REVIEW: It’s a Not-so-Fantastic Four all over again

Really, there’s no hope for this superhero franchise that’s suffered because of a lack of direction.

Above: Miles Teller is Mr. Fantastic/Reed Richards this go-around. Teller has also appeared in the Divergent series. (YouTube)
Above: Miles Teller is Mr. Fantastic/Reed Richards this go-around. Teller has also appeared in the Divergent series. (YouTube)

Director: Josh Trank
Starring: Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Bell, Reg E. Bailey, Toby Kebbell
Running Time: 100 minutes
Budget: $122 million

Based on the Marvel Comics’ superhero team, Fantastic Four (actually marketed and written as ‘Fant4stic’ – I’m not joking) tells the story of nerdy kid Reed Richards (Teller) and best friend Ben Grimm (Bell) who manage to create a contraption allowing them to teleport objects. The design warrants the attention of prominent scientist, Frank Storm (Bailey), who offers Reid a scholarship to develop the prototype at The Baxter Foundation,  a government-backed research centre. Also enlisted to help: Frank’s adopted daughter Sue Storm (Mara), Frank’s son Johnny Storm (Jordan) and washed-up – albeit bright – Baxter student Victor von Doom (Kebbell).

Even if you ignored the history, the back stories, the comic arcs, and the last two movies in the franchise, this movie is terrible. I think it fell short by taking itself too seriously. Even with a solid cast (Bell from Billy Elliot, Mara from Netflix’s House of Cards, Teller from the Divergent series, Jordan from Fruitvale Station) I tried to go in there rooting for the team – but to no avail. The fight scenes were rushed, the dialogue was bland, and Teller as a lead (who happens to remind me of Mark Zuckerberg) did not help. Not to mention…taking one of my favourite catch phrases (“It’s clobberin’ time!”) and putting it to a violent background? That didn’t work for me, either. At the beginning of the movie, we find out that ‘”It’s clobberin’ time” is a phrase used by Ben’s older brother before he would beat the would-be-Thing down.

If we’re comparing this movie to its predecessor, technically, it looks better. The special effects are laughable (the flames on Johnny and Reid’s elasticity come to mind). While I could say “don’t waste your money,” I know – just like Pixels – there will be many who go to see it. Superhero movies are a cash cow, and this movie won’t be different. What I do expect to see – those who go to see it saying that it’s just ‘okay’ – or worse.

If you’re still mulling it over, you can check out the trailer below. Fant4stic is out in theatres today – and yes, I did just write it like that:

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