20th Century Fox and Marvel have already made two “Fantastic Four” movies – the first released a little more than 10 years ago. Now they’re at it again, with a film that should’ve been called “Fantastic Four Origins”, because that’s exactly what it is – a 100 minute backstory to a potential sequel that should never be made.
This is designed to be a younger/cooler version of the classic comic book story. Miles Teller (“Whiplash”) plays Reed Richards, who is never referred to as Mr. Fantastic. Michael B. Jordan is Johnny Storm, who shows-off his reckless street racing skills in one of only three action scenes in the entire film. Even “Iron Man” (which stuck Robert Downey, Jr. in a cave for 45 minutes) was a superhero origin story with WAY more action.
Kate Mara (from Netflix’s “House of Cards”) is Susan Storm, though she prefers Sue over Susan. And Jamie Bell, who survived the motion-capture experience of “The Adventures of Tintin”, eventually becomes The Thing. Even Michael Chiklis – who played The Thing in those two previous “FF” movies – has to feel bad for Bell, who reminded me of the Ticket Oak from the Stub-Hub commercials.
Those are your less than fantastic leads – but casting isn’t the movies biggest problem – or problems: First of all – it takes so long for “Fantastic Four” to get to the point where the characters get their powers. The screenplay begins way back in Reed’s school science fair days, eventually flashing forward to these four as young adults, along with Victor Von Doom, working on a breakthrough teleportation device that could take them to another dimension. No doubt thousands watching this in theaters nationwide will be thinking the same thing I was: if only that machine could transport me to a theater showing a much better movie I would’ve hopped on board immediately.
Visual effects? Laughable. The Dr. Doom costume looks like something from a low-budget, sci-fi parody film. The dialogue? Corny. Story? Completely uninteresting – in fact the reason why these four individuals get their powers is absolutely ridiculous.
What we didn’t need in a “Fantastic Four” reboot is one that starts from the beginning, yet again. Maybe if the story took these characters to new and unique territory, it could have worked. Doom (which also describes what director Josh Trank expressed in his Tweet blaming Fox for re-cutting what he thought was a “fantastic” version of the film), is actually the most interesting character. The only other element that keep me from zoning out completely was counting the scenes in which Tim Blake Nelson’s Dr. Allen chewed gum. Yes, it’s that bad.
And now – It’s Clobberin’ Time: On The Official LCJ Report Card, “Fantastic Four” gets a D.
Running Time: 100 min.