Starring: Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan
Director: Josh Trank
Running Time: 100 mins
Fantastic Four is an American film about a group of four genius students at a prestigious scientific academy who, after teleporting to another dimension, discover that they have developed special powers, which they must use to save the world from an old friend who has turned bad.
This is pretty much as dire a superhero movie can get. Some comic book movies are goofy, some are exciting, but this is just plain tedious. With a gloomy colour palette that matches the downbeat atmosphere, there’s never a moment in this film when you feel like you’re watching an adaptation of one of the most iconic superhero teams in history, and when coupled with an even duller plot, watching Fantastic Four is a really arduous chore.
There are very few positive things that I can say about this movie, however what I can say is that the actors tried their best. Miles Teller, Kate Mara and Michael B. Jordan are three of the most talented young actors working at the moment, and you can tell, even in this atrocity of a film, that they’re not phoning it in. Whilst the tedium of the story means it’s hard to get any enjoyability out of this, the three of them were clearly doing their all to make this film work.
Despite their best efforts, however, there’s no saving this movie. The biggest issue, by a country mile, is the way the story fails to capitalise on the uniquely dark atmosphere of the film. I’ll get onto why the atmosphere itself is a problem in a second, but there is an argument that the film could have been a fascinating and dramatically intriguing adaptation of the comics, however the appalling dialogue, pacing and story development of the heroes as painfully one-dimensional characters completely ruins that possibility, and puts the film full speed ahead to the car crash that it ultimately is.
Now onto the drab atmosphere. Dark takes on comic books have undoubtedly worked, with Christopher Nolan’s excellent The Dark Knight trilogy the best example, but this really didn’t. I think the reason for that is the combination of poorly developed characters and a bad story, but the prevailing downbeat atmosphere, worsened by the dark and gloomy cinematography, rips away all the fun that this movie could have had.
What’s even worse is the fact that, in a superhero movie, there’s barely ten minutes of action. For the first hour and fifteen minutes, there’s a two-minute burst that still doesn’t prove at all entertaining, and then the finale centres around a five minute-long action sequence that feels completely out of place. Prior to it, the film had been going for a darker, more intelligent take on the Fantastic Four (although it was still failing), but the worst moment arrives when we get a jarring shift in tone to a dumb, action-driven climax (which ends far too quickly and doesn’t even give you time to find enjoyment in it).
Overall, this is a simply awful film. Superhero movies should have some excitement and definitely entertainment in them, but this had neither. It’s a seriously dull and downbeat take on a classic comic book team that hopefully won’t be coming back to the big screen for a while, and that’s why Fantastic Four gets a 3.3 from me.