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Fantastic Four – Joint Review

 
 
Overview
 

Release Date: 7 August 2015 [USA]
 
Director: Josh Trank
 
Writer: Jeremy Slater - Simon Kinberg - Josh Trank [Screenplay] - Stan Lee - Jack Kirby [Comic]
 
Cast: Miles Teller - Kate Mara - Michael B. Jordan - Jamie Bell - Toby Kebbell
 


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Posted August 13, 2015 by

 
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Fantastic Four – Joint Review

Michael’s Perspective:

Teen genius Reed Richards catches the eye of secretive scientist Dr. Frank Storm with his fledgling teleportation device. He’s placed among a group of young prodigies whose goal is to construct a practical working teleporter.

After successfully building the machine, the team is anxious to be the first to use it before the project’s financiers take control. The ill-prepared expedition into the unknown goes horribly wrong and the team, minus one, returns with life-changing abilities. Cue military intervention.

Reed (Miles Teller) is an awkward but charming nerd who doesn’t seem to know what a fist bump is. He and pal Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell) have good chemistry to start with but this disappears halfway through the movie.  Johnny Storm (Michael B. Jordan) enjoys a great introductory scene and is quite charismatic though the same can’t be said for adopted sister Sue (Kate Mara). Toby Kebbell as Victor von Doom makes little impact at the beginning and disappears for a large portion of the movie. His return is predictable but his brief limelight at the movie’s end is surprising and terrifying. His charred and glowing body will have Mass Effect fans thinking of those cannon fodder, the Husks.

Director Josh Trank handles a few moments of horror terrifically and gives the movie a much darker, heavier shade at times. Dr. Doom has the ability to microwave people’s heads, resulting in some bloody mess. Also, how Reed discovers his stretching ability is both gruesome and awesome.

The first act of the movie spends considerable time on bringing the team together and building the portal. Once complete, the show moves fast, at points zooming past plot holes. For instance, Ben Grimm leaves home to join Reed in travelling through the “Quantum Gate”. He returns as The Thing (a mo-cap performance less ridiculous than Michael Chiklis’ man-in-a-suit) and is whisked away to a secret military base. No mention is ever given to his surely worrying family. Another issue is how Reed is able to escape said secret military base and evade capture for a year when he seemingly needs a specialized suit to keep his limbs from stretching uncontrollably. This plot hole could be forgiven after Reed reveals an impressive trick in changing his facial appearance.

Nolan is channeled here several times. There are the montages, the more silly monikers are dropped in subtle ways and there are no opening titles. Instead, the name is teased at the movie’s last moment. The restraint is admirable.

There are the obligatory moments of exposition. Reg E. Cathey’s Dr. Frank Storm is to the Four what Alfred is to Batman, just not as warm or likable. His expression is often cold and his lines are stiff. A tedious bit of expo from Reed during the movie’s finale is thankfully quick, painless and doesn’t detract from the action.

While having nowhere near as many memorable characters as the Avengers or the X-Men, not to mention a pretty bad history in film behind it, Fantastic Four has an uphill battle to face. Despite that, Trank has taken a cadaver and tried his best to jolt some life back into it, resulting in a neatly directed and adequately entertaining superhero flick.

Written by:

10990897_947809968572240_8068008592644517359_n

Michael Keyes
Silences Band
@mkjk1990
Full Contributor

 

Nick’s Perspective:

When the news about a FANTASTIC FOUR re-boot surfaced, I have to say I was pretty excited. Although I appreciated Tim Story’s 2005 and 2007 FANTASTIC FOUR films for what they were at the time, when you look back on them now you have to admit that they were very cheesy and pretty poorly made. Unfortunately, any excitement that the trailer for FOX’s new and darker-looking FANTASTIC FOUR franchise created by CHRONICLE director, Josh Trank, is very short-lived.

Miles Teller (WHIPLASH, TWO NIGHT STAND) plays the boy-genius turned scientist Reed Richards who is set on making cross-dimensional travel a reality for the human race with his closest friend Ben Grimm (played by BILLY ELLIOTT’S Jamie Bell). After Dr. Franklin Storm (Reg E. Cathey) and Dr. Allen (Tim Blake Nelson) recruit Reed to work in New York alongside Dr. Franklin’s adopted daughter Sue Storm (Kate Mara) and the intelligent loose cannon Victor Von Doom (ROCK N ROLLA’S Toby Kebbell), Reed’s dreams become a reality. Determined to see-through what he started, Reed takes his team to the other dimension in search of answers, but instead they are all exposed to an unknown energy source which alters their physical form for good. With their new abilities, Reed, Sue, Johnny (Michael B. Jordan) and Ben must work together to save the world from an unlikely threat.

Much debate has been created around this particular film for many reasons, but the major talking point around the FANTASTIC FOUR re-boot of 2015, is how much of this film was actually director Josh Trank’s work and how much was manipulated by the people at FOX. Personally, this is a lousy excuse to hide behind as, at the end of the day I cannot believe that FOX would supposedly want to change the feel of a film themselves unless it had a real impact on the final product. However, the fact that a Marvel summer blockbuster is under two hours, it does create a sense of controversy in my mind.

Unfortunately, this film struggles throughout. Cross-dimensional travel was an unnecessary alteration to the plot of the fantastic four origins, and as much as I respect a lot of the cast for other works, if a team of superheroes cannot create a better chemistry, or even as good as a chemistry as the team in the original films which were made, why re-make it?

I can admit that this film did not disappoint me to the levels that the likes of IRON MAN 2, DAREDEVIL (2003), SPIDER-MAN 3, X-MEN: THE LAST STAND, ELEKTRA, and HULK (2003) did, but personally, that is not the level of film you should be trying to surpass. In this day and age, if you are trying to rival what the likes of Marvel and Disney are bringing out with their Marvel Cinematic Universe, you do not create something unless it is anywhere near as great.

FANTASTIC FOUR definitely has a stellar line up of current and future talent, a good portrayal of how powerful Dr. Doom can be, and a stronger and less comical Reed Richards in Miles Teller, but personally, using only 100 minutes to tell an origins story of one of the most famous teams in Marvel Comics and defeat one of the most powerful enemies in Marvel Comics, is not enough! This film deserves more depth, and although the power Dr. Doom possesses is pretty much the best thing I can praise about this FANTASTIC FOUR version compared to the Tim Story films, his character was not appreciated enough in my eyes, which made for one of the weakest endings in Marvel history.

“When you change the world, prepare to defend it.”

Recommendation: This is a very rare thing for me; not recommending you to catch a Marvel film. Basically, as it is not part of any other Marvel focus, I can safely say hold out for DVD/Amazon Instant Video with this one.

Written By:

2b2b770

Nick Price
@RTWriteUps
Real-Time Write-Ups!
Freelance Contributor

 

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