Fantastic Four (or FANT4STIC FOUR) was arguably a doomed venture from the start. One of Marvels weaker titles that had been released on the big screen ten years ago (with the regrettably worse sequel coming out two years later), jumpstarted for the 2015 audience.
This paint-by-numbers origin story expands the Marvel Universe (MU, predating the MCU) which is always a great thing but what does it really lend to the back catalogue of Marvel’s cinema outings?
In case you’re not familiar with the backstory – Four Fantastic characters (two of whom are scientists and the other two are just guilty by association) are brought together through the most flimsy reasoning to be accidentally bombarded with space radiation, along with their pal/arch nemesis : Victor Von Doom they gain super powers.
This release sees the origin story getting an overhaul with the trademark darkness and grit that comic book films seem to now be bathed in.
Easily this title could be the cheesiest subject matter that the company could’ve optioned for release, and it’s apparent in both the light-hearted and serious moments of the film. Not that F4 has an identity crisis, the film feels like it is aware that it’s punching above it’s weight. Or at least having mistakenly turned up for an amateur boxing match at Madison Square Gardens.
The build up to the insighting incident felt like an uphill slog with nothing to hold my attention apart from the promise that something would happen sooner or later. The film genuinely started with a good pace and the best intentions but the energy levels began to dwindle early on.
From a special effects standpoint the film flashes and pulses like a pretty Christmas tree, and the Four’s powers are well represented visually, as are the sets and some of the costumes (the jury is still out with regards to the wardrobe department staying clear of the trademark blue and white suits, however like i said – it IS a gritty re-imagining of some fairly cheesy source material).
The casting and performances are adequate with actors turning in their very best but it feels like their efforts are in vain as the characters themselves are unrelateable to the audience. There is no like-ability about how the characters are written, even Ben Grimm (the rough and ready everyman with the heart of gold) and Johnny Storm (the mouthy reckless hot head) come across as undeveloped and stale. There is no chemistry between Reed Richards and Sue Storm or even a hint at any which i found to be disappointing.
I was left feeling uninvolved in the plot which trundled along at varying paces, not caring about the characters and their interactions. There is very little for comic fans (old and new) to pick through with this outing, and apart from the band Portishead being name-dropped there didn’t seem to be anything else to hold my interest personally.
The absence of a post-credit scene was disappointing however i find it hard to believe anyone would still be watching at that stage in the film.