Fantastic Four - go DIAF
Kiki on 08/31/2015
This film is really fucking odd. Why the hell can’t Fox get this right?!
First off, let me say: do not watch this film. It’s alright, I have already taken that hit for you. I would not want to inflict this film on even the most unsuspecting consumer. It is a bad film. You almost want to smack it on the nose and actually exclaim ‘bad film! Bad!’
One point to mention: it is definitely an origin story. Again. JFC, stop with the origin stories! We saw this maybe ten years ago with the last batch and anyone who is still interested after that mess knows it already. The Fantastic Four have lived long in the public memory (first family of Marvel blah blah blah yeah we know) so can we just assume that people are familiar with the idea of powered people wandering around ready to leap into hero action at a moment’s notice?
The second thing is, unforgivably, it is a BAD origin story. You meet the characters during the first half, watch them work together(ish), feel vaguely like you are getting to know then before you know it, zip! They’re powered up and ready to start learning and bonding with their new powers. EXCEPT NO. What you instead get is a black title card that reads ‘1 year later’. AND THEN THEY’RE ALL FAMILIAR WITH THEIR NEW ABILITIES AND WE DON’T SEE ANYTHING WHICH MEANS THAT WHEN WE SEE THEM USING THEIR POWERS LATER ON WE DON’T JUST GO AAAHHH COOOL WE GO NO NO FOX YOU SHITS I DON’T KNOW THAT THEY’VE EARNED THIS. I mean, god, It’s not that hard, right? I want to root for these people. Why would I root for something if I don’t care about their journey?
This feeds into the other problem – once they assume you are fine with their individual familiarity with their abilities, they also assume that the team should work together without a hitch. Which…..NOOO. People don’t just magically work freakishly well together. And if they somehow do (you know, for the sake of argument), well that is boring as hell to see, because who wants to watch a film about people who are magically good at everything?
Lastly, the biggest impression I got walking out of this film is that it feels like a big fight between the director (Josh Trank, Chronicle director, a film I love) and the producers (Fox, you fuckwits). The overall impression you get is one of hugely clashing ideas. On the one hand, a smaller, more intimate origin, reimagining the characters from their classic archetypes, making them younger, more vulnerable versions of themselves. Ok. One the other hand, we then have a final twenty minutes where this small team suddenly has a Huge, World-Saving Task ahead of them (with environmental warnings glaringly shoehorned in as expositional dialogue), which is of course solved in an absurdly short amount of time.
It’s the clash that is the problem – going one way or the other, the film would have made some sort of cohesive narrative sense. In trying to straddle the middle line, it feels jumbled, unearned and severely lacking in rootable characters.
It’s just so annoying – there is a gem of a good idea here, which is why I paid goddamn money to see this goddamn film (cannot emphasise enough how much of a waste this was SERIOUSLY). I like almost all of the cast. There are some nice moments - most if not all from Jamie Bell, who manages to imbue his character with real motivation as much as he is able to. This is most impressive when you consider that his Ben is not exactly loquacious, and certainly has the fewest speaking lines of the main four. His moment when Reed asks if his form hurts? Brilliant. More of THAT please, you arseholes. Equally Reed, little weirdo that he is, not knowing when to do when offered a fist-pump. Amusing and revealing. Johnny not punching Reed at that one point? Again, revealing critical information about Johnny and how he operates. That’s how you characterise, bitches.
However the whole thing just feels like it never gets going – it’s jumpy and absolutely the opposite of cohesive. With its runtime at little over 90 minutes, I really feel as though there is another half an hour of cut footage on the editing room floor, which the film really suffers without. I say: save yourself two hours and £8. The trailer is basically a Cliff Notes of the whole film anyway. You aren’t missing shit. That I can guarantee.