Fantastic Four (Review) and Five Ways to Fix the Franchise

Fantastic Four Cast list: Milles Teller as Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic Kate Mara as Susan Storm/Invisible Woman Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm/the Human Torch Jamie Bell as Ben Grimm/The Thing

Fantastic Four Cast list:
Milles Teller as Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic
Kate Mara as Susan Storm/Invisible Woman
Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm/the Human Torch
Jamie Bell as Ben Grimm/The Thing

A Marvel Movie so Bad that Stan Lee Didn’t Cameo!

Fantastic Four are superheroes created the possibilities of the 1960’s space race by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. It was also the first Marvel Comics superhero team and their nickname is “Marvel’s first family.”   There have been three live action Fantastic Four features: 1994 never released version, 2005 Fantastic Four, and 2007 Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.  The new Fantastic Four is directed by Josh Trank and it’s a terrible movie.

Reed Richards and Ben Grimm meet as kids and become best friends.  Ben and Reed are at a science fair where Reed successfully teleports a toy plane to alternate dimension.  Dr. Franklin Storm and his daughter Sue Storm see the experiment and offer Reed a scholarship to the Baxter Foundation.  Dr. Storm answers to Harvey Elder, the chief officer of the foundation, where he is growing tired Storm’s failures. Reed and Sue semi-bond before Victor Von Doom is brought in to ultimately help Reed with the design and Dr. Storm’s son, Johnny, helps the trio build it. They successful test the gate and a chimpanzee travels to another dimension, but Elder wants to bring NASA for help. Johnny, Victor, and Reed are pissed that they are not going to be the first people to travel to another dimension. Reed calls Ben and he, Reed, Victor, and Johnny go the alternate Dimension. Victor gets killed in accident (apparently), and Susan trying save the three guys get caught in the accident that allows the four of them to develop powers.

The movie is watchable because it has elements a good Science Fiction movie. However, the movie is completely awful structurally, tone, and plot wise. The first act is enjoyable but the second act it quickly jumps off a cliff and the third act falls into a black hole. The first develops the Ben and Reed relationship solidly but disappears after he goes the Baxter foundation.  The movie goes from being a film about a friend helping his best friend complete his science project to lets explain through dialogue.  There are no action sequences in the movie. Honestly, I couldn’t care about the team or their story. However, I did get pull back into the movie when Ben and Reed had a brotherly dynamics with each other. For example, “You were my best friend” Reed tells Ben. Ben replies, “I am too different now.” The story should have focused on the team.

Fantastic Four is not fantastic. There is no chemistry between the actors. Ben and Reed have a decent relationship. Ben and Johnny have no personality. Milles Teller is really flat in the movie. Sue was somewhat entertaing but she is a flat character too. Dr. Doom is turned into a joke and gains no connection with the audience. He literally shows up and blows people’s heads off with his telekinetic powers during the third act.  His final plan to destroy the world while trying to protect the alternate dimension from human exploitation.  The ending fight doesn’t add any pay off. Iron Man 2 had a better ending fight than the Fantastic Four. The problem with the movie that isn’t fun. It’s not even cheesy fun.

Fantastic Four gets a 1.5 out of 5 for being watchable. There is a sequel scheduled for June 9th, 2017. I do have a list on five ways to fix the franchise.

Five Ways to Fix the Franchise!

  1.  20th Century and Fantastic Four’s creative team need to come a general agreement on the story, tone, budget, and script.
    1. (there were reports surfaced about Fox stepping in and forcible rewriting the script, cutting the budget, and forcing reshoots. There are set reports of Josh Trank being drunk while shooting and in the editing room…now this is only rumor.) I noticed choppy uneven pacing throughout the film. I’m not going to trash anybody or the studio. However for the sequel, the studio and Fantastic Four’s creative needs come to a general agreement about agree where to take the story, the budget, on a spec script, and the tone of the movie. Fantastic Four is a colorful property that does have a fantasy elements in it. The characters such as Ben and Johnny have colorful personalities.  The Lord of the Ring movies were set in a fantasy world and have pretty humorous scenes or dialogue with different characters such as Gimili and Legolas, or Merry and Pippin. These characters added a lot humor to action scenes and exposition that is one of the reasons why Lord of the Rings is beloved.
  2. Bring in Fresh Blood
    1. Marvel Studios has knack for finding a director or writer that brings something new to every film. James Gunn directed a hilarious science action comedy with Guardians of the Galaxy. The first Thor was very Shakespearean and Captain America: Winter Soldier was political spy drama. Fox needs to start getting pitches from directors or writers who can bring life and rejuvenate the characters and story. Fox needs to stick with that direction and give their support to that filmmaker. A independent filmmaker would probably be the best option due to indie films focus on characters.  The characters and the situations they are put into drive the story. The director and the writer need backing of the studio. Let the audience and critics if they will like the movie.
  3. Keep the cast
    1. The actors playing the Fantastic Four are great young actors. It might have been more story and script issues that might prevented chemistry between the actors.  Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm are two of the most dynamic characters in the marvel comics.  A great story will situations or scenes that makes the team will come together and form a bond. The fight with Doctor Doom didn’t nail this but the end scene of dialogue really nailed team dynamic. That’s the movie fans want to see. They want to see that interaction. Fans and Audiences want to see superheroes use their powers to save people because it gives the audience a sense of hopefulness while walking out of the theater.
  4. Bring a villain
    1. Fans and critics don’t need Dr. Doom has a villain again.  Fox needs a writer and director who will search through the comic books and find Fan Four villain that unknown to the public (U-Foes or Thundra vs. the Thing, the Frightful Four anybody). New heroes or villains grab a worldwide audience’s attention. Something new and fresh might equal success. Fox also has collection of characters that could be villains that been made in successful movies.
  5. Bring in the X-Men
    1. Deadpool vs. The Fan Four anybody! Deadpool is a victim of government experiments. He could be going around eliminating anybody involved in his experimentation after his movie or be hired by the government to capture the new Fan Four. Galactus is also a powerful villain in the Fan Four’s history that really does take more than just the team to defeat.  Magneto vs. Galactus anybody? Who doesn’t want to see Johnny Storm sparing with Wolverine or Reed Richards and Professor X have a chess match discussing human evolution.   Magneto and Doctor Doom team up?

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