Fantastic Four review: Half a good movie
Well, I saw it. The first half was great: a solid adaptation of a mash-up Ultimate Fantastic Four and 616, if a little Ben-light. And then something happened. I don’t know what. When they step out into the Negative Zone, or Planet Zero as they call it here, everyone stops being able to act. It’s wooden and the dialog doesn’t help. Reed starts saying all these ill-fitting cliched lines. Then there are a few good, dark scenes about the trauma of going through these incredible physical changes, except Reed’s trying to get to Ben and Ben is calling out to him but Reed isn’t responding even though he’s getting closer and closer and Ben is flat-out panicking. What the hell? Then Reed runs away…and that’s it.
What the absolute fuck?
Then there’s a really odd time jump and we’re a year into the future, where Ben’s being used as a government killing machine and Johnny’s up next, and so Sue tracks down Reed and OH WAIT, I forgot the part where Sue doesn’t even GO despite being one of the original team. It’s only bros, drunk bros at that (which is clever but the lack of Sue is awful). Sue…calls Daddy and rats them out. Sigh. Then she gets hit by whatever and they’re trying REALLY hard to show why everyone got such different powers, except I’m not sure what happened to Reed then?
So Sue tracks down Reed and is like, “Your bestie’s being used by the government whatevs but THEY WANT TO USE MY BROTHER SO WE HAVE TO STOP THIS.”
The weird thing is, other than the murder count Ben’s been racking up, Johnny’s just trying to do something constructive instead of rebelling, and his dad’s telling him how wrong he is, which is some of the worst parenting I’ve seen in a movie since…the cluelessness of the parents in Inside Out. But, frankly, (HAHAHA oops) they were just clueless. Franklin Storm (…sounded weird every time) was flat-out wrong.
So with all this government stuff set up, then they find Doom, which is a whole other issue, on Planet Zero I guess driven mad by 365 days of isolation and possibly um combining with the planet’s energy source/life force thing, which um I think gave him tk, then he blows up heads when they try to bring him back to Earth and starts babbling about his world and destroying ours, which by the way was all Franklin Storm (…still weird) and his mindset so…great job again, Dr. Storm.
I don’t know who gets the worse end of the stick: Ben and his five pre-trip lines of dialog or Doom and his absolutely wonky, shoved-in storyline. Which is too bad. He’s an interesting character in the beginning: he’s dropped out of Dr. Storm’s think tank and he’s arrogant and in love with Sue or at least in love with the idea of being in love with Dr. Storm’s daughter.
Another weird thing was the ages. Miles Teller looks like a teenager. Michael B. Jordan looks like he could be a teenager. Kate Mara looks 25. Victor’s supposed to have been working on the project for ten years, which makes him seem to be about 25, but since Sue’s supposed to be around the same age as Johnny, either Victor’s EXTRA creepy, the ages are off somehow, or Sue’s creepy because she looks way older than Reed.
There’s no luuuurve story with Reed and Sue, just some friendshippy cuteness, which I liked. Victor sees it as flirting, which nah. Pre-flirting, maybe. For two awkward people. I liked how awkward Sue was. Mara’s portrayal of her is great. I just wish they’d aged the character up a bit. Or made Reed older–maybe putting some stuff in about a time skip between the time of the science fair and when he’s recruited?
Yeah. So it was a strong first half and then a muddled mess. The director says that was studio interference, but unless they’re so desperate to break even, they’re not going to let us see what should have been.
Which, they might be desperate to break even, since right now all they’ve done is continue a trend of lackluster FF movies and kept their rights to the characters for another chunk of time.
PS I wish they’d just let the adoption thing not be an issue. Never mention it. It’s an awkward thing for Reed to bring up and I wish Sue had called him on it.