The Fantastic Four is a really bad movie. I wanted to like it. I’ve been a fan of Kate Mara for a long time, and I really liked the casting of Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm (crappily, he will get the blame for this doing poorly). Reg E. Cathey as Franklin Storm was a cool choice too (that guy was on The Wire and Square One TV, a rare combination), but the finished product is pretty awful. Despite being mostly lifted from Ultimate X-Men, it plays out like a horror movie. Not just the music and tone of the first 80 minutes or so, but there is that. It’s akin to The Fly or Flatliners or probably that movie with Donald Glover and the guy from The League and Olivia Wilde: they do some kind of science experiment, test it on themselves, it goes awry, and they are horrified to learn that they’ve become monsters. That’s the plot for most of the movie.
It’s also played very seriously. One guy turns into a walking talking pile of rocks, and another into Stretch Armstrong, which is a terrible thing to try to treat seriously. The comics are family space adventures. This should be like The Incredibles, not… whatever this was.
Random thoughts (complaints, really) with various spoilers:
- Dan Castellaneta’s character must be the worst teacher ever. He had an actual supergenius in his class for quite a while and had no idea at all. How do you not pick up on that? The kid must have been really good at math and science at least.
- Sue Storm is apparently crushing on Reed (they don’t really have a relationship or anything, but they have a few implied flirtatious moments), but I seriously can’t imagine why. He’s not bad looking or anything, but she is way out of his league in terms of physical appearance, and he is pretty devoid of personality.
- Reed is taken out of the climactic fight by having his suit’s retaining rings broken and he flops to the ground like a pile of putty. Through herculean effort he is finally able to stand up, and then from then on he’s perfectly fine, as if the rings still worked. It’s like Batman’s knee in the Dark Knight Rises, where it was like “you can’t be Batman, your knee is wrecked! Here’s this brace” and then his knee never comes up again, he’s fine.
- Also going in to the final fight, the whole team hated Reed. And then he gave a terrible rousing speech that was basically “we should probably cooperate so this guy doesn’t kill us” and then they all forget they were mad at him and act like they’ve forged a bond, even though they should still be fighting.
- One of the reasons they’re fighting is that Reed escaped from where they were being held and didn’t come back. The other folks felt abandoned. He never once tried to explain that he was trying to figure out a way to cure them on their own. He just let them be pissed and said “sorry.”
- That’s not the only character arc that kind of skips over parts. Ben is miserable at being a rock dude, he punches Doctor Doom, and then… he’s sorta ok? Johnny has a troubled relationship with his father, he turns into an on-fire guy, and then… he’s sorta ok? Victor is kind of a dick, then he has an accident, gives a monologue about power, and then he tries to destroy the whole world? Everything is either poorly explained or glossed over or just skips over things that might explain what’s going on.
- They have their triumphant moment towards the end overlooking a giant crater where a military base used to be. And they play basically the happiest music they play in the whole movie. Nobody seems bothered by the hundreds, maybe thousands of people who died there.
- This one is less a complaint, but why was a tray of croissants so prominently featured in the meeting at the end? They never mattered at all. No one even ate one! It was like Chekhov’s gun, but with baked goods.