Director Josh Trank’s take on the Fantastic Four hasn’t exactly had a smooth ride. And that’s putting it mildly. Maybe this franchise is cursed? After all, the 2015 version of the Fantastic Four is already the third attempt to bring the story to life on the big screen and it’s also the third time it marks a fail.
In this version Reed Richards (Miles Teller), Sue Storm (Kate Mara), Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell) and Johnny Storm (Michael B. Jordan) start out as outcasts who end up teleporting to an alternate and dangerous universe, from which they come back with strange powers that they have to learn to harness while coming together as a team in order to save Earth from Victor Von Doom (Tony Kebbell), a former friend (well, kinda) turned enemy.
But before we get to the whole saving the Earth part, we’re already well over an hour into the movie. First we see 11-year-old Reed meet his buddy Ben when Reed sneaks into Grimm’s family junkyard in order to score some parts he needs to build a teleportation device. We then forward to the present, where Reed and Ben wreak havoc at a science fair. However, their little experiment does get them noticed by Dr. Franklin Storm (Reg. E. Cathey), who enlists Reed to work alongside him at his Baxter Institute in order to solve the problem of Planet Zero, a creepy place where all the objects end up that they send through the teleportation device. Just when they get to the human experiments, the army swoops in and takes over. Much to the dismay of Reed & co. So they get drunk, use the device and come back as a granite kitchen countertop, a rubber band and so on.
Now, I’m all for a superhero story where the director takes his time to introduce the protagonists so we can sympathize with them later on in the movie. Here though, it’s taken to new extremes. Pretty much the entire movie is built around how these four end up with their powers and then oh yeah, a bad dude pops up and they need to fight him. And while Trank has a pretty stellar cast at his disposal, he apparently didn’t encourage them to live up to their potential and ended up with bland characters instead. Equally unimpressive are the special effects.
So yeah, there’s not a whole lot about Fantastic Four that works to be honest. Yet at the same time, it’s not quite as worse as other reviews make you want to believe. I think it’s all about tempering your expectations. If Fantastic Four is your favorite comic ever and you’ve been really looking forward to this movie, then yes, you will be sorely disappointed. But if you are enjoying a lazy Saturday morning and want to watch a movie, then you could be way worse off. Mall Cop 2 comes to mind.