It appears the Marvel Universe isn’t as infinitesimal as we all thought. What with the Avengers and their individual films winning over audiences, along with the X-Men franchise, last year’s hit Guardians of the Galaxy, and all of the successful TV series from Marvel, it appears Marvel can do no wrong. But, there is a limit and writers Simon Kinberg, Jeremy Slater, and Josh Trank hit that limit when they wrote the reboot to the Fantastic Four franchise.
In Fantastic, our heroes are getting a story that doesn’t even scratch the surface in telling its audience who the characters are as people. We see a bunch of scientists who create a teleportation device, then get drunk one night and decide that they want to be the first humans to enter another dimension. Naturally and predictably, things go awry and our foursome is stuck with powers that they don’t want.
I usually don’t look at other reviews before seeing a film because I want to be objective and my opinion is the only one that matters. However, the jeers for this film were undeniable. Trank, who also directed the film, has even gone on Twitter to say that he had a better version of the film that, sadly, the fans will never see. That tweet was deleted soon after it was posted, though, because a director can’t call his own movie bad during opening weekend. But, it speaks volumes. Apparently, so much stock was placed into the action that the story was lost.
Speaking of story, there really isn’t one. It’s just a mishmash of what a story might look like if you squint a little and look to the left really fast. Otherwise, you’re left with half of a movie and an hour and 45 minutes later you’re wondering what the heck you just watched.
This lackluster film is clearly a superhero movie, but is too busy wagging its index finger at the U.S. government for its constant race to be a superpower of weapons.
What piqued my interest the most about this particular Fantastic Four was the casting of African-American actor Michael B. Jordan as the Human Torch/Johnny Storm. In the comic book version, the character had blonde hair and blue eyes; which looks nothing like Jordan. The fans of the comic book series were quick to cry foul about the casting choice, but Jordan silenced the naysayers by iterating that Trank and Stan Lee vetted him as the Human Torch. Any doubters who had a problem after that just seemed, well, racist.
Jordan is a great actor. He worked with Trank a few years ago for the sleeper hit, Chronicle, which is similar to Fantastic Four. Jordan was good in Chronicle and he’s good in Fantastic Four. Too bad the rest of the movie sucks. The acting is subpar, the writing is mediocre, and the story almost gets swallowed up by its many literary holes.
Even though the early reviews for the new/rebooted Fantastic Four were bad, I had wanted to judge for myself. After seeing the film, I can only conclude that the Marvel Universe is a lot like Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic (played by Miles Teller): it’s being stretched too thin.
Not all of Marvel’s comic series need to be adapted into movies. Some stories work better in specific genres. Since Marvel has tackled and succeeded in the smaller screen, this new Fantastic Four would have been better served as a TV series. That way the young characters of this franchise would have the time and opportunity to grow into their powers and develop into the heroes they are destined to be; just in an entertaining way.