More like Un-Fantastic Four
Well, Fantastic Four really sh*t the bed this weekend. All the problems plaguing the movie behind the scenes and dogging its disastrous release will be dealt with in a separate post, so that here we can simply focus on the final product, which is just the worst. It’s wrong-headed from the get, a giant f*ck you to both the idea of narrative consistency and the audience for having the temerity to expect a superhero movie—a genre about people with fantastical powers flying around and saving the world—to be any fun at all. Usually, after seeing a movie I jot down two to three pages of notes that result in an approximately 800 word review, but after Fantastic Four I wrote NINE PAGES of notes. In the interest of not writing a 2,000+ word review, I culled the best of my notes to give you an idea of the sheer scope of how wrong Fantastic Four is.
Reed Richards (Miles Teller) and Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell) are introduced as childhood friends, except that their friendship doesn’t matter at all because they spend most of the movie apart and/or hating each other.
Sue Storm (Kate Mara) is introduced as the adopted member of the Storm family and randomly is made a war orphan for no reason that will ever matter, f*ck you.
The Storm family also acts like they have never met.
The Thing’s famous catchphrase, often associated with children’s toys, “It’s clobberin’ time!” is said by Ben Grimm’s older brother moments before he begins physically abusing Ben and no one found that weird or troubling at all.
Victor Von Doom is a malcontent hacker who openly disdains the US government and is prone to arson. Everyone trusts him and no one ever acts like his blatantly nihilistic attitude is remotely worrying.
The characters are ignoring huge red flags about one another just to keep the plot advancing because f*ck you.
Except for Ben Grimm, who is not part of the movie at all by this point.
Did they just show a f*cking TEST FLIGHT? They did! They make us sit through an ENTIRE SCENE about the test flight for the inter-dimensional portal machine Reed and Victor built!
Meanwhile, the closest thing to a bonding scene is a single cutaway during a montage of the team—minus Ben, plus Victor, so that’s not even the right combination of people f*ck you—eating take out.
I know this is an origin story, but someone really misunderstood the assignment.
Reed says he doesn’t want to be famous, then later decides to use the portal machine first so that his name will be remembered in history, like Neil Armstrong.
It’s implied at the beginning and end of the movie that Johnny (Michael B Jordan) is not a genius like his dad and sister, and yet in the middle, he is capable enough to help build the portal machine.
Also Johnny is REALLY into the idea of being a fire-assassin. His defining characteristic is “wants to kill people” yet he’s on the heroes’ side because f*ck you.
Doom wants to destroy everything but also rule a planet and this makes sense f*ck you.
Sue has no personality so there are no inconsistencies.
Reed’s elasticity power allows him to change his facial features…and also his skin color, eye color, hair, accent, vocal register, height, and weight. So basically he’s Mystique. F*ck you.
The boys forget to invite Sue on their trip into inter-dimensional space*, but she still gets powers because f*ck you.
Kate Mara’s terrible wig is a superpower unto itself.
Doom’s space suit fused to his body, which gives him the famous metal face because skin + polymer = metal = F*CK YOU. But he also got a cape somewhere while stuck alone in another dimension. He has no need for the cape and wasn’t a particularly cape-type person before the accident, but he’s really fond of the cape once it shows up. Magically. (F*ck you.)
None of the F4 can control their powers unless they wear special suits all the time, except for Doom who has perfect control because f*ck you.
None of this applies to Ben, who is a boulder.
The Third Act
After 70 minutes of being a grimdark body horror take on superheroes, Fantastic Four turns into an Avengers movie.
You can actually hear the Fox execs shouting, “Be more like the Avengers!”
Doom: Looks like Ultron, acts like Loki.
The F4 are capable of working in perfect harmony despite never training together or knowing the extent of each other’s powers f*ck you.
Seriously, it’s like someone at Fox saw Avengers: Age of Ultron and decided to just make that movie instead, right up to ending on a mid-dialogue cut. (Someone in the theater yelled, “Avengers!” which made everyone laugh.)
After spending two-thirds of the movie not talking to/hating one another, the F4 are now super best friends the end F*CK YOU. And f*ck me for sitting through this mess. Roger Corman’s ashcan copy remains the best version of Fantastic Four.
*The egregious side-lining of Sue Storm seems to give credence to rumors that Josh Trank wasn’t fond of Kate Mara.