Saturday, August 15, 2015

View Log: Fant4stic

There’s a lot to like about this movie.

Yeah, I bet you weren’t expecting me to say that. This movie does a few things absolutely right. There are little references to things like Prison 42, a Mario Fire Flower ornament in Johnny's car, an interesting family dynamic with the Storms....

But I can’t say that I enjoyed it.

As ever, this View Log is just the thoughts going through my head as I’ve been letting the movie sink in over the past few days.

Spoiler-free Summary
Though there are a couple genuinely enjoyable character moments, the actors rarely put in any emotion. I don’t know if that was the direction they were given or if they were just bored. It takes half the movie for them to get powers, the villain doesn’t appear until 15 minutes from the end, and they aren’t ever called the “Fantastic Four.” Plot threads are started and aborted, and while I’ll admit that that might be because three big scenes got lopped out in post-production, that’s not an excuse, it’s an explanation.

The effects are okay, but the backgrounds look a lot better than Reed’s stretching or Ben’s rocky body. The Human Torch effects are pretty good for the most part, though.

All in all, it’s a movie starring Michael B. Jordan about teenagers with superpowers, one of whom goes insane brought to us by Josh Trank, the man who made Chronicle….which starred Michael B. Jordan about teenagers with superpowers, one of whom goes insane. One-trick pony much?

If you still want to see it, despite the bad press (or perhaps even because of it), be my guest. But I can’t recommend it.

Hmm... Hey, Ant-Man. You had a successful movie this year. What did you think of Fant4stic?

Worse Rotten Tomatoes score than Pixels. Look it up.
As for my full opinion… spoilers ahead.

Josh Trank
Oh, the scandals and controversies surrounding this once-rising star.
  1. He cast Michael B. Jordan, who he had worked with on Chronicle, as Johnny Storm pretty much out of the blue, leading to accusations of favoritism.
  2. He did not get along with Kate Mara, who played Sue, which might explain her marginalization.
  3. He was allegedly abusive towards the cast and crew, and even trashed his rental house in response to a landlord’s complaints.
  4. He was not happy with the final cut, complaining about it in a tweet that’s since been deleted. 
Honestly, a lot of people are finding his behind-the-scenes antics more entertaining than the actual film.

The characters meet, get powers, diddly-bop around, and fight Dr. Doom. I think most of this film’s pacing issues can be explained by either the numerous reshoots or the missing scenes, but honestly, following the teleporter accident that gives them their powers, not much happens to our “heroes.”

When Victor Von Doom came back, I assumed that the movie was about to enter the second act. Nope! We were fifteen minutes from the end. This movie is sparse. In all seriousness, not much happens.

The film is based on the Ultimate Fantastic Four, where the famous four were actually teenagers in a government think tank. But they changed a lot of things for this movie. A lot of these changes don’t make a lick of sense. For example, instead of going to the Negative Zone, they teleport to “Planet Zero.” Did they honestly think that sounded less ridiculous?

The film is so dark, and moody and utterly joyless. With no exaggeration, the last movie I watched that was this melancholy was Schindler’s List.

No post-credits scene, no Stan Lee cameo. Hey, the man’s got standards.

Reed Richards (Miles Teller)

Bland. Out of all the characters, he gets the second-to-least amount of development, and most of that is because he spends much of this 90-minute movie in hiding from the government’s attempt to exploit his knowledge after the teleporter accident.

During his time on the run, he tries to build a copy of his teleporter in order to fix Ben Grimm’s transformation. This plot thread is quickly abandoned as government agents track him down, like so many other plot threads.

Susan Storm (Kate Mara)
And Sue has the least amount of development. The fact that she, an adopted overseas refugee, is closer to her dad than his own biological son makes for a compelling character exploration… that never happens.

While it’s refreshing to see that they didn’t cram a love story into the movie, that leaves her without much to do. She doesn’t even go on the trip through the teleporter! There’s only four seats, and I guess they had to have one for Victor Von Doom.

