One of the perks of having a unlimited Cinema pass is sometimes I get to see blockbuster films at special screenings, so I get to see them before all you regular non pass film goers. Which means I’m better than you, do you see?
Tonight I got to see the Fantastic Four a few days early and I had a great time. You see I treated myself to a Ribeye steak in Jack Daniels sauce and it was cooked to perfection. I followed it with a Rocky Road Sundae and complete with a few beers I had the full, satisfied feeling of contentment that only a well made meal can bring. There was also a large party going on for some little girl’s first birthday and the staff got the whole restarurant to sing happy birthday at her. Sometimes there is nothing more amusing than seeing a one year old with a definate “What the fuck?” expression on her face.
This would prove more entertaining than the movie I ended up seeing. It’s hard not to feel a sense of trepidation when you hear the constant rumours of turmoil on the set, hasty rewrites and reshoots, battles over the editing room and a uneasy vibe from the cast’s appearance at Comic Con last month. Embargos placed on press reviews are never a good sign either. At the screening I went to tonight a forty minute delay while projector issues were sorted out had the eerie feel of a movie we were better off not seeing.
I’m going to leave it to The Cough to do his own full Fantastic Four review for this site, but just to give my own thoughts this movie was a sad mess. It’s a strangely paced film, feeling really rushed in an effort to get things going and throw all it’s chracters together, sacrificing any sense of drama in the process. Yet as quick as it moves it’s also dull, there’s very little to care about in the characters or what it is they are trying to achieve in their teleportation research. Reed, Ben and Sue come across as bland, with forced motivations. Michael B Jordan’s Human Torch is obvioulsy meant to bring the charismas but beyond a few one liners there is not a lot to work with.
Of course the film is always Victor Von Doom’s to steal in any Fantastic Four story and Toby Kebbell shows hints of an intriguing character but it falls short and it’s when the full on Doctor Doom arrives that the film truly unravels. I’m not againgst the movies playing around with the Marvel characters, in truth none of the beloved Avengers film versions share a great deal in common with their comic counterparts (Tony Stark was never the wise cracker that Robert Downey Jnr potrayed), yet in Doom they take what is one of the most devilishly wicked villains and make him a generic monster.
I honestly felt like the movie actually gave up on itself at this point and just thought “fuck it we’re at 90 minutes let’s wrap things up.” There’s no surprise that there’s a big battle at the end but I seriously had no idea what they were really battling about or how anyone was trying to win. For some reason there was a second when the story of Doom reminded me of Frozen, and that’s not a knock on Frozen because I love that film and I absolutely adore THAT song. Yeah you know the one.
By the ending there’s a tired flat feeling to the acting, the writing, there’s no chemistry between any of the team, none of the sense of family that the comics always potrayed. Even the banter between Thing and the Torch is missing with just a hint forced in at the end as if the creators remembered at the last minute, just like the Thing’s famous catchphrase which comes out with little build or sense of the character with been watching up to that point.
There are some saving graces. The film makes creative uses of Reed’s powers, succeeding in making him an ass kicker in some of the fight scenes which in turn robs the Thing and Torch of their moments to shine.
The Thing looks and sounds impressive, especially managing to potray his tragic side which was often an overlooked achievement of the comics. Sadly this is at the expense at his warmth and comic side, The Thing even becomes a mass killer on the battlefield.
I take no joy in bashing this movie. The Fantatsic Four was never my favourite comic, but it retains a hallowed status for me in that where everything I would come to love in Marvel really began. A Fantastic Four film should be joyous, it should be full of scenes of wonder, it should be breathtaking in it’s exploration of time, space and dimensions and it should be optimistic and above all it should have at it’s heart a family.
I have a reputation for being incredibly easy to entertain when it comes to movies which is why I don’t try to write reviews very often, but even I find much to like about this film and I honestly expect this film to get an absolute kicking when the reviews come in.
Is there an after credits scene you may ask? Buggered if I know, I couldn’t wait to get the hell out of there.