Director: Josh Trank
Starring: Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Bell
Release Date: 6th August 2015 (UK)
Any film with Marvel’s name on it carries an unprecedented amount of expectation these days. Unfortunately, the reboot of Fantastic Four gave plenty of reasons for critics such as Horselover Fat to bemoan it as “fucking shite on a plate of shite in a stadium full of shite”. Though it had a plethora of positives, Josh Trank’s movie seemed hell bent on hiding them, as if it got far too carried away with planting little Easter Eggs throughout that it literally hid anything we could like.
A far cry from the 2005 reboot, Fantastic Four feels more like an origin story and features a much younger foursome who are brought together by visionary scientist Franklin Storm to change the course of human history and finally crack inter-dimensional teleportation. Reed Richards (Miles Teller) is the prodigy who challenges Victor Von Doom (Toby Kebbell) for both professional respect and mutual interest Sue Storm, a love triangle which was played out modestly, and his design ultimately allows them to do an unauthorized site visit of the unknown, with catastrophic consequences.
There are stark differences in this imagining compared to last decade, primarily in how the group meet and acquire their powers. The intent of setting up a trilogy is clear, and as such most of the film puts aside action for character development. Unfortunately, for a film that is so deliberate in its attempt to build a strong character arc, it lacked so much itself. The pacing was almost non-existent which made it practically impossible to engage with the story. It’s almost like we’re watching the first cut of a solid movie, the one usually reserved for the edit suite’s nearest bin.
After watching the movie, it’s not hard to see why director Josh Trank is distancing himself, as studio interference has never been so apparent, though his comments are still damaging to his own professionalism. Though Fantastic Four does at least have four standout performances from its leading cast, with a young bunch on the cusp of greatness proving their versatility. If only Reg E. Cathey wasn’t using Dr. Storm to do his best Morgan Freeman impressions. Toby Kebbell also brought little to Victor Doom besides a brooding anger at the world and a slightly poor imitation of Julian McMahon’s 2005 Doom.
Overall Fantastic Four is a film that constantly feels like it should be delivering more. It’s frame of comparison set unrealistic standards for a franchise that has always inexplicably struggled to translate to the big screen, but the biggest shame of all is the sequel, for which this was a 110 minute prelude, will probably never get made.