Once filming “completed,” Kate Mara lopped off all her hair, meaning they slapped a blonde wig on her and called it good when it came time to do reshoots. It’s blatantly obvious when her hair doesn’t match up from one scene to the next.

Johnny Storm (Michael B. Jordan)
When you get past the whole “controversy” about having the Human Torch being black… Michael B. Jordan just isn’t that good in the role. But to be fair, like most other characters, he doesn’t get much to do beyond his one character note. He doesn’t get along with his dad. That’s it. And you’d think this arc would come to a head when Dr. Storm gets killed by Victor, but he and Sue just look slightly miffed and forget about it five minutes later.

Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell)
Jamie Bell stands out in that he’s actually trying to give his character some personality instead of looking bored the whole time. But even so, he just goes into straight-up angst once he becomes a rock monster. Though I must admit, this movie captures the horror of becoming a rock man. In fact, it captures the horror of all their powers. Though Cronenberg-esque horror is not what one usually expects from the Fantastic Four….

Victor Domashev Von Doom (Toby Kebbell)
The reaction to the character’s name change to Domashev was so bad, one of the reasons they did reshoots was to retcon the change completely.

I kind of wish the name had stuck. This character isn’t much like the Victor Von Doom from the source material. This Victor is all about opposing the “dictators” in charge. In the comics, Doom tries to be that dictator.

He goes to the alternate dimension with the others and is left behind until the last fifteen minutes. It’s almost as if he knew the movie needed some kind of climax and just comes back, apropos of nothing.

The character’s new design isn’t actually too bad in my opinion. The way his containment suit melted into his body reminds me of his transformation in the Ultimate Universe. Though I will say that his cloak made out of the remains of an American flag is a bit much.

He gains the power to blow up people’s heads, which he will only use on the people without superpowers who can’t stop him anyway.

Dr. Franklin Storm (Reg E. Cathey)
Generic mentor figure. But one with a booming voice that I could listen to all day.

Dr. Harvey Elder Allen (Tim Blake Nelson)
Again, a reshoot retcon. But this time, they were making sure that people like me wouldn’t be upset that he gets offed with little pomp or circumstance. Which makes this the second Fantastic Four movie to feature a not-quite-Mole Man….

This whole movie looks drab and grey. Some of the effects are pretty good, but others are clearly unfinished and look really bad on the big screen.

Grey, brown, and greyish brown.
Final Thoughts for Now
I can’t recommend it. It’s not even so-bad-it’s-good. Does it deserve all the hate it gets? Maybe not. Perhaps this movie will get a bit of a re-evaluation on DVD.

But I’m just hoping that Fox gives up hope for a sequel and just lets Marvel have the F4 rights back. Maybe the Watcher can show up in time for the Infinity War movies? Make it happen, Marvel!

Until next time…. Seriously, don’t watch this movie.


  1. You know, I'm starting to think I'm the only one that actually enjoyed this movie. No, seriously, I really did like it. Now I realize it was far from perfect, but I'd still call it the best Fantastic Four movie to date. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed by all the negative reception.

    - That One Anon

    1. Honestly, I really liked the beginning of the movie. As soon as they got superpowers, that's when it started to lose me.

      Like I said, there's a lot to like and maybe a lot of the hate is just negative hype. I'm going to wait until all the strong emotions have died down before I officially recap and review it.


    1. To be honest with you, I didn't mention it because after leaving the theatre, there were a few other problems with the movie on my mind. But I'll give my thoughts on it.

      I get that the whole point of doing that was to show what a rough childhood Ben had growing up (which is canon in all versions of the character, though certainly not to this degree), and giving the catchphrase such a dark origin really could have been handled a bit better.

      I mean, brothers fight. It's what they do. But yeah, it's a bit uncomfortable to see such an abusive family. Mrs. Grimm hitting Ben's older brother actually bothered me more.

      Like I said, the scene could have been done a bit better, and it certainly didn't help that the rest of the movie was equally grim (no pun intended).

    2. It's like they tought we were still in the 90's or something... On another note I now want someone to draw comicbook Doom punching this one