REVIEW: Fantastic Four (2015)

Fantastic Four manages to be worse than the Tim Story movies that preceded it. I mean… fuck… This makes those shitty films look like masterpieces by comparison.

This movie is awful. Actually truly horrendous. It’s not quite as bad as The Last Airbender, I think, but that’s the only movie I can compare it to off the top of my head. So much of the dialogue is expositional, with characters just flat out stating shit that we never see any evidence of. Characters aren’t consistent from one scene to the next. Also, there’s no plot. It takes over an hour for them to get their powers and even then there’s no actual action until the last 15-20 minutes. Besides everything else, It’s really boring.

I didn’t like Man of Steel. In fact I kinda hate that movie. This movie is way worse. Way worse! Man of Steel is a least a movie. This is like a pile of partial movies that got stitched together.

It sounds like that is what happened here, with 3 credited writers and stories of studio interference coming from even the director himself. I don’t know if Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four movie would have been good, but it’s obvious that’s not what I saw. This feels like a studio hired a director who had an unconventional vision for the material and then got terrified of that vision right before shooting started.

The movie also just looks bad and ugly. Shots are framed poorly, everything is grey with the majority of the movie taking place is an underground bunker. I sure hope Trank was just checked out before shooting began, because I liked Chronicle a lot and I would hate if that just turned out to be a fluke.

I really like Michael B. Jordan (I mean he was on The Wire, I love everyone who was on that show), and he has great screen presence, but he has nothing to do, and nothing to work with. His character is mostly an after thought, you could actually cut him entirely from this movie. Instead the movie is more about Miles Teller playing Reed Richards; this was not a good choice on the movie’s part. Reed Richards not only suck in this movie, but he’s also a horrible person and I actively hate him.

Which is impressive, I shouldn’t feel anything for anyone in this movie, because none of them are characters. None. Everything is determined by what the plot wants of them at the moment. That’s another problem, because again, there is no plot. There are the remnants of what were clearly once plots, but they’re so fractured and insubstantial that I can’t even fully make them out. It ends up just being a collection of competing cliches.

We are told repeatedly that the government isn’t to be trusted, but nothing ever comes of that. There actually isn’t a person who represents the government in the movie really. (Tim Blake Nelson ends up filling this role, but it seems like he’s just on some board for the Baxter Foundation. What the Baxter Foundation even is isn’t clear in the movie though so it’s hard to tell.) They talk the Thing into fighting insurgents for them, and the Human Torch is all set to join him. They’re not particularly coerced or anything, and they both agree to this willingly, but everyone else just keeps saying that the military can’t be trusted. But that’s all there is to that story. The villain just winds up being a crazy Doctor Doom who wants to destroy the world.

There are plenty of little details I could nitpick, but none of that actually matters, because the movie is so fundamentally broken. And boring, did I mention it was boring? Fuck. Nothing fucking happens. And the climactic action sequence is just a thematic retread of the ending to Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. This movie is so bad it makes me nostalgic for the Tim Story Fantastic Four movies. The best scene in this movie is ripped out of Batman & Robin.

The movie is tonally weird and really has no connection to what I love about the Fantastic Four, and that doesn’t matter. Maybe whatever ideas Josh Trank had for a dark, grounded FF movie could have worked, I dunno. I just want to make it clear: the awfulness of this movie has nothing to do with adaptation, and nothing to do with the Fantastic Four as a property. This was an amazingly terrible script, that probably didn’t actually exist until it was stitched together on the editing floor.

This is a bad movie. I can’t even recommend it as a trainwreck because it’s so boring.