Film Review: “Fantastic 4” by Blade Brown
Plot: Four young outsiders teleport to an alternate and dangerous universe which alters their physical form in shocking ways. The four must learn to harness their new abilities and work together to save Earth from a former friend turned enemy.
The reboot of the Fantastic 4 has been under heavy criticism from day one. Besides two poorly received movies having already been made, the casting of Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm aka The Human Torch caused an uproar with fan-boys, as the character is traditionally Caucasian. Which is strange, because Nick Fury was white for decades until Mark Millar’s “Ultimate s” arc decided to make him in the image of Samuel L. Jackson. A decision that would ultimately lead to his casting as Fury in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Directed by Josh Trank (Chronicle), the movie has an extremely talented young cast who could continue the franchise for years to come. Based on box office numbers and critical responses, it’s unlikely to happen. Which is a shame, because for the most part, this is actually a pretty good movie. Unlike most comic book movies, this movie grounds itself for the majority of the film. In fact, the characters don’t get their powers until maybe an hour into the movie. Given the movie is only 104 minutes long, that doesn’t leave much room for a ton of action. If compared to any other comic book movie, it’d be closest to The Wolverine. Like Fantastic 4, The Wolverine plays out more like a character study than a Marvel movie. Although that movie fell apart during its third act, that movie had some amazing action sequences going for it. This movie does not.
To be fair, the movie isn’t half as bad as the hype surrounding it will lead you to believe. The cast is all good and the story, up until a certain point is consistent. The big problem with this movie is the grand finale, which in retrospect felt more like a “Bland Finale”. The movie’s antagonist disappears for close to 30 minutes, only to resurface with powers that the comic book character himself never even had. Several characters meet their demise rather abruptly and the movie is over before you know it. Which is odd, because the bad guy goes down pretty easily for him to be as powerful as he is. Also, the friction between the team members over who’s to blame for their new abilities fades rather quickly as well. The character driven movie we were invested in for the first 70 minutes of the movie, turns into a brainless action movie for 25 of its last 30 minutes.
Josh Trank is on record saying that Fox Studios got their hands on his product and made a ton of changes he didn’t want to make. While watching the movie, you can clearly see the ending doesn’t fit with the rest of the movie. It’s obvious that the movie was leading to something else. Something that could’ve been special. But unfortunately, we’ll probably never know. Which is sad, because even with its rushed ending, it’s still better than the previously released movies. That doesn’t say a lot, but for a sabotaged film, it’s something.
The Fantastic 4 might not be a franchise for the big screen. The group is now 0-3 at bat, and I don’t see a reason in making another. This is a prime example of how a bad ending can ruin an otherwise good experience. The movie is decent. But it’s a far cry from fantastic.
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