It seems that movie studios producing Marvel Comics franchises other than the Marvel Cinematic Universe studio have a hard time getting the material right, X-Men movies aside. Marvel Cinematic Universe (or MCU) have, to their credit, been massively successful in producing stand-alone films that work in their own right in terms of how the characters fit in with the real world (albeit in a very heightened reality) but also how those characters fit together in the Avengers movies.
How is a norse god with a big bloody hammer, a big green angry man, a super soldier recently awoken from WW2 ,a bazillionaire in hi-tech armour as well as assorted other freaks supposed to actually work in one movie?! MCU actually manages to tie all these characters together into something resembling a coherent universe. This is testament to their love of the characters and the fact that they choose their directors and collaborators based on what they believe will benefit the material, seemingly without destructive studio interference.
The first instalment of Fantastic Four by Tim Story was a cheesy mess and the second one (also by Tim Story), though a massive improvement on the first, was still a cheesy mess. This new reboot(!) directed by Josh Trank was being heralded as the potential to get FF4 right. Trank only has one major movie under his belt prior to this one and that was Chronicle (2012), which thoroughly impressed critics and audiences alike with its fresh take on superhero mythology and it obviously contributed to Trank scoring the job for this latest attempt at franchise kickstarting.
FF4 has apparently had a rough time in production and there were rumours of numerous reshoots and all the other hoohah associated with troubled productions. When word gets out about these kinds of stories, it’s easy to form an opinion of the finished product before seeing it but unfortunately most preconceived notions of this latest FF4 being celluloid crappery are quite accurate this time. Basically this film felt like an extended film trailer.
So the story goes that Reed Richards (Miles Teller), a science prodigy is snapped up the Baxter institute to complete his work on teleportation of matter into other dimensions. In the process he teams up with Johnny (Michael B. Jordan), Sue Storm (Kate Mara), Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell) and Victor Von Doom (Toby Kebbell), take a guess who the baddie is . . . When the team successfully teleports an unforgivably bad CG monkey to a world in another dimension, they then use themselves as the next guinea pigs.
Inevitably things go wrong and they come back to our dimension with severely altered molecular structure resulting in Grimm turning into a rock man (literally made of rock), Johnny Storm becoming a ball of flames, Sue Storm becoming an invisible woman with a bonus power of being able to make force fields and Richards becoming a gross stretchy man.
Oh and Von Doom just becomes very powerful and decides our world must end. The pace of the story was like a snowball that picked up speed as it went (and not in a good way) culminating in a finale of CG clusterfuckery that struggled to know what the hell it was doing. All this was topped off with the four good guys having a very tacked on conversation as to what they should call their group.
It’s time to either knock it on the head with this franchise or gracefully pass it on to MCU to see what they can do with it.
Fantastic Four premieres in Finland on August 7.