MOVIE REVIEW: Fantastic Four

A superhero reboot that doesn't quite live up to its name

 

(SPOT.ph) You can say that the Fantastic Four reboot had all the makings of a success: an already-established fanbase, a new and darker tone, and a fresh cast composed of promising young actors. The end product, however, doesn't live up to expectations. Instead, it feels like a 100 minute-long introduction to a better plot that never happens.

 

Reed Richards (Miles Teller) is a science prodigy whose brilliance isn't appreciated by his teachers or peers, save for his neighbor and classmate, Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell). With the help of his friend, the young Reed builds a teleporter that can transport matter through space. Seven years later, he is discovered by Dr. Franklin Storm (Reg E. Cathey), who gives him a full scholarship so they can build a larger, working version of his invention.

 

 

It is here that he meets the rest of the scientific team: Dr. Storm's son, Johnny (Michael B. Jordan), his adopted daughter, Sue (Kate Mara), and sulky genius Victor Von Doom (Toby Kebbell). Together, they build a machine that successfully transports them to another planet, with disastrous consequences that end up leaving their physical forms altered.

 

It should be noted that all of this could have happened in 30 minutes or less, but the pacing and clunky screenplay (written by director Josh Trank, with Jeremy Slater and Simon Kinberg) brings it to about a full hour. It's a long and dragging build-up that leads to...well, nothing. The second half of the film is plagued by needless sequences of the team practicing (then using) their powers that could have easily been cut down to a montage. When we finally reach the inevitable showdown, audiences have about 10 to 15 minutes left in the film. It's simply too little, too late.

 

 

When it comes to characterizations, gone are the humor and team dynamics that made the first Fantastic Four films so likeable. We neither feel attached to their cardboard characters nor do we feel compelled to root for them. As a villain, Doom's motivations are shaky at best, reduced to a single, blink-and-you'll-miss-it line. The charismatic talents of Teller and Jordan, who have shined in films like Whiplash and Fruitvale Station, respectively, are sadly wasted.

 

Ultimately, the film's attempt at a revival falls short of the original, its source material, and the rest of its Marvel predecessors. It is, sadly, unimaginative to the point of almost being unwatchable, if not for the cast that you so genuinely want to succeed.

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RATING: 1 1/2 out of 5 spots

 

Fantastic Four is now showing in theaters.

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