“Fantastic Four” teleports audience through a fantastic mess

By Michael O’Hearn, Social Media Coordinator
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Going into the new Fantastic Four film directed by Josh Trank, I didn’t have high hopes.
I had heard about the numerous complications behind the scenes, ranging from the fist fights actor Miles Teller almost ignited with Trank, to the multiple reshoots the film added at the last minute.
So where do I begin to tell readers this movie not only met my low expectations, but also made history as the biggest bomb of 2015? Starting from the top of this atrocity sounds like a fine idea.
I want to liken this film to what might happen if someone were to run a red light in New York City in a shiny Ferrari going way over the speed limit. Numerous pedestrians would be killed, cars would crash and burn and the whole scene would be a fiery explosion of mayhem and destruction.
The movie theater audience might be like the police personnel, yelling at the Ferrari to stop dead in its tracks in order to spare innocent lives.
The concept behind this reboot of the 2005 movie is interesting enough. Reed Richards discovers interdimensional travel at a young age and is enlisted by a scientist, Franklin Storm, and his daughter, to do more experiments on his findings while in high school.
It’s the execution of this film, including the acting and cringeworthy script, that leaves something more to be desired by a casual moviegoer like myself.
Along the way, Richards’ childhood friend, Ben Grimm, and Franklin Storm’s son, Johnny Storm, get involved with the project. The scientist also has to call upon Victor von Doom for some inexplicable reason for additional support.
During the first 45 minutes, we follow the new team as they try to get along with each other while perfecting the science of teleporting between dimensions.
Read the last sentence again, putting emphasis on 45 minutes and considering all of this time is used for the exposition of the science that goes into the team’s research and the construction of Richards’ machine on a full scale.
The experience of taking a short-lived trip to another dimension only lasts 10 minutes, which, of course, fails, setting up the rest of the movie.
The movie needed some kind of drama extending beyond the tired cliches utilized in this film. Johnny Storm is reckless and his father disapproves of the way he lives in the shadow of Sue Storm, his adopted sister.
Reed Richards and Victor von Doom immediately dislike each other once paired up, which makes little sense to me because there is no prior history between the two scientists.
And, of course, we get the forced love triangle between Doom, Richards and Sue Storm. Richards tries to flirt with Storm by bringing up music, inquisitively calling it “her thing,” which comes off awkward and uninspired.
We get a mere mention that Doom has romantic feelings for Sue Storm, which don’t resurface until the very end when Doom is trying to kill everyone. So, that doesn’t work in his favor, either.
Once the main characters get their powers, we see them locked up for the next 20 minutes. Enter Act Two, in which the government wants to experiment with the characters, to the dismay of Franklin Storm.
Fast forward a year, where the Storm siblings are recklessly playing with their powers and the U.S. military is using Ben Grimm as a weapon like the Hulk.
Richards is in a self-imposed exile. He feels he can’t help his friends circumnavigate their new abilities and the government wanting to use them as the basis for advanced soldiers.
At this point, the movie is three-quarters of the way done, and all the audience has seen is work on the teleportation machine, one failed trip to another dimension, and Richards being brought back into the fray from exile.
Nothing fantastic has occurred yet, and the movie is more than an hour in. Bear in mind the film has 30 minutes left to establish these so-called heroes as a team, while also bringing in a formidable villain for the heroes to fight in the thrilling and final battle.
It is presumed up to a point that Doom perished while on the first trip to the other dimension. Despite the dangerous, fatal first trip, the government decides to send a team of their men back to the dimension to discover something useful.
This is when Doom comes back into play, using inexplicable new powers and a new cape he somehow found to decimate the crew that brought him back to Earth.
Doom is evil and he does evil things, therefore, he’s the new villain of the film. His plan is to recreate the world in the new dimension by bringing everything through the teleportation machine. Also, the name Doom spells out certain doom for anyone in the character’s path.
The team, who the government now somehow trusts, follows Doom back to the second dimension to fight him. This fight scene lasts all of five minutes, as Doom is sent flying into the teleporter and disintegrated by the new team of heroes.
Oh, and the team of new heroes now has the audacity to call themselves the Fantastic Four after being apart for 95 percent of the movie, not discovering their powers until halfway into the film and only coming together for a few minutes in the finale to fight their foe.
The only difference here is Twentieth Century Fox had the guts to pull an Avengers: Age of Ultron move, pulling the rug from underneath the audience by simply throwing the title card on the screen at the end when Richards wanted to establish the team’s name.
Director Josh Trank sent out a tweet on August 7, the day of the U.S. release, apologizing to audience members for a mess he didn’t want to have his name attached to.
From that point, rumors flew over whose fault it is for this film turning out as badly as it did. Trank’s previous film, Chronicle, was well-received when it was released in 2012 and currently holds an 85 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
This led people to believe Twentieth Century Fox had the audacity to allegedly turn Trank’s film into the final product by editing and splicing the film to their liking. At one point, Trank was allegedly kicked out of the editing room by the studio heads and an article published by JoBlo Movie News outlined 12 scenes not included in the film but in the trailers.
As Trank tweeted on opening day, fans may never see the director’s cut for this year’s Fantastic Four anytime soon. The film had a lot of potential, setting itself apart from the two predecessors in 2005 and 2007 by taking a darker tone similar to DC Comics’ The Dark Knight or Man of Steel.
Despite disappointment, the film studio currently has plans to release a sequel to this colorful disaster in 2017. They are apparently not ready to relinquish the rights to the Fantastic Four to Marvel Studios like Sony did with Spider-Man in February.
Trank will likely not return and it is unknown if any of the actors from the first will sign on for a second coming. With such a sour taste left in my mouth, it’s doubtful this superhero team will become fantastic any time soon.
My final thoughts on this film entail completely skipping it or watching it on a rainy Sunday afternoon, if it’s on cable. I want nothing more than to forget the 90 minutes I spent watching it to write this review.
Final Grade: D-