By Jodi Bogert
Regarding film, summer 2015 was decent for dinosaurs, inner emotions and a middle-aged, female swinger. The same cannot be said for superheroes. The reboot of Marvel’s “Fantastic Four” bombed at the box office and took the title for worst movie of the summer.
Four is the result of a film put together too quickly because the deadlines approach fast and people panic. During production, director Josh Trank and 20th Century Fox had a dispute over narrative control, leading to a result that is far from what was originally conceived.
Richard Reed—Whiplash’s Miles Teller—and Ben Grimm, played by Jamie Bell, are ambitious amateur scientists who are building a teleporter that is 10 years in the making, a project that also sparked their friendship. Reed meets Dr. Franklin Storm (Reg E. Cathey) and his adopted daughter, Sue (Kate Mara). They are government officials who search for recruits to achieve exactly what Reed created. While at the lab, Reed meets Storm’s rebellious biological son, Johnny (Michael B. Jordan) and Victor (Toby Kebbell)—Storm’s dark and brooding protégé.
After a toxic waste accident on the planet Zero, an unnamed territory where the teleporter transports the team, they each gain their powers. Yet, with a villain in their midst, Reed and his friends team up and learn how to become the Fantastic Four…again.
The first impression of this Marvel reboot is that the plot was rushed; it skipped a whole year of character development and story. Also, the characters are put together poorly to the point where they might as well be Power Rangers.
Reed is the nerd while Ben is the boy from the wrong side of the tracks, coming from a broken family. Sue Storm is the blunt female lead and Johnny is the forgotten kid. Sue and Johnny get the least amount of time to prove themselves.
Victor is the stoic gargoyle that could make any hormonal girl swoon and Professor Storm is their very own Samuel L. Jackson. Did I mention the dreaded love triangle?
To be kind, “Fantastic Four” has a few noble aspects. While most of the special effects were simple, the design on Reed’s stretchy limbs made me squirm because they looked almost too real, as if he was Slender Man without the suit.
The villain murders his victims by causing their bodies to explode, which was absurd, yet brutal. One of the smartest and most interesting plot points was when the film throws a curveball revealing the villain’s identity.
Even if Four had a better destiny, it couldn’t be helped. The film is stuck in a trend that repeats the same story. Audiences do see the better productions of this breed, but it doesn’t satisfy.
Hollywood resorts to a causal relationship with the sequels, not knowing the desperation for intimacy with new stories. On the other hand, with the coming decade of new superhero movies from DC and Marvel, maybe things will turn out okay.
In the end, this reboot just couldn’t provide a new beginning for an old and tired story.