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Friday, 21 August 2015

Fantastic Four (2015)

I can only guess or speculate when I make this statement that even Hollywood seems to be running out of good ideas for cinema.  Why else would one try and relaunch a superhero franchise that was not perceived as a great one to begin with.  More importantly, why would someone try to narrate the same story again?

In my mind, it may have made sense to extend the previous franchise with a renewed cast and tell a new story.  Starting from scratch seems to be a meek / desperate attempt by director Josh Trank to say, “I can do this better”.  But seriously Josh – anyone could have made a better version of The Fantastic Four.  It is just magical that you have managed to make a version that is worse. It beats me.

This version starts with a 10 year old Reed Richards (Owen Judge / Miles Teller).  Reed submits a paper on “What do I want to be when I grown up” as part of the school assignment and is laughed off the dais. Why? Because he states in no unclear terms that he wants to be the first person to teleport mass. The year is 2007.

Seven years later, Reed finds himself with best friend Ben Grimm (Evan Hannemann / Jamie Bell) at a science fair.  He has now built a more stable device that not only teleports but also brings back.  For now, his experiments have been restricted to objects.  But that’s about to change.

Dr. Franklin Storm (Reg E Cathey) is at the same science fair with his daughter Susan (Kate Mara).  Dr. Storm is the only person amongst the visitors to be impressed with Reed’s work and offers him a full scholarship to the Baxter foundation.  The next step is to build a full-fledged teleportation device that connects to an alternate parallel universe.

Much like this review that has gone on for 3 paragraphs before coming to the actual story, Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four spends the better part of an hour before coming onto the actual transformation of our heroes into superheroes / mutants.  It demands the most of your patience and eagerness to know what is in store.

Unfortunately, the next 40 odd minutes involve no more than one sequence that introduces Doom.  Viktor Vonn Doom from Latveria was left behind in Planet Zero after the unplanned mission goes a bit awry and a year later has decided that 4 alphabets are enough to strike fear in the minds of all in Mother Earth.

Fantastic Four disappoints on all fronts except maybe some special effects which have been done well.  The dialogue is weak.  There is little or no humour. The performances seem forced out of otherwise good actors who had no belief in the script.  All of this leading to a disappointing Marvel movie.  I guess Marvel should be made only by Disney and no one else.

One can only hope that the sequel that is slotted for a June 2017 release is just stupendously brilliant to erase all memories of this version.  The only reason I can think of for Josh Trank holding back something would have been the sequel.  For now, I give a 4 on 10 to an avoidable movie.

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