It’s been a long time coming, but it’s time to review one of the worst Marvel movies of the current day.
You know what I’m talking about. This is Fantastic Four (2015), or as Marvel fans mockingly refer to it, Fant4stic.
Directed by Josh Trank, this Fantastic Four was intended to be darker, grittier, and more realistic. Starring Miles Teller as Reed Richards, Kate Mara as Susan Storm, Jamie Bell as Ben Grimm, and Michael B. Jordan as Johhny Storm, fans weren’t sure what to think after two previously poor showings of the Fantastic Four on the big screen. They were soon to be even more discouraged. Director Josh Trank himself came out before the premiere to express his disappointment with the film.
Trank was correct, Fant4stic was a complete box office, critical, and audience failure. But just how bad was this movie?
I'll let you know right now, this movie is definitely dark. Not dark as in eerie, but dark as in: did the lighting crew go on strike? This movie looks like it was shot with the lights off. People just sit in dark rooms and talk. If the images here look dark, it's because that's most of the movie.
Fant4stic starts off with a young Reed Richards and Ben Grimm in elementary school. Reed is mocked by his teacher and classmates because he wants to be a scientist and hone teleportation.
Ben is a kid from the wrong side of the tracks and comes from a violently abusive family. You see, Ben has an older brother who routinely beats the crap out him, saying, “It’s clobbering time!”
Yes, the famous catchphrase, a fun little quote epitomizing the rough and tough Thing’s fighting style, now serves to encapsulate PTSD from childhood domestic abuse.
Up through high school, Reed and Ben develop a prototype teleporter that they present at their high school science fair and almost blow up the gym.
Luckily, Dr. Franklin Storm and his daughter, Susan, happen to be there and offer Reed a scholarship to a government research institute. It turns out Reed’s experiment opened a gate to another planet containing resources that could save Earth.
Ben is offered no such opportunity. He’s left behind, presumably to continue getting beaten.
Reed works on the “Quantum Gate” project with Sue Storm and Victor von Doom. And here we have Dr. Doom in all his 2007 reject emo kid glory.
I won’t even elaborate on the absurdity of the government fully putting their trust in a guy named “Doom.” Especially one who looks like he could be the Unabomber.
And they also work with Sue's brother Johnny, an engineer.
Honestly, I think Michael B. Jordan was a great choice for Johnny Storm. Out of all the actors, he's the best fit for his character and gives an accurate portrayal of the hot-headed Johnny. It’s just that the script doesn’t allow him any room to show off his skill. Don’t worry, Michael B., you’ll get your chance to shine in a Marvel movie. Black Panther is only two years away.
Reed, Victor, Susan, and Johnny complete the teleporter, and the head of the institution is ready to get a group from NASA to Planet Zero. But the team is disappointed that they, the inventors, aren’t the ones to go.
Victor, Johnny, and Reed drink their sorrows away and brilliantly decide that they should go anyway. Like, tonight. But Reed says he won’t go without his buddy, Ben. Because Ben helped him with his science projects.
In the comics, Ben is a trained pilot, so it made more sense for him to go into space. Here, Ben has no scientific background whatsoever. Reed drunk dials his old pal and says, “Hey, dude, want to go to another dimension with me?” And Ben says “Sure, man, be right over.”
So, Reed, Johnny, Ben, and Victor all go through the portal to Planet Zero. Again, did I mention that three out of the four have been drinking?
Sue doesn’t go with them. She stays behind to man the equipment and bails their sorry asses out when they inevitably screw up. Susan was one of the lead scientists and she gets desk duty? This is just insulting.
It’s been ten years since the first Fantastic Four movie premiered, and still, no one knows what to do with Susan. This movie tries to take her character away from Jessica Alba’s obligatory naked hot girl, but it still falls flat. Kate Mara plays Sue as an intelligent, serious, almost stoic scientist.
She's given a little quirk where she listens to music whenever she’s working on something and that’s considered character development.
On the planet, the guys start messing around which pisses off the planet. The bridge explodes as they come back to Earth, and Ben, Reed, and Johnny are all hit.
And the explosion remembers to go through Sue’s computer so it can hit her, too.
No sign of Doom. He’s abandoned and seemingly killed on the enraged planet. I'm sure we’ll never see him again.
The other four go through their changes and are held in Area 57. I always knew Area 51 was just a front.
Gotta say, the visual of Reed waking up in the lab all stretched out borders on body horror-ish.
Ben, now a giant pile of gravel, awkwardly sports the full-frontal look. No joke, he’s naked for the entire movie; no pants, no shorts, not even a speedo.
Reed escapes the facility, but not before stopping to see Ben. Completely traumatized by his transformation, Ben pleads with Reed not to leave him.
So, Reed does what any good friend would do. He squeezes his stretchy ass out of there, promising Ben that he’ll come back for him.
We cut to one year later. Guess who hasn’t come back?
Reed is still gone, and the other three have honed their powers in the facility where the government wants to use them as military assets. But Sue, Johnny, and Ben want to re-build the Quantum Gate, so they can return to normal. But they need Reed who’s been hanging out in Central America all this time, not helping Ben.
After being brought back, Reed re-opens the gate, and who should pop out, but Doom? What an unexpected twist!
Doom’s back and Planet Zero has turned him into the Mall Mannequin from the Black Lagoon.
Doom decides he’s going to destroy the Earth by opening a portal (because we’ve never seen that plot device in a comic book movie before) to suck it up into oblivion.
Luckily, he’s stopped by the foursome with a series of calculated punches. That’s literally all it takes to stop him.
This movie is awful. This is easily the worst Fantastic Four movie ever made. The plot is boring and disjointed with surprisingly little action. And for the love of God, couldn't someone turn a light on? Most of this movie is about people talking in the dark.
The Fantastic Four themselves are horribly underdeveloped and have absolutely no chemistry or emotional connection with each other. I could never in a million years see these people coming together as a team. The bonds of family and friendship just aren’t there.
These are not bad actors, not by a longshot. All of them are talented in their own rights. But the movie is so poorly made, they don’t have much to work with. It’s obvious that they’re trying, but most of the time, they seem just as annoyed about being there as we are watching it. The unreleased 1994 movie was better than this. It may have been cheap and corny, but at least it was an enjoyably bad watch. There was nothing fun about this movie.
Okay, MCU, the ball is in your court. You have a daunting task ahead adapting the Fantastic Four into a good movie. And if you can’t do it, then no one should ever touch this superhero team again.
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