Fantastic Four – Review

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I have to say that I didn’t hate this movie.  It’s not the Fantastic Four movie I would have made if given the chance, but it’s not terrible; though it is needlessly grim–pardon the pun–but that’s not necessarily the same thing as bad.

And you might also be wondering what took me so long to actually see it, and I’d answer that Josh Trank’s movie was one of the worse reviewed movies of last year, so I wasn’t in any particular hurry to catch it.

The fact that I rented it via iTunes for $5.99–as opposed to $10 or more for a movie ticket–may have a little to do with my feelings as well.  (What also might is that Josh Trank was demonized in various media ways few people who haven’t been accused of either peodphilia or poisoning the water of their constituents have been).

Dr. Allen (Tim Blake Nelson) is the goverment man who intends to use the intrepid team as weapons, though the thing is, he makes a lot of sense.  Not only is the government financing the Baxter Institute, but he had the audacity to suggest that NASA be brought in to explore the new world the transporter opens up. 

The thing is, that’s what NASA does!  Yet because of a little Dutch courage, our four intrepid voyagers decide to journey into mystery.  

The movie makes little sense, in that why would the inventors of a teleportation device, knowing that it opens a door into an alternate world–the word ‘dimension’ isn’t interchangeable with ‘world’–even want to be the first humans to use it?

That’s like the people who invented the first atomic bomb actually flew aboard the planes that dropped them on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which is dumb for all sorts of reasons. 

But the story needed them to go, so go they went.

And speaking of really bad decisions, why is it that Reed wanted Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell) to come along, especially considering that he had even has less experience than anyone else did–which means even less than NONE!

And speaking of Grimm, he’s remarkably nonchalant about entering a device that in the past had a tendency to explode, never mind the whole ‘this is an alien world, and we have virtually no idea what’s actually there’ thing.

Anyone who had seen Paul Anderson’s Event Horizon would know that alternate dimensions aren’t always a good places to visit.

And why are the teleporters initally built to be large enough to hold a human?  The first thing transported (after a robot, which never returns, is a chimpanzee, which doesn’t need a human-sized chamber)

These lapses of logic, which are peppered throughout the movie don’t necessarily make it bad or unwatchable, but it does mean that things get progressively sillier–which is saying a lot when you take into account that we’re talking about a movie based on four people that have the ability to turn invisible, can stretch like a rubber band, are made of rocks and can turn into a living match.

It’s worth mentioning how Sue Storm (Kate Mara) gets a raw deal.  In the comics she’s a pivotal part of the team, while here she does little more than assist the men with whichever project they happen to be working on (she even makes the environmental suits, for Christ’s sake!  Why they would turn her to a glorified seamstress is a bit odd, especially in these somewhat more progressive times) as opposed to being a character with anything resembling a drive and motivations of her own.

Some reviewers have mentioned that Trank’s movie contains elements of Cronenbergian body-terror, but I don’t see it. 

Nothing that happens is necessarily dark enough–or inward-looking enough–to warrant such a descriptor.

It’s indicative of the weirdness that permeates this movie,  Josh Trank apparently–before the movie famously imploded–intended for Fantastic Four to be a darker take on the characters than that taken in Fox’s 2005 Fantastic Four movie (as well as it’s 2007 sequel) and that’s a problem because it lends a gravitas to the characters that they don’t warrant.

Another point worth mentioning is that the movie is another example of Nolanization, which is when filmmakers take a subject–particuarly from a comic book–far more seriously than is warranted.  And that a problem, because a certain degree of joylessness works fine for Batman, not so much for the Fantastic Four (or Superman, for that matter).

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