Alright. Right off the bat, I can tell you that Fantastic Four has managed some pretty terrible reviews. With a dismal 9% on Rotten Tomatoes and nothing but negative comments surrounding it, there is no doubt that it failed to impress us when it was released in August 2015. I think it would have been better named as ‘The Mediocre Four’ or ‘The ‘Meh’ Four.’
While The Fantastic Four has never been my favourite superhero team, I had high hopes for this film with the rise and success of the genre. I was prepared to see them do the group some justice after the 2005 bomb that they have been trying to sweep under the rug. Whether or not they succeeded is up to the viewer, but I will say this; it was certainly much better in comparison.
Let’s start with the casting choices. Miles Teller played the part of Mister Fantastic/Reed Richards. Generally, I have not seen him in a role where he truly stands out, so this seemed to be a bit of a change of pace for him. Unfortunately, you can tell. While Reed is not meant to be a prince charming of any kind, he was a little too awkward and had no chemistry with Kate Mara (Sue Storm/The Invisible Woman). As a look alike, Teller was not a good fit for Mister Fantastic. His acting was alright, considering the fact that he was not cast well. The role did not do he, or his character, justice.
Kate Mara, as far as I’m concerned, was a wise casting choice. Aesthetically, she looks like she would make a good Sue, and while I think her acting was a little too void of emotional response, I think she pulled off the character well enough. She has a great deal of work to do if she wants Sue to pop as a more three-dimensional character in the sequel, and cannot rely on looks to get by as much, but she has potential to bring the character to life. I am hoping her performance in the film was simply a taste of what’s to come for The Invisible Woman.
Michael B. Jordan took on the role of The Human Torch/Johnny Storm and was a bit of an awkward fit for the character. I had not previously heard much about him, but Johnny Storm was originally caucasian, so casting Jordan was a bit of a strange choice. If they had cast Zoe Saldana as Sue, I would have scratched my head, despite the fact that I enjoy her work. Aside from that, Jordan did alright portraying Johnny, but I think he could have used far more passion as a very…hot-headed character demands. I was not overly fond of this choice.
Jamie Bell played the role of Thing/Ben Grimm, and I think this may have been one of the better casting choices regarding appearance. His facial features translated relatively well to his Thing counter-part, and his acting was rather decent throughout the role. I do think Thing could have been portrayed to be a bit bigger than he was made in the film, but aside from that, I was content with the casting choice for Grimm.
Finally, we have Toby Kebbell as the infamous Victor Von Doom/Dr. Doom. I was looking forward to this character the most for this film, considering the fact that the villain can be the strength or weakness of a film. Toby Kebbell was a sub-par choice for Victor, but when Dr. Doom is revealed, things picked up a little more, and the physical resemblance to the classic villain in the comics was well-captured. A villain isn’t a villain unless he can intimidate an audience through the screen. Dr. Doom manages well enough, but still could have used a little more in the ‘wow‘ category.
That being said, considering how they ‘kill off’ Dr. Doom, it is my sincere hope that the studio did not get rid of him so easily. I am hoping that he will return in the sequel to make more of a presence, but we will have to see what happens.
***END SPOILER ALERT***
Overall, the battle scenes were far too short-lived and did not do the group justice. We only get to see the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the abilities of the Fantastic Four and that may have been one of the biggest mistakes of this films. These movies are essentially action movies, so when they lack said action, the result can easily disappoint unless the rest of the film maintains the attention of the audience in a positive way. Unfortunately, the film failed to do so.
With Marvel releasing as many films as they have been during the past few years, comedy has also been a well-balanced factor, but it completely falls short in Fantastic Four, making way for only a couple little chuckles throughout. The comedic integration felt forced, if non-existent, and it did not pair well with the relatively serious tone of this film. Furthermore, the chemistry between the actors was very bland and failed to inspire much confidence in the portrayals of each character.
The special effects were mediocre. They were certainly better here than they were in the 2005 version, and they managed a decent mix between the comic-book classic character styles and the updated, sleek versions we see in the Marvel movies today. As mentioned earlier, Thing could have been larger in size, but aside from that, I don’t have any real complaints with the CGI. I simply was constantly aware that I was watching special effects.
The writing was fine enough. This was an interesting way of going about bringing the Fantastic Four together as a group, and introducing Dr. Doom, but it seemed rushed overall. Rather than looking at this as the first Fantastic Four movie, I think I will tackle it with the assumption that this was mainly created as an introduction of what’s to come. However, if the studio plans to boost the reputation of this line of superheroes, they are going to have to go far beyond during the sequel and prove themselves more than they ever have had need to. Considering the standard for superhero films is so high with the release of Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, and The Avengers, they are going to have to do much better than this. They’ll need to bring their A-game, not their Meh-Game.
Marco Beltrami and Philip Glass
Philip Glass I had heard little to nothing about before this. I recall his name being relatively familiar, but when I researched his earlier work, I understood why I did not recognize him. Aside from the Truman Show and The Illusionist, I had not seen many films with his work.
Marco Beltrami, on the other hand was another matter. I love my horror movies and his name stuck out for a number of horror and science-fiction films (World War Z, The Thing, I Robot, Hellboy, Resident Evil, to name a few). However, despite this, his work in music has failed to stand out to me in a way that many other composers have managed to do so. Beltrami is skilled with putting together mysterious and brooding pieces, but I don’t believe a superhero film was a good fit for him.
Perhaps if the studio had paired him with a composer with experience in the sort of driving, adventurous themes that a movie like this demands, it would have made a little more sense. Therein lies the problem in my opinion; the score needed to hit harder.
I think everyone is being a little too hard on the film. It wasn’t good by any stretch of the imagination, but especially in contrast to the catastrophe that was Fantastic Four (2005), I think they at least did it justice. The casting could have been better, but it certainly could have been worse. The effects were mediocre, the soundtrack was mediocre, the acting was mediocre, and the overall story was mediocre. It does not deserve much praise considering the standard set for superhero films today, but considering this was more of an introduction to the Fantastic Four, I would like to see what they do with the sequel to redeem their already poor reputation and show what the Fantastic Four can really do.
This concludes my review on Fantastic Four. Please keep in mind that this is my opinion and it may very easily differ from many others out there. Be sure to support the official release and leave your comments with your own opinions; I’d love to hear what you think.