FANTASTIC FOUR (2015) – A Review

First, you can put down your pitchforks. His name is Victor von Doom and he’s not a hacker.

Second, you can pick them back up because Fantastic Four is not a very good movie and it’s downright terrible as both a superhero film and an adaptation of the comic it’s based on.

Josh Trank (well, I say Josh Trank, but it’s more him and whoever took over when Fox threw him off the movie) made so many odd choices that it’s pretty much impossible to tell where the movie went off the rails. Was it the characters not getting their powers for a full hour into the film? Was it Reed and Sue’s total lack of chemistry? Was it the reveal that The Thing got his signature catch phrase from his abusive older brother? Was it Sue getting sidelined for the ill-fated voyage? Was it Reed fucking off to travel the world for a quarter of the movie’s runtime, leaving his friends in a government lab* to be used as weapons by the military? Actually Reed being a dick is pretty accurate to the comics.

And before the totally not racist fanboys come out and say it was when Michael B. Jordan was cast, he wasn’t the problem. He did as best he could with a character whose defining (and only real) characteristic is “petulant.”

That said, it is an interesting but flawed entry in the sci-fi/body horror canon (The Fly‘s influence cannot be overstated). Had they not tried to shoehorn the first family of comics into the movie it could have had a chance. Teen scientists and their tough guy friend travel into another dimension and suffer an accident that transforms them and strips them largely of their humanity. A shady government uses them essentially as drone strikes. They then have to fight a justifiably angry member of their team who was trapped in a desolate hellscape for a year. There’s a story there. But trying to pretend it’s a superhero story just doesn’t work because there are expectations that that genre carries with it. Expectations that Fantastic Four ignores to its detriment.

Remember how Unbreakable was meant to be the first act of a superhero film that we’d never see the rest of? Fantastic Four is kind of like that. As the movie ends you leave the theatre wondering what happened to the other reels. What we do see contains very little action and really only one confrontation with the villain. The only “costumes” we see are containment suits meant to help three of the Four control their powers (The Thing gets no such suit, or even pants for that matter). And any actual superheroics are only hinted as something to come.

ff team

One of the only things I can truly say in the film’s defense is the effects are quite good, often making those body horror moments truly horrific. The Thing especially stands out as you can see the individual rocks he’s made up of shifting when he moves as though he was a human-shaped pile of rocks and not a man covered in them.

Fantastic Four (2015) fits in perfectly with the three other FF movies it follows. Like them, it isn’t very good.

I give it 2 HOMER SIMPSON CAMEOS out of 10.

* – named Area 57, presumably because it’s six more secret than Area 51