The 6 Worst Things About Fantastic Four

Monday, 10 August 2015 - 12:25PM
Fantastic Four
Monday, 10 August 2015 - 12:25PM
The 6 Worst Things About Fantastic Four
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In case you haven't heard yet, the new Fantastic Four movie is bad. Like, really bad. At the time of writing this, it's sitting at a 9% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Just for reference, the widely-panned original Fantastic Four from 2005 tripled that rating with 27%, as did the former worst superhero movie of the decade, 2011's Green Lantern, which sits at 26%. Even the poster child for terrible comic book films, 1997's Batman and Robin, managed to break double digits with an 11% rating. So what's so bad about this Fantastic Four reboot? If we were to go through everything, this would be an incredibly  but here are the six worst things.

This is the part where I would normally warn of spoilers, but I don't know if it's possible to spoil something this rotten.

The Fan Service Lines

The movie as a whole is about as unfun as a movie can get. The tone throughout is dark and depressing, which makes it all the more jarring when attempts at jokes are made. None of the jokes land, but without a doubt the worst ones are the forced references to the comics that were clearly shoehorned in.

When we first meet Victor von Doom, he makes a comment out of left field about how the earth doesn't deserve to survive, and Sue Storm sarcastically calls him "Doctor Doom". Get it? Cause he's Doctor Doom?! Another cringe-worthy moment occurs when we see fifth grade Ben Grimm get viciously beaten up by his roughly thirty-year-old brother, who "menacingly" tells him, "It's clobberin' time!" I get the feeling these lines were part of the reshoots done on the movie to try and make whatever Josh Trank made into a movie about the Fantastic Four. They don't succeed.

Doom's Motivation

Going back to