Posted August 6, 2015 by editor in Film Reviews

Fantastic 4 Review


It’s easy to jump on the band wagon, that’s why they’re there – we as a species find solace in community. This can be anything from a literal band, to a group of bullies continuously pestering and demoralising a director.

Such is the case with Josh Trank. Almost from the moment he was signed on to direct the Fantastic 4 reboot, there was a non stop bludgeoning of pitfalls on set and backlash from the online community. It almost was destined to fail, whether it was a good film or not. Further to this point was his stepping down from the Star Wars Anthology spin off.

But the case in point is this reimagining of the Fantastic 4, on a broody and dark tone. We are again introduced to Marvel’s first family, as the film opens to a young Reed Richards and Ben Grimm, the flashback taking place in the same year one of the previous F4 instalments.

We are then brought years later, and meet the now older Richards and Grimm (Miles Teller and Jamie Bell), who are in turn introduced to Jonny and Sue Storm (Michael B. Jordan and Kate Mara) as well as the ever clad in black Victor Von Doom (Toby Kebbell), each dreadfully smart in their respective field.

And so begins the exploration to Planet Zero, where the crew invites a terrible accident to take place. Some are affected for the better, some not, and the film very quickly moves to it’s inevitable conclusion.

We know the plot before the opening credits, indeed we know the ending. These superhero origin stories have come so often that it’s tough to get excited unless you’re going to do something new and fresh. Unfortunately, Trank does neither. Instead, we are given 98 predictable minutes, with some great young actors realising what the phrase ‘phoning it in’ truly means.

And it is unfortunate. But only are these 5 youngster gifted, the director too holds such promise. In the promo for this film, we heard in interviews that the cast didn’t see this as a superhero film, but rather one of exploration and the human race.

Trank himself seemed so excited about the prospect of this film when he initially signed on, and Fox truly deserve recognition for gambling on a new, young director. However, with such late re shoots and rewrites, the studio clearly didn’t believe in their gamble.

Teller, off the back of Whiplash, is possibly the biggest disappointment of the lot, his performance a blip compared to the intensity we’ve seen. Kebbell is also a faded star, albeit missing for a third of the film.

Jordan seemed more like Jonny Storm in Chronicle, the last film he and Trank worked on, than he does when playing the character here.

But the main issue is the story. Much of it seems to be missing, parts removed but never rectified, and it sprints to its close before we’re given time to truly see what’s going on with these characters in the midst of their life changing alterations. It’s easy to lose count of how many montages are used throughout the feature, while it literally skips forward a year which would have been the most interesting year within which the story could have delved.

Still, it’s easy to jump on the band wagon. The world will see this film for what it is without any critics help. A rushed, under developed and forgettable piece of work. Though there is something to take away from it, and that is Trank.

Everyone has their dud feature, and this may well be his. Chronicle was a breath of fresh air, while he has pulled out of Star Wars to do something original. Hopefully we can really see what he is made of, because while he clearly does try to do something new here, sadly his current offering is a bit short of fantastic.

2 Stars




Chris Droney