Story points and plot is divulged below…read at your own peril.
The Marvel universe has been taken in a lot of good directions over the past 15 or so years. The X-Men franchise – though had some middling along the way – has overall been very strong thanks to some great directing work. The Avengers (including Hulk and Iron Man movies) has also had some issues but again the strength is still there making the franchise a billion dollar entity.
All of this was possible because Marvel stepped up and basically created their own production house – not satisfied with letting others take the lead on their own characters. Which is what makes this film so surprisingly bad.
Actually, let me take that back…it’s not bad; it’s worse than bad – it’s boring.
Fantastic Four is a reboot to the previously failed franchise staring Ioan Gruffudd (King Arthur), Michael Chiklis (The Shield) and Jessica Alba (Sin City) which held true to the original story of how the team got their powers. The first movie wasn’t bad, a typical Origin Story to introduce an audience not all that familiar with superhero movies back in 2005. Where the train went off the tracks was in the second film when they decided to follow the Silver Surfer/Galactus storyline (an utterly famous arc in the comics which has spawned hundreds of stories since) but apparently deciding that a giant pink and purple humanoid with amazing powers and gadgets they made Galactus some kind of cloud creature with tentacles…yeah.
So, is the new Fantastic Four worse than tentacle monster Galactus? Sadly, yes.
The film dives into the childhood of Reed Richards and Ben Grimm where, in fifth grade, the two collaborate on an amazing device that can transport matter into another dimension. Fast Forward seven years (so that makes Reed like…17?) and one of the top minds in the world is trolling high school science fairs looking for talent? Yeup.
Richards gets brought on board at the Baxter institute where Franklin Storm (Sue and Johnny’s father) runs a prestigious (although apparently secretly funded) institute for gifted youngsters.
Richards and the team, along with Doom who is apparently a badass with a past (that isn’t gone into other than in random asides) and whom is in love with Sue (gotta keep that part of the continuity, right?) work to complete a large-scale version of Reed’s original machine to travel to this new universe.
After testing it and confirming it works the team gets benched in lieu of professionals (a novel concept) but the boys get drunk and decide to use the device themselves. Predictably that endeavor goes awry leaving Doom presumed dead in the other universe and the other three transformed. The trip back causes some sort of disruption field which affects Sue as she’s wildly and RANDOMLY TYPING A MILE A MINUTE ON A KEYBOARD because we all know that the faster and more random you type into a scientific computer the more likely you are to be successful at what you’re trying to do. Not blaming Mara for bad acting necessarily…though she seemed to do kind of the same thing in House of Cards a couple times…
So now they’ve got powers and are going to team up to save the world, right?!?!? Wrong.
To apparently create heightened and never actually fulfilled drama to this story Richards runs away from the complex the team is being held at. He disappears, naked, from a hidden and totally off-the-grid military installation in the middle of winter…just, why?
The story skips ahead a year. They’ve all gotten better control of their powers and a new device is ready to transport a team back to the other universe…where Doom is alive and has been busy cultivating world-altering powers!
In the end the movie culminates in an all-to-short fight between the Four and Doom where predictably and incredibly easily they are victorious. The world is saved!
I was genuinely excited for this reboot. The FF are one of my favorite teams as they are origin of my favorite Marvel character the Silver Surfer who has played a prominent role in their universe of the decades of comics. It seems really unlikely the studio will green-light a sequel given how much this movie has been panned; which is unfortunate. And if Twitter is to be believed even the Director thinks the final product is shite…intimating that there were outside influences at work that destroyed his better vision.
The cast had promise but the story was flawed. Buried in the minutia of character development. Why does there need to be a origin story movie for all superhero characters? Where is that written? Jedi have the Force – it’s explained (albeit briefly) and then it’s understood and accepted. There’s no damned origin movie explaining how Jedi’s got their powers or why. Just make a movie that’s entertaining and shows the characters in their element. If people don’t understand why so and so has these powers and what’s his name has those powers they can FUCKING GOOGLE IT.
It just feels that these movies more often than not fail due to the hindrance of having to spend screen time devoted to explaining things that don’t really need explaining. Just tell us a fun, entertaining, action laden story!
Sadly FF is a big pass. Don’t waste your money. If you want to see it, wait for streaming of DVD. The graphics and fight scenes don’t even require the big screen like most action movies do – there’s not enough of them to warrant it.
This is your Bin Fodder guru signing off.