Fantastic Four. Yes, it’s only been ten years since we last saw these four characters get their special powers, and then come together to sort out big baddie Dr Doom, followed by a lame sequel in 2007. And now, ten years on, we’ve got to sit through another near-two-hours watching the four characters get their special powers, and then come together to sort out big baddie Doctor Doom. Deja Vu, anyone?
The trouble with this is that I’m trying to understand the point of the reboot. It’s only ten years since 20th Century Fox last did this, so, with the dark tone and the Marvel labelling, it seemed like just another set of characters to throw into an already-oversubscribed movie-franchise universe, but despite the Marvel comic-flipping logo at the start, there was no mid-credits scene, nor an end credits scene. There WERE a lot of unhappy audience members, however, feeling cheated that we had nothing at all. There’s also no Stan Lee cameo.
In fact, I assumed one of Ant-Man‘s credits scenes would be for Fantastic Four, but it was not (you can see what was there in that review, and behind spoiler tags). Last time round, the dull Chris Evans, who plays the current Captain America, played Johnny Storm/The Human Torch, able to fly and shoot fire, as you do. That could’ve made for an interesting crossover moment if they’d made up a daft post-credits scene for those of us who bothered to stay, having both Evans and the new guy, played by Michael B Jordan, meet up, but no.
In fact, where Fantastic Four also fails is that there’s a lot of potential for comedy in this movie, yet 99.9% of these moments get left funny-free and leaving you thinking about missed opportunites rather than remembering what actually happened.
I’ll spend a very short time explaining what little of the plot there is, as it centres around Reed Richards (Whiplash‘s Miles Teller, and in younger form, Owen Judge) developing a teleporter over the years, which goes to some place they’ve never heard of and know nothing about, and which goes completely unexplained – leaving a potential discovery unpotentialised (if that’s a word), and just shows even more holes in the script where they could’ve been filled with some care and attention.
Along the way, all four of the good guys, including Sue Storm/The Invisible Woman (Kate Mara, not a patch on last decade’s Jessica Alba) and Ben Grimm/The Thing (Jamie Bell) end up in their transformed state, and The Veteran‘s Toby Kebbell is reclusive scientist Victor Von Doom who will, eventually, become Dr Doom. The main cast is rounded out by Reg E Cathey (The Wire‘s Norman Wilson) as overseer of the project Dr Franklin Storm and Tim Blake Nelson as annoying government official Dr Allen, but looking more like the still funny, but disgraced British comedian Chris Langham.
One problem with this film is that it takes so long getting to the point where Dr Doom becomes a threat to the world, that there then isn’t a great deal of time to resolve that issue. As such, it feels like we’re merely watching the opening act of a three-act story, so if this takes off then we’ll get the inevitable two sequels, both of which will at least get a move on as there’s no setup to get through.
Go to page 2 for more thoughts on the film and conclusions.