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Fantastic Four (2015)

Posted on the 20 May 2016 by Christopher Saunders
Fantastic Four (2015)In an era where even Ant-Man makes money, Fantastic Four (2015) flopped. Josh Trank managed a wretched production marred by on-set fighting, last minute reshoots and directorial disowning. Fantastic Four was DOA, seen by few and liked by no one. Certainly not this blogger, who found it boring and bafflingly incompetent.
Precocious scientists Reed Richards (Miles Teller) and Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell) develop a teleporter in Reed's garage. Scientist Franklin Storm (Reg E. Cathy) recruits them to a top secret project, along with his daughter Susan (Kate Mara), son Johnny (Michael B. Jordan) and misfit Victor Von Doom (Toby Kebbel). The four men travel to another dimension; leaving Victor behind, the other three (and Susan) develop superpowers upon returning. As they struggle to adjust, Victor returns as the villainous Dr. Doom.
Clocking in at 100 minutes, Fantastic Four waits a tedious hour before giving its heroes powers. There's no action beyond a car chase, while the protagonists each receive a single trait: Reed's a nerd, Ben a tough guy, Johnny a punk, Susan likes music. Watching these losers fart around, drink and exchange technobabble doesn't generate sympathy or depth, merely boredom. Even the juvenile 2005 Fantastic Four was more fun.
When the Four become Fantastic, Trank provides body horror evoking pity rather than awe. Then we leap straight into a climax, where Doom returns and explodes a few heads before our heroes waste him. No scenes of the Four mastering their powers or shading their characters; Reed runs away, Ben whines and Johnny burns. Susan does next to nothing; it's not clear why she's even here. This is less movie than trailer, the ending teasing a sequel that will never come.
The cast certainly doesn't help. Miles Teller can't cut it as nerdy scientist or reluctant superhero. It's equally hard to embrace Toby Kebbel's no-account emo or Jamie Bell's lapidarian whining. Kate Mara's in bored paycheck mode; who can blame her? Even Michael B. Jordan flounders in a nothing role; fortunately, Creed cushioned its impact.
Fantastic Four is the first movie since The Great Gatsby where I can't find a single redeeming feature. Not a good performance, fun action scene or subtext anywhere: just a sad, epically misguided catastrophe.

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