Fun tidbit: I was almost about to give this movie a 0/5, but while it is the worst movie I’ve seen all year, one of the worst adaptations I’ve seen, one of the worst movies I’ve seen in my life, one of the worst comic book movies (if not THE worst)…there’s probably worse that has been released this year that I haven’t seen. Though I will say 50 Shades of Grey is better by comparison. And I apologize for going full-on rambling, but this movie is REALLY BAD.
If you haven’t heard by now, the Fantastic Four 2015 reboot is TERRIBLE. It’s boring; the characters are underdeveloped and bland; the writing and dialogue is atrocious, lazy, and wooden; the main villain Doctor Doom, one of my all-time favorite supervillains, is neutered AGAIN and is just plain laughable, almost worse than the previous movies; almost every sci-fi movie cliche is in it; it’s barely longer than AN HOUR AND A HALF, like 100 minutes; and it perfectly illustrates (ironic since it’s a comic book movie but I say that VERY LOOSELY) how 20th Century Fox has no idea how to adapt Fantastic Four, additionally with little to no success AT ALL every time unlike how they do X-Men (depending on which movie of course), that they’re being greedy and petty as Hell and should just give the rights back to Marvel. This is the fourth time the FF have been adapted into film, both the Tim Story duology and the Roger Corman movie, and it’s sad when those are better than this by comparison, almost as bad if not WORSE than the friggin Galactus cloud from FF: ROSS, and even sadder when the Roger Corman version is probably the best one, at least from what I heard and seen from reviews since the movie was never released.
I will say before I get into the nitty gritty stuff, that there are some things that are okay. The special effects were decent, better than the previous movies. The cast is good, especially Michael B. Jordan as Human Torch, ironically, despite also being a waste of their time, effort, and talent. And I liked the premise and atmosphere, since apparently they took inspiration from David Cronenberg and others, and it shows in certain scenes. That’s all I can say on what was good in this movie, but still doesn’t prevent it from being a total pile of garbage.
Right from the get-go this movie was DOOMED (see what I did there? lol) from the start. The Tim Story movies sucked and there wasn’t going to be a third one continuing that series, so Fox decided to reboot instead of giving the rights back to Marvel like they did with Daredevil. They get Josh Trank, the director of Chronicle (a great movie and excellent found footage film, which I thought also had parallels and analogues to FF, such as people getting powers from some mysterious thing) to direct and co-write, as well as Simon Kinberg (known for co-writing and producing some of the recent X-Men movies, as well as Star Wars: Rebels) to produce and co-write, as well as Matthew Vaughn (director of X-Men: First Class) to produce, and I think Mark Millar was apparently recently made a consultant on the Fox-leased Marvel movies, which makes sense since this movie is more in common with his Ultimate Fantastic Four comic, and Seth Grahame-Smith (writer of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter book and movie) “polished” the script from what I heard. They get everyone cast in the roles, with Michael B. Jordan’s casting stirring up controversy since he’s black and Human Torch is white but I thought it was neat because it’s an adaptation, there’s always liberties with source material when it comes to adaptations, and I thought Jordan, along with everyone else, was perfectly cast in their roles. There didn’t seem to be much promotion for the movie aside from trailers and a panel at Comic-Con, not even merchandise, just a cheap Denny’s commercial. Marvel cancelled the Fantastic Four comic, at the time written by James Robinson (writer of Starman and Earth 2), as a way of giving the middle finger to Fox for not giving them the rights back, and it’s obvious they wanted NOTHING to do with this thing. A lot of people I knew, all the review shows I watched, and even myself, were all telling me that this movie was going to suck, yet I went and saw it anyway because I guess I must be a sadomasochist and I gotta witness things for myself. Josh Trank himself said, and I’m quoting here, “A year ago I had a fantastic version of this. And it would’ve received great reviews. You’ll probably never see it. That’s reality though”, further proving that there are still bad comic book movies because in this case especially, the studio has no idea what they’re doing and they don’t care or listen to the people they get to make them. It happened with Green Lantern, Amazing Spider-Man 2, and a whole lot of others that this movie can be put alongside with as bad examples of making a superhero and/or comic book movie. You know it’s bad when not even STAN LEE makes a cameo in it, and he makes cameos in almost EVERY Marvel movie based on something he co-created (though that cameo in Deadpool makes no sense to me since he had no hand in his creation), and it’s interesting he hasn’t made a cameo in a Fox-leased Marvel movie since X-Men 3 and FF: ROSS. Plus this movie doesn’t even LOOK like it’s set in New York, because while it was filmed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, they could’ve put in at least some kind of effort into making it like New York. Sam Raimi filmed his Spider-Man movies in CHICAGO and made it more of a convincing New York than this. How does this happen with all these talented people involved? Seriously?!!!
