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Friday, 29 June 2018

Movie Review: Fantastic Four (2015)

Fantastic Four
Cast: Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell, Toby Kebbell
Genre: Superhero
Worldwide Box Office Gross: over $167 million

Plot: Four young outsiders teleport to an alternate and dangerous universe which alters their physical form in shocking ways. The four must learn to harness their new abilities & work together to save the earth from a former friend turned enemy

'Plastic, Not Fantastic'

The reviews said this was awful, critics haven't been too kind to the previous iterations of the Fantastic Four live-action films starring Ioan Grufford, Chris Evans and Jessica Alba, but 2015's version takes the cake, quite easily. Fox's second crack at the Marvel comics franchise went ka-put, yet again as its checkered history in the cinematic world, is ridden with issues in all areas. Though I wasn't keen on the earlier films, at least one thing they got right, somewhat was the cast. Well, on paper. Here, and in pre-Black Panther star, Michael B. Jordan, it featured a cast (and a younger one to boot) of mostly lesser-known stars. But even they deserve a far better screenplay. After seeing this movie, I've realised & all the negative hype and criticism & backlash levelled towards this film, is justified. 

Reed Richards is a teen scientist, with the help of a friend, Ben Grimm who invents a transportation device in his family's garage. This device attracts the attention of Dr Storm. Dr Storm's son is Johnny with Sue Storm as Johnny's sister & Dr Storm's daughter. 

With a younger cast in B. Jordan, Jamie Bell of Billy Elliott, Miles Teller and Kate Mara, it seems like they were targeting a younger audience, in particular teens and boys. And yet, it failed. I just didn't sense either of them as their characters. These actors just weren't up to the task in making those characters believable and convincing and for me to fully believe that they are those characters. 

The film takes an awfully long time for any genuine action to take place, as the story is overlong and so bland where nothing exciting or interesting happens for say, the first hour. Almost all of the money was blown on the special effects, which some of it weren't all that great, to be honest. It is also shockingly devoid of any humour and fun that the spirit of the comics and 90s animated series had, whilst as bad as 2002's film was, it was modestly entertaining at times. Here, the tone is far too serious and bleak, which is the antithesis of what and who the Fantastic Four stands for.

But the film will be well known for the so-called controversial casting of Black actor, Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm: adopted brother of Sue Richards and who by origin is White. Thus, changing the origin of Johnny and Sue as brother and sister to being adopted siblings, not only deviates from the source material but as a movie trying to pay respect to its history and who the Fantastic 4 are, it doesn't even do that at all, never mind properly. I'm all for diversity in superhero films, but it has to be done in a way that reflects the original origins of the characters from the comics - & less so by changing up the ethnicity of that particular protagonist/ antagonist. 

The race-bending issue wouldn't have been that much of a deal here if the alternate version of Fantastic Four had a Black Johnny Storm (and Marvel & DC have created alternate universe versions of Superheroes for comics like Superman with an Asian and African American one). Yet besides the adequate special effects and the miscasting issues, Jordan also looked far more compromising in Black Panther than as the one dubbed the Human Torch. At one point, he said that the failure of this film was down to racism and the backlash of Johnny being Black, but really, looking at this movie, this was a sheer abomination from point A to B. The chemistry, bond and family togetherness that makes the Fantastic Four a unique superhero family unit just wasn't there, whatsoever. 

This was on TV: I would never have paid money to see it or own it on DVD and having just witnessed it for myself, it was a 2-hour slogfest that was mainly dull and its intentions were, again, not realised. 

With the story unfolding, it bends and goes into so many directions that alongside no star performances, this version of Fantastic Four is up there with the other comic book turd & atrocity, 1997's Batman & Robin

Final Verdict:

The Fantastic Four has a straightforward premise and set of characters how movie executives have never managed to get it right, not once, twice but on three occasions is bewildering. It is mostly dire, dispiriting, disjointed. Not to mention uninspiring to offer anything to render it utterly memorable. & memorable it is not. 

As superhero flicks go, as well as being dour, like the Fox X-MEN movies, it ditches the trademark blue and white Spandex outfits for all-black attire. It's not just the personalities that are colourless, but so are their outfits. 

Not only is this one of the worst reboots, ever - & one that was in hindsight, unnecessary, it is also one of the worst comic book movies I've seen; this isn't fantastic, but rather it is so inept and flawed. 


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