Based on the classic Fantastic Four Marvel comic created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, this much loved superhero team (which has made it to celluloid three times if you include the never released 1994 version) return with a new look and much younger Mister Fantastic, Invisible Women, Human Torch and Thing.
This incarnation follows Reed Richards (Mr Fantastic) a boy genius that discovers a way to teleport to other worlds. After the maiden voyage to this new world goes horribly wrong, Richard’s best friend, Benn Grimm, and his new found lab partners are left with monstrous but amazing powers.
The production has its fair share of turmoil with reshoots and Fox stepping in and pulling key action scenes at pre-production, plus rumours of strange behaviour from director Josh Trank including rock n roll style room trashing. So, is this contemporary reboot any good?
The film starts well with a young Reed Richards in high school where he meets Benn Grimm and the two become firm friends. The Film then jumps forward seven years and you see Richards (Miles Teller, 28) and Grimm (Jamie Bell, 29) at a high school science fair looking like the oldest high school students in history. I don’t understand why they couldn’t have them a University. Why would Dr Storm be scouring potential genius scientists at a diorama and paper-mache volcano competition? After inevitably being discovered by Dr Franklin Storm, Richards is swept away to New York to continue his work on dimensional teleportation.
The second act moves ridiculously slowly yet somehow does not develop any characters. The film feels disjointed and re-shoots are obvious. The script is humourless and wastes the very talented cast. Once the first trip to the mysterious planet zero goes wrong our human lab rats find themselves imprisoned by the government due to their unique powers and abilities. This is when you feel Josh Trank’s film begins and we get the Cronenberg style of vision that the director promised us.
This reboot, which seems to follow the Ultimate’s version of the comic, does improve the look of characters. The visual representation of the four abilities has improved from the previous films. The Thing, aka Benn Grim, looks more menacing and the tone of the film shifts to a more horror feel once our hero have been affected by the accident. There’re a few nice sequences: where The Thing retrieves an absconded Richards whose flexed his stretch, and the very dark and violent escape from villain Doom, the vicious antagonist. However, the final battle feels like it’s over too quick.
You can tell the director and the studio had two completely different ideas for this film. The movie is like a sandwich with two bits of fluffy white bread thanks to the studios baking and the smallest amount of Josh Trank meat in the middle.(Oh Errrr). I believe that Fox had hopes of crossing this over with their very successfully X-Men franchise, but you don’t have to be the psychic Professor Xavier to sense Wolverine and his mutants pals running as far away from this as possible.
This 2015 ‘Four’ is not fun or fantastic, although it’s the best of the cinematic outings. Maybe it’s time that Fox let the rights revert back to Marvel and let our cursed adventurers enter the MCU. It’s a shame Josh Trank’s full vision didn’t make it onto the big screen. This film should be avoided, these cosmic rays will not give you superpowers only the ability to lose 100 mins of your life.
Reviewed by Ian Wright