Devin King | Staff Reporter
Published August 7, 2015; 10:30 a.m
It is hard to believe what superhero films have been able to accomplish in recent years. With Marvel raising the bar with films, such as “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” the bar has been raised, but even more surprising than the fact that superhero films have been good lately, is the inability to create an above mediocre “Fantastic Four” film. Josh Trank, known for 2012’s “Chronicle,” reboots “Fantastic Four” this year and creates an all-time low for the genre.
The story starts out with longtime childhood friends Reed Richards (Miles Teller) and Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell) showing off their teleporter at their high school science fair. Despite their experiment failing at the fair, the two are discovered by scientists working on creating a teleporter of their own and hire Richards to work on their project. During this time, Richards meets siblings Sue (Kate Mara) and Johnny Storm (Michael B. Jordan), as well as Victor von Doom (Toby Kebbell). After a “surprising” accident happens with the teleporter, Richards, Grimm (who gets invited to test the teleporter at the last minute), Sue, Johnny and von Doom are all given their respective superpowers known in the “Fantastic Four” comics.
The story itself is 90 minutes of boring, awkward dialogue to get to a disappointingly rushed 10-minute climax. There is so much time spend to set this up, that it feels like there is no middle part to the film. The characters are all apart from each other until the very end and there is so much obvious foreshadowing to the end, that it gives the film a very incomplete feeling. The climax offers no payoff at all, except the fact that it is the only scene with any action in it. However, in the very little action there is, there is nothing exciting about it.
The writing is undeniably predictable and cliché, in fact, I was able to guess an exact line moments before it was spoken. The dialogue is best described as an episode of “The Big Bang Theory” without the laugh track. The characters are meant to be smart, but every word that comes out their mouths makes them sound idiotic. There is also a farrago to be found that is made up of classic phrases from the comic, such as the Thing’s catchphrase “It’s clobberin’ time!” which is inspired by Grimm’s older brother’s words when he abuses Grimm. Lines are also constantly spewed about family to get the Fantastic Four’s iconic theme present, but it is very forced since there is nothing physically happening on screen to go with this theme.
Despite the cast consisting of many talents, all of the performances are wooden, and as a result, none of the iconic characters come to life. No chemistry is found between the actors, which is ironic since the Fantastic Four are considered a “family” of superheroes. Some of the characters also never use some of their powers, such as Sue (The Invisible Woman) almost never turning invisible and Richards only changing shape once in what is the single worse special effect I have ever witnessed in cinema. And once again, Dr. Doom’s origins, powers and character are done incorrectly.
With a $122 million budget, one would expect some decent production value, however, the film feels very low budget. The cinematography is extremely boring, as well as the score. However, the special effects are hands-down the worst part of the film. When Johnny is on fire he looks like a cartoon and Sue’s force fields look very computer generated. Richards somehow got the worst of it all with the textures looking almost Photoshopped when their stretched out, and a notably bad face morph is the awful special effect mentioned above.
Impressively, Josh Trank’s “Fantastic Four” made the 2005 “Fantastic Four” and its sequel “Rise of the Silver Surfer,” look like good films in comparison. Unlike many other failed comic book adaptation attempts, this film fails to be anything but fun, making it one of the worst films of the genre.