‘FANTASTIC FOUR’ (2015)
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Flame On and Clobbering Time (Again)
This was a wasted opportunity of a ‘Fantastic Four’ film.
The Fantastic Four is a Marvel superhero team I’ve grown to love since first seeing them in their own 2005 and 2007 films. Beforehand, I’d read the original 1960s ‘Fantastic Four’ comics by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in a reprint book. They were campy and corny comics, but they were great fun to read! 😀
Over the years, the Fantastic Four have had many interpretations in terms of TV and movie adaptations. They’ve had their own cartoon show in the 1990s and they almost starred in their own 1994 film before it was cancelled and unreleased due to the cheap production values it seemed to have.
I know not many people like the 2005 and 2007 ‘Fantastic Four’ films very much, but I like them as they evoked the spirit of the original comics which is the right way to go about it. Hopefully the same came be applied to the Fantastic Four when they make their appearances in the ‘MCU’ movie series.
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the 2015 film ‘Fantastic Four’ – better known as ‘Fant4stic’. I got the DVD of ‘Fant4stic’ from my best mate Stephen for Christmas 2018. He also got me a print display of all the signatures of the fourteen Doctors featured in ‘Doctor Who’, which was really nice.
I said one time that I would never see this ‘Fantastic Four’ movie. I didn’t see it at the cinema as I heard bad reviews about it upon its release when I was on holiday in Oxford, August 2015. This is a great shame. I hoped it would be a great ‘Fantastic Four’ film and that one day I might go and see it.
But in all honesty, I don’t think this 2015 version of the ‘Fantastic Four’ would win me over as I was still in love with the 2005/2007 versions. I soon saw the disastrous reboot film people had been talking about once I had the DVD from my best mate Stephen, who knew I liked Marvel superheroes.
I guessed he also wanted me to review the movie via my blog once I had it for Christmas 2018 for curiosity’s sake. And that’s fair enough, as I was curious about why this movie was so bad and why people rated it badly. I knew it wasn’t going to be great and that I didn’t need to be excited about it.
I was hoping to enjoy myself watching this ‘Fantastic Four’ film. I always like to find the positives and negatives of any film. Maybe this film would be okay. Maybe it wouldn’t be as bad as many others have claimed it to be. I knew it was not going to be likely, but it was best to keep an open mind on it.
And after seeing the film…yeah! It’s bad. Very, very bad! (Pause) But not as bad as I thought it would be. I know that’s something not everyone’s going to agree with, but…I survived it. I managed to sit through what is arguably a dull movie. I can see why people do not like it and what they’re on about.
But in another manner, I can’t deny getting some enjoyment out of watching the movie because it’s so bad. I didn’t let it bother me. It’s not an action-packed spectacle compared to ‘Elektra’, but there is a story to follow in it compared to ‘Elektra’. And there is character development…of a weaker sort.
It’s just as well that I didn’t see the ‘Fant4stic’ film back in 2015 as I would’ve been bitterly disappointed. The ‘Fantastic Four’ era for me will always be with Ioan Gruffurd, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans and Michael Chikilis as I’ve said many times before, but with good reasons compared to this. 🙂
With the 2005 and 2007 films, you got a sense of the character relationships between the four heroes and how they interacted with each other. The movies themselves, whilst weak in some areas, did embrace the fun aspects of the original ‘Fantastic Four’ comics from the 1960s as I would expect.
Here however, the 2015 film doesn’t do that. It tries to take on a darker, grittier tone which ruins what was fun about the Fantastic Four to begin with. It leaves a sour taste in your mouth. There were also creative choices made to move the movie away from the original ‘Fantastic Four’ comics.
The film apparently had a troubled production. The director Josh Trank had a different vision of the movie to what it eventually became. So many changes were made by the film executives at 20th Century Fox. So much so that director Josh Trank disowned the movie on Twitter before it came out.
It’s astonishing that there could’ve been a different version of the ‘Fantastic Four’ 2015 film by Josh Trank that was ruined when 20th Century Fox wanted to put their involvement in it. I would like to see the other ‘Fantastic Four’ film Josh Trank had in mind. Sadly, no director’s cut DVD of it is available.
Going back to my point of the film moving away from the original ‘Fantastic Four’ comics, apparently the Fantastic Four characters don’t get their powers via cosmic rays or a cosmic storm in space as in the comics and the 2005 film. They get their powers by going to a different dimension. (Pause) Okay.
I also didn’t feel the film had enough superhero stuff in it. There was too much sciencey stuff going on. It slowed down the story to get to the actual superhero stuff. Most of the action stuff gets seen from a distance which was very disappointing. The movie’s climatic showdown isn’t ‘fantastic’ either.
Had this movie been like a sci-fi film such as ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ or ‘Interstellar’, I could see why the film spent a lot of time in setting things up with the Fantastic Four getting their powers. But this is meant to be a superhero film and it just made things very long-winded and felt so boring to watch.
The characters themselves, and I hate to say this, weren’t very interesting either. Oh, they’re likeable enough and the cast do their best with decent performances based on the material they’re working with. But I could not feel for the characters and their journeys with such bland scriptwriting.
Miles Teller as Reed Richards seemed to have an interesting start with being the main hero. Actually, it’s an intriguing move the film had with starting Reed and Ben off as kids early on. But that seemed to be lost during the halfway point. I’m afraid there wasn’t enough emotional energy in Reed here.