The movie begins with Reed Richards, fitting the role of cliched misunderstood genius made fun of by EVERYONE, student and teacher alike (also family, or rather stepdad too, just to check that off the list), and Ben Grimm in elementary school, where everyone is asked by Homer Simpson himself (yes, Dan Castellaneta is in this), a teacher, what they’d like to be when they grow up. Reed says he’d like to make a teleporter, which is dismissed by Homer as “unrealistic” and “fantasy”, making fun of him for working on a “flying car” (what kind of teacher talks like this to a student?). Ben gets abused by his brother at their family junkyard, who coins the infamous catchphrase “it’s clobberin time” (because that’s how everyone wanted to know where The Thing got his catchphrase, right? with his brother beating the crap out of him; good job, Fox!) and finds Reed looking for scrap for his teleporter. Together they make it and I guess it worked? (there’s a power outage and of course Reed’s stepdad is gonna be pissed he missed his football game). Years later Reed (Miles Teller) and Ben (Jamie Bell) are in high school at a science fair (in which Homer is also there too? this guy is more weird at following his students throughout their lives than Mr. Feeny) and they’re disqualified for doing “magic tricks” despite the teleporter WORKING. Thankfully they’re noticed by Dr. Franklin Storm (Reg E. Cathey) and his adopted daughter Sue (Kate Mara), who are also making a teleporter. Reed, and strangely not Ben since he helped out with Reed’s project, is invited to join the Baxter Foundation, a think tank of kid geniuses who are barely seen and/or heard much aside from the main characters, to work on the teleporter originally designed by Victor von Doom (Toby Kebbell; thankfully not named “Victor Domaschev” and is NOT an internet troll, yet his living space is like a typical 90s hacker movie environment), who left since he’s like every uppity genius-type character in a bad sci-fi movie ever, but returns begrudgingly because he’s creepily obsessed with Sue and also because he’s like every uppity genius-type character in a bad sci-fi movie ever. Also Johnny Storm (Michael B. Jordan) helps out because he got into a car crash in a street race he was in and his dad won’t let him have a new car unless he helps with the teleporter.
After awkward dialogue and weird bonding moments that no one would take seriously, a really fake-looking monkey used in a teleporting test, Sue nicknaming Victor “Doctor Doom” at the drop of a hat, and of course like with other lazily made movies like this, a montage, the teleporter works. And the first thing that the head scientist guy (Tim Blake Nelson, definitely NOT playing The Leader in the MCU despite that he SHOULD; I’m not gonna bother with his character’s name since he’s like every other dickweed in a bad sci-fi movie) says that they’ll be working with NASA and the government to send TRAINED PROFESSIONALS instead of them, the people who invented the teleporter, into the Negative Zone, sorry “Planet Zero” [insert groan, rub between eyes, and facepalm here]. While getting drunk off a single small flask, Reed, Johnny, and Victor decide to go to the Negative Zone (not calling it “Planet Zero”; wtf kind of name is that?) for a bit and plant a flagpole just so they can say “Ha ha, we got there before you did”. Reed calls Ben to come over and join him, because of course a high-tech place with all these smart people and government funding would have little to no security to prevent the shenanigans they’ll get into. They journey into the Negative Zone, which looks like every bland sci-fi dangerous environment ever, complete with pools of Slimer jizz. Like an idiot, Victor touches it and suddenly everything goes amok, the place is erupting, Victor gets jizz on his face and is left behind, and Ben, Johnny, and Reed are affected by the environment in different ways, foreshadowing their powers. Also, Sue is not with them on this, but is notified, while no one else is apparently, on her friggin computer what’s going on and is affected by the energy upon their return, I guess, and gets her powers too.
