2015 / Josh Trank.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
I am convinced that FANTASTIC FOUR is a comic book that will never translate well on film. There have been several adaptations throughout the years and none of them have worked. I would argue that the characters are too stupid for live action and they just look stupid on screen. Add to that the fact that their name is dumb.
The latest attempt to revive the franchise is possibly the worst yet. It reboots the series with yet another origin story and depicts the creation of the FANTASTIC FOUR superheroes, along with their arch nemesis Dr Doom. It uses a pseudo science that hits new heights of absurd that even the writers seem confused about the mechanics of what they're saying. With a heap of random mambo jumbo and mathematical scribbles we're expected to believe that a boy genius has unlocked the gateway to another dimension. Give him a pair of glasses and nerdy persona and PRESTO, inter-dimensional teleportation... of course.... derr.
There is no question that aesthetically they've attempted to match the quality of superior Marvel films like THE AVENGERS and all associated spin-offs, and the opening scenes are really well handled. For the first ten minutes I began to believe that this might be the movie to change my perception of the FANTASTIC FOUR - I was wrong.
The entire film (especially the second half) feels like a Saturday morning cartoon. The special effect are awful with a smorgasbord of poorly conceived CGI and second-rate chroma-key on display. And the dialogue is even worse. The actors look like they're reading their lines directly from the speech bubbles of the original comic books and put zero energy into their performances. Even my 14 year old son noted that it looked like none of them wanted to be there. Miles Teller is emerging as one of my favourite actors of the moment and coming off the back of WHIPLASH, this is an atrocious demonstration. He has his moments in the first half, however he loses him mojo very fast and phones the rest of his performance in.
The previous adaptations by Tim Story in 2005 and 2007 were equally as bad, but they didn't take themselves seriously. There was an obvious cartoonish nature to the world they presented and the stupidity of the characters suited the atmosphere. Sadly this new entry misses the mark and tries to be something it can never be. There are some moments where it wants to be a family-friendly adventure followed by conflicting moments where it pushes for a much darker adult-orientated tone. I sat in a cinema full of pre-teen kids with their parents and there were gasps of horror in a scene where heads explode in a completely graphic (and confronting) way. Who is this movie trying to appeal to?
I give FANTASTIC FOUR some kudos for a strong opening scene as well as a very cool rampage scene featuring Dr Doom... but that's as far as my courtesy extends. This is a dumb, bloated and moronic comic-book adaptation that should never have been tempted in the first place. This is not a series that will ever be good. They ought to keep it animated and forget about the live-action.