Fantastic Four

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Fantastic Four

There are a lot of reasons why the latest Fantastic Four movie doesn’t always work, but perhaps the biggest is that the Fantastic Four themselves just are all that strong as characters. That’s not to say they can’t work on the big screen (they just haven’t yet). In some ways this does a pretty good job of trying, especially by focusing a lot of time on the four of them before they get their powers – but they’re basically a fairly bland team group and we already have plenty of them on the big screen. Plus, their big hook is that they’re “family” (tm the Fast & Furious franchise) and their big hook is that they have super-science adventures, which is a genre Hollywood has shown zero interest in getting right for the last few decades (anyone remember Lost in Space)?
So whatever the behind-the-scenes dramas with the studio ordering constant changes, this was always going to struggle; the big surprise is just how watchable large chunks of this still manage to be. Reed Richards (Miles Teller) figures out how to make a gateway to somewhere else while in high school, which attracts the attention of the Baxter Foundation, a scientific organisation very much interested in exploring wherever it is this gateway leads to. To just point at random at some of this film’s many problems: the alien planet manages to be both super-boring and a place that gives you super-powers, three of our heroes – Sue Storm (Kate Mara), Johnny Storm (Michael B Jordan) and Ben “The Thing” Grimm (Jamie Bell) – end up working as would-be government hit-men for a stretch which makes them super-unlikable, they largely treat their powers as a curse which makes zero sense unless you’re The Thing, and tying their origin in to Doctor Doom (Toby Kebbell) is just pointless.
But on a basic storytelling level things happen in an order that generally makes sense, the cast are better than the script, and the film as a whole doesn’t have that smug, smarmy tone that most Disney / Marvel superhero films can’t help but slip in there. It’s no classic but if this is the worst blockbuster of the year, then it’s not that bad a year.
Reviewed by Anthony Morris