Everyone is at a military base called….[sigh] Area 57 (seriously, just call it Area 51, you know you want to; what is this, Looney Tunes: Back in Action?). Reed can stretch, Johnny is a burnt corpse on fire, Sue goes visible then invisible over and over, and Ben is in a rock cocoon. Reed is somehow able to escape and just leaves everyone behind for a FRIGGIN YEAR (what an asshole! I know Reed has been called the smartest and dumbest guy around in the Marvel Universe, but wow; and what is it with the Fox adaptations of FF depicting Reed as a guy desperate and with no resources of his own? sure he has his genius just like in the comics but also in the comics he was a self-made guy with his own money and some government funding). After, you know, A YEAR, the government and scientists are being typical jerkoffs in every sci-fi movie ever by wanting to use them for military purposes and doing so, Ben has emerged from his cocoon (not sounding like Jamie Bell AT ALL; who did the horrible dubwork here?) and is working for the government carrying out secret missions in other countries for no reason in exchange for a cure (which he won’t get, obviously) and running around naked (what is it with Fox and having Marvel characters naked? seriously), Johnny is ok with both his powers AND working for the government for no good reason other than “doing something with his life”, Sue and Dr. Storm don’t like the situation they’re in, so Sue is forced to find Reed with her computer skills, which the movie didn’t bother to establish very well since while she has worked with computers up until this point, how is she a hacker? Just because her sister Rooney Mara was Lisbeth Salander and Kate was in Transcendance as a “anti-technology activist”, doesn’t make her a hacker extraordinaire. She finds Reed in Panama, who is disguised through his stretching abilities which are terribly utilized (for disguising; as far as fighting and stretchiness, sorta ok), and also keeping tabs on his friends through newspaper clippings (way to keep those missions secret). Ben is sent in and there’s a brief fight in which he knocks Reed out. Reed helps the government with the teleporter and gets it working again, which at first begs the question of why, but then I remembered this movie is stupid and it has to have ignorant dumbasses playing with the laws of nature in order to achieve power and other bullshit, and I guess Reed wants to help the others get back to normal despite saying earlier it was all his fault and isn’t useful. Also these characters don’t even have their codenames from the comics, they’re just designated as “subjects”.
Victor is found in the Negative Zone somehow having survived it for a year. His suit is melted and fused to him, he has glowing green stuff on him, and he has a cape and hood. Where did he get that? Seriously! WHERE DID HE GET THAT?!!! And he looks just laughable. He looks like a melted Silver Surfer action figure mixed with Slimer jizz. He looks like the attempted aborted fetus from The Terminator and T-1000 having sex while drunk on Bud Light Lime. The elite Cylons from the ORIGINAL 1970s Battlestar Galactica look more convincing and scary than him. He becomes insane and kills everyone in his path in really gruesome fashion by making their heads explode and other ways with his grabbag of powers, including Nelson and Dr. Storm (thank you movie for killing a warm father character, however bland and cliched his phrases may seem; seriously the guy keeps saying stuff like “protect each other”, “stay together”, all while trying to put on a James Earl Jones as Darth Vader impression). Calling himself “Doom” (even saying “there is no Victor, only Doom”; way to rip off Ghostbusters too, Fox!), he decides to destroy the world for no reason other than “humanity had its chance” (seriously, where is all this coming from? sure it was hinted at he didn’t really like people and how they treat the world, but it’s just being forced; also, in the comics and even the other movies, DOCTOR DOOM ALWAYS WANTED TO RULE THE WORLD!). The FF band together, or more like clumsily cobble together, and stop Doom in probably one of the quickest, laziest, and worst fights ever, also killing him too by the way, because THAT’S how real heroes get it done, right? The movie ends (thankfully no secret ending, though I didn’t bother I left as the credits started), with the four of them in some secret facility in a forest somewhere, Ben says it’s “fantastic”, and Reed decides to call the group the “Fantastic” and then it just ends before he could add “Four” in there.
