Film: Fantastic Four – I expected much worse
In the past few months three things were unavoidable in the internet realm: Star Wars, Batman V Superman and the furor surrounding Fox’s Fantastic Four fiasco. One would find it hard to avoid the notion that Fantastic Four was dead on arrival.
However, I expected much worse. What Fantastic Four actually transpired to be was a refreshingly small superhero film told through independent eyes. Sadly for the feature it undoes all its good work by ejaculating all its visual effects nonsense in the final third.
The first two thirds of Fantastic Four play relatively well. It introduces the young band of leads, competently touching on the origins of Reed and Grimm quickly and efficiently. The film also swiftly explains the nature of Sue Strom and Johnny Storm’s parentage without much fluff.
Fantastic Four also adapts certain cheesy aspects of the comic book iteration very well. The way the group ends up naming themselves the Fantastic Four is fulfilling and natural. The fact that Grimm’s ‘Clobbering Time’ came from his abuse addled past rolls off the screen and naming Victor ‘Doom’ because of his pessimism is a smart spin on the goofy villainous name.
For the most part Fantastic Four got the character personalities wrong. Save for Reed and Grimm, the creative team failed to get the laughs from Johnny, the villainy from Victor and the confusion from Sue. A big part of the film getting something right was Miles Teller and Jaime Bell as Reed and Grimm. They had good healthy chemistry and played off each other well.
Despite almost entirely negative reviews garnered by Fantastic Four, I actually liked the first hour of the film. It was small, it was human and it was fast. I liked that instead of globetrotting adventures we were treated to a growing family in a lab. I liked that it was all about intimate relationships without really talking about it overtly. A lot of things went wrong with this iteration of Marvel’s first family but it did have a few saving graces.
But enough of the optimism and gushing, nobody likes that, lets talk about all the bad things. The special effects were terrible. I didn’t think a movie with a reported budget of $150 million could make me miss The Mummy’s Scorpion King but it really did. The effects had no depth; they looked like video game graphics and in some cases even worse.
I hated the way Tim Blake Nelsen chewed his stupid gum. While creating his character the writing team must of thought what would make him even doucheier. ‘We can’t make him like Leonidas and give him an apple to chew and spit out so lets give him gum that he rolls around with every word’ – I imagine that’s how it went. It didn’t work to induce hate towards the character it just made me uncomfortable watching the film.
And now we end with the end. Fantastic Four completely falls apart in the last third. It spends so much time developing these characters, bringing them together and forcing them apart that it has to rush them together again in just 20 minutes. Doctor Doom’s motivation and reappearance is so artificial and so brisk that we don’t really have time to critique it before he’s finally defeated. And whilst the special effects in the final battle were up to par it failed to deter from what was an anticlimactic ending. Its almost as if Fox Studios got down on its knees and satisfied me for over an hour before deciding that it wont let me finish. It just sat there and watched as the last 30 minutes became a sticky, messy abomination of a thing.
Whilst Fantastic Four is not as bad as I expected it to be following early reviews, its still a major disappointment. Fox has dropped the ball on the property one too many times. Perhaps its time to let the Fantastic Four rest on a shelf for a long, long time.
Score – C