Fantastic Four

Directed By: Josh Trank

Starring: Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell, Toby Kebbell, Reg E. Cathey, and Tim Blake Nelson

On paper, the Fantastic Four reboot has everything going for it.  It has the up-and-coming director of the superhero mockumentary Chronicle.  It has the young stars of films like Whiplash, Fruitvale Station, and The Spectacular Now.  It has low expectations to beat relative to the original entries some ten years ago.  With all this in mind, I had relatively high hopes for Fox's attempt to finally get this Marvel property right on the big screen.  After all, this is Marvel's first family about which we're talking.  Unfortunately, the studio has failed to invigorate the property and wastes the potential of this formidable foursome.  Hell, the film's director Josh Trank can't even back the final product.
Reed Richards (Miles Teller) has been interested in defying technical limits for quite some time.  

Bent on building a teleporter device known as the bio matter shuttle with his friend Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell), Richards makes waves at school over the years and not in a good way, especially when he puts his device to use at his high school science fair.  While his instructor Mr. Kenny (Dan Castellaneta) views his ideas as unrealistic, scientist Dr. Franklin Storm (Reg E. Cathey) and his daughter Sue (Kate Mara) find Reed's ideas innovative and groundbreaking.  Recognizing that he's cracked the code to not just teleportation but inter-dimensional travel to a place known as Planet Zero in his parents' garage, they invite Reed to study at the Baxter Foundation to work on a device known as the Quantum Gate, which would do exactly what Reed has done on a much larger scale.
Dr. Storm needs to get Reed a team to finish building the Quantum Gate.  To do so, he turns to two rather rebellious individuals.  He first turns to Victor von Doom (Toby Kebbell), a young scientist and his former protégé.  Victor built the initial model for the Quantum Gate and would be an invaluable asset in finishing the project.  The only problem is that Victor doesn’t put his faith in Storm or the corporation backing him, but his ego won’t allow him to stay on the sidelines of Reed’s major scientific breakthrough.  The other individual to whom Dr. Storm turns is a little closer to home, his son Johnny (Michael B. Jordan).  Illegally modifying cars and hitting the streets in underground races, Johnny is not exactly the type of guy to sport a lab coat.  After getting up close and personal with a telephone pole during one of these races, Dr. Storm doesn’t give Johnny much of a choice. Now, these two rebellious individuals will help Dr. Storm, Reed, and Sue make their way to Planet Zero.
Fantastic Four could have been so much more.  It could have been so much more.  With a runtime of approximately 100 minutes, the film barely scratches the surface of what it could have been.  It doesn’t have enough time to traverse all that the territory it hints at covering throughout the film.  Director Josh Trank tries to cover the heroes’ origins and upbringing, the incident in the Negative Zone, the rise of Doctor Doom, and a variety of half-baked themes.  It's too much with too little time.  The ultimate result is that the origin aspect of the film is entirely too detailed, while we actually don't get enough of our titular heroes.  What we do get of Marvel's First Family isn't exactly spectacular.  There's no payoff.

We spend the bulk of Fantastic Four working our way up to the events on Planet Zero in the Negative Zone.  This means we spend the bulk of the film watching a rather drab science project being carried out by a bunch of young adults with attitude problems. With this in mind, we don't actually get to see the heroes we came to see that much.  There's very little time for them to actually be fantastic.  With the exception of Doctor Doom—of whom we also don't get enough— what we do get of them is watered down and uncharacteristically cheesy.  It's not the caliber of a film that should be coming from the studio behind X-Men: Days of Future Past.  Fantastic Four is one giant disappointment.

As it stands, Fantastic Four fails to deliver.  Retreading unfortunately familiar territory, offering very little of the titular characters, and forcing a way to work the catchphrase "It's clobbering time!" into the dialogue, it's everything a superhero movie shouldn't be.    It pains me to give this comic book flick a 0.09% rating.  I had such high hopes for it.  Have some almond liquor with this one.