THIS MOVIE IS AWFUL!!!! I couldn’t wait to get out of the theater (though I also had to pee due to the soda I drank, but still) once it was over. No movie has made me want to get out of a theater more than this one has. I feel bad for the director, the writers, the producers (just Matthew Vaughn and Simon Kinberg), and the cast, because they’re all talented, but WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED?!!! Shame on Fox. No, seriously, I blame all this on Fox. Even Josh Trank blames Fox. Granted, everyone involved probably knew what they were getting into, but all the blame lies on Fox. This movie is so bad Jack Kirby is rolling in his grave worse than other bad adaptations of his work, including the other three FF movies. Four times the charm aka four times the FAIL!!! Also, where were those scenes from the trailer, like the one where The Thing is dropped from an aircraft, Ben Grimm playing baseball, Johnny Storm fixing up his car, or the one where Reed is apparently talking to Doctor Doom, Doom says “you don’t know what’s coming”, Reed asks “what’s coming?”, and Doom responds “Doom”. They were cut out and it’s especially bad when scenes that were in the trailer are not in the actual movie, just to get people in the seats. And they screwed up on Doctor Doom, one of my all-time favorite supervillains and star of one of my favorite comics, Doom 2099 (yeah I know it’s an alternate version but it got me to love the character more).
It’s trying to be every dark and gritty comic book movie out there right now, and it can’t even get that right. Sure, the Fantastic Four can be silly in comics, but it’s also warm, funny, engaging, and embraces the wacky sci-fi stuff of comics, especially superhero comics, which this movie is clearly not reflective of. The characters barely even bond with each other at all or even remotely act and/or talk like real people. There’s a reason why the Fantastic Four is “Marvel’s First Family”, because they’re a group of individuals who get caught in weird circumstances and have to work together to get through them as a dysfunctional family unit, though a family unit nonetheless. Marvel was able to do that kind of balance between drama and wackiness with Guardians of the Galaxy, so why couldn’t Fox with FF? At least they’d be ripping off of something that’s a good break from all the dark and gritty stuff that everyone’s gotta do because there can’t be no happiness or cheerfulness, no light at the end of the tunnel at all. There is no character development, no buildup other than the buildup for the sequel which will never get made, no story, just nothing salvageable. At least Frank Miller’s The Spirit is laughably bad. This one is just plain bad. It is proof that Fox has no idea how to do the FF right and should just give the rights back to Marvel, who while they may do questionable things with their adaptations, at least they understand what makes them great. Yes, Marvel owes Fox for making the X-Men a credible film franchise and bringing them back from the brink of bankruptcy, but Fox should also at least be agreeable in sharing the rights to their Marvel stuff with friggin MARVEL so that everyone can be happy. At least Sony realized their mistakes with Spider-Man, sort of, and are working with Marvel (though mostly because of the email leak and not just ASM2’s failure). This is not a “celebration” of the Fantastic Four comics as they would lead you to believe, it’s an insult, especially when it was reported that it wouldn’t be based on a single issue of the comics.
This movie was so bad it’s now made me cautious of future Fox-leased Marvel stuff, including X-Men: Apocalypse, Gambit, Wolverine 3, and even Deadpool despite that awesome trailer. I hope that Fox will give the rights back after all is said and done with those future X-Men movies. And they thought they could make a sequel to this garbage. Seriously, Fox, Sony, Universal, whoever has rights to Marvel stuff that they won’t share with Marvel for no good reason, just stop it. Let this be a lesson to them of how they can screw things up just because they’re being greedy and petty and won’t give back the property to the original creators or just simply work with them. People, myself included, are getting tired of it, and it’s got to stop. Want to see a better comic book movie or a better movie in general? Go see Avengers 2 or Ant-Man again, the latter I saw again since I wanted to wash the bad taste of this pile of crap out of my mouth. I might go see The Gift or Mission: Impossible 5, I hear those are really good. If you want a good FF story, read the comics, watch the animated stuff (especially World’s Greatest Heroes, that one was good), or even watch the other movies. And if Marvel ever gets the rights back to FF and X-Men and put them in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, they should just do TV instead of film because there are WAY too many characters and storylines to be crammed into a movie or a film series.
Don’t see this movie, people. And if you do, prepare for the craptastic…