Also, for a brainy guy, Reed could be an idiot, especially when he invites Ben along for the ride to get to Planet Zero, the other dimension, and when he suggests he, Johnny, Ben and Victor ‘go first’ to that dimension. The romantic love stuff between him and Sue in this film didn’t go anywhere either.
Michael B. Jordan is an interesting choice to play Johnny Storm in the film. And I’m not against the character being a black man in this film instead of white as in the comics and the 2005/2007 films. It’s an intriguing new take on the character in a new spin of the superhero team trying to be diverse.
However, I didn’t really get much of an interactive brother-and-sister relationship between him and Sue, which should’ve had more focus. Johnny also doesn’t seem to be a reckless troublemaker as he’s so well-known for in other versions. I actually prefer that aspect to Johnny’s character than this.
Kate Mara as Sue Storm is also interesting in this film. Instead of being related to Johnny, she’s actually the adopted daughter of Franklin Storm who’s black whereas she’s white. Again, I’m not against the diverse casting choices for this movie. As long as good character is provided, then it’s fine.
This sadly isn’t evident as far as I’m concerned. I think Kate Mara is actually very nice as Sue Storm. I would’ve liked to have seen her character be stronger in the movie as well as see the romantic connection between her and Reed be stronger too. Her scientific skills cannot save this movie sadly.
Jamie Bell as Ben Grimm is wasted in this film. Again, another interesting choice to have a smaller guy play Ben, but he doesn’t do much and only joins the group when going to the parallel dimension. He soon becomes the Thing…and goodness me, he’s huge! How come he’s huge and naked in this?!!
Yeah! They didn’t even bother to put some clothes on the Thing over his…thing. 😀 You know at least the comics, cartoon show and the 2005/2007 films had the decency to put clothes on him. His relationship with Reed as the Thing also changes, but sadly doesn’t get that much exploration here.
Toby Kebbell as Victor Von Doom…I’m sorry to say this but, I prefer the Dr. Doom in the 2005/2007 films. Yeah. Big shock, I know. But I didn’t find Toby Kebbell’s version of Dr. Doom threatening enough. He also seems to do evil things towards the end of the film out of nowhere and very quickly.
That’s another thing about this film. The set-up of the Fantastic Four characters as superheroes seems rushed towards the end and there doesn’t seem to be a build-up. At least, not in the way you may think. They also don’t have their superhero names which you think is something to expect here.
The film also doesn’t have them be called the Fantastic Four throughout like it was in the 2005 film. They consider giving themselves a team name before the end of the film, but just as Reed is about to suggest ‘Fantastic Four’ to the others, the end credits roll up. What? Is that it? Are you kidding me?!
The film also features Reg E. Cathey as Dr. Franklin Storm and Tim Blake Nelson (who was in the 2008 film ‘The Incredible Hulk’ apparently) as Dr. Harvey Allen. There’s also Dan Castellaneta (of ‘The Simpsons’ fame) as Mr. Kenny, Reed’s teacher and Tim Heidecker as Mr. Richards, Reed’s stepfather.
Sadly, Stan Lee, the original creator of the Fantastic Four, didn’t make a cameo in this 2015 ‘Fantastic Four’ film. How come? He always makes a cameo in a Marvel superhero movie! How come he didn’t do one in this? I want an answer to that! He was the film’s executive producer, wasn’t he? Shocking!
The DVD special features are as follows. There’s the ‘Powering Up: Superpowers of the Fantastic Four’ documentary and concept art including for Planet Zero and the Quantum Gates. After seeing this film, I felt pretty uninspired and underwhelmed when watching the ‘Powering Up’ documentary.
The Blu-ray release of this film also includes the ‘Powering Up’ documentary and the concept art as well as featurettes on ‘The Quantum Gates’; ‘Planet Zero’ and on ‘the’ film’s musical ‘score’ by Marco Beltrami and Philip Glass. At least the film’s musical score provided some dignity to a pretty dull film.
Just to comment on this, and I’m not sure if anyone saw this after the end credits, there is a statement made about the fact that ‘the making’ and ‘distribution of the film supported over 15,000 jobs and involved hundreds of thousands of work hours’. Like that’s the film’s excuse for being so bad.
So yeah! I can see why people hate the 2015 ‘Fantastic Four’ film, or ‘Fant4stic’ as I’d like to call it, so much. It’s very bad! It completely misses the point of being a superhero movie and it doesn’t stay true to the original ‘Fantastic Four’ comics at all. But I can’t deny that I enjoyed it for being very bad.
I know people won’t see it like that in how I regard it for its entertainment value, but at least it has some substance to it. It’s clear it’s a movie that’s trying to get a story out there with little success. Unlike the ‘Elektra’ film, the action and pace is not well-balanced with the storytelling, which is a pity.
I’m currently looking forward to when the Fantastic Four make their appearances in the ‘MCU’ film series soon. I’ll always have fond memories of the 2005/2007 films since I’ve been spoiled by them. Thus why I don’t consider ‘Fant4stic’ to be a great film reboot of the superhero team and rightly so!
Mind you, two good things came out of this movie. Kate Mara and Jamie Bell got married, which is nice. And Michael B. Jordan went on to be a villain in ‘Black Panther’, which is cool! I’m also grateful to my best mate Stephen for giving me the ‘Fant4stic’ film on DVD to review via my blog. 😀
‘Fantastic Four’ (2015) rating – 3/10
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