a year later and the trio of Ben, Johnny and Sue are not only training in their new found abilities, but they’ve also been helping the military with their missions, while Reed is still on the run. But with the help of Sue, they’re able to find him and bring him back in to continue his work on the teleporter. And with a handful of troopers they return to the “negative zone” where they find a totally transformed Victor who now goes by the name simply of “Doom”. They’re able to bring him back, but as it turns out it was all part of Doom’s plan as he wants to see the destruction of earth, showcasing his new abilities given to him by the green goop. And it’s now up to the Fantastic Four (they don’t officially get that name until the end of the movie) to band together to stop this greater evil.
Just before its release, FOX held advanced press screenings of the film; however they put out an embargo so that critics would hold off on their reviews a few days before the film officially launched. Needless to say on that day critics let the world over know just what they were getting into with the latest Fantastic Four outing. And you can count mine amongst them, though not as harsh.
If there’s anything good I can say about “Fantastic Four” is that I loved the acting; sure it’s not Oscar-worthy, but it’s something worthwhile. Reg E. Cathey is a personal favorite whose voice carries a lot of weight. And bringing him on as Franklin Richards was probably one of the best casting decisions of this film. Jamie Bell’s “Thing” gets a nod as well and for both actors, while I think they performed well, were held back by either shitty dialogue or not enough build. In Reg’s case, his death sequence didn’t pack enough punch for me. And with Bell, I don’t feel as bad about his transformation as I did with Chiklis’s version. But still we get solid performances from these two gents as well as the rest of the cast.
Unfortunately, this film does nothing right to capture the true essence that is Fantastic Four. Trying to make them gritty like “Batman” doesn’t work. And that’s the one thing Tim Story’s version did right – it captured that fun-loving, family aspect of a foursome given “fantastic” powers. There were jokes, lightheartedness, a decent dose of action and it was overall fun (in my opinion). This new version lacks any of that. It’s just weak. And from the very beginning to the very end the film takes too many missteps such as the time between when Reed as a kid to a teen… 8 years and he looks fucking 30. Actually they all look to be too old than what they’re supposed to be. Another misstep – and this one is major: so Sue Storm doesn’t go to the other dimension and yet due to an aftershock of sorts… she gets her powers? Bullshit! She should have been there from the jump! Also no quipping between Johnny Storm and Thing… at least not until the end? And even then it was weak! The list goes on and on and on to the point of ridiculousness! Wow! Now that I think about it… maybe this film is as bad as critics say it is…
Fucking Doom! Who thought THIS was a good idea?
Fantastic Four (2015) is making the theatrical rounds and not doing all that well. And if you’re looking to kill a couple of hours and you wanna see what all the fuss is about, then give it a shot. Ultimately you’d be better off seeing anything but this. And out of TOV 5 stars, Fantastic Four gets a 1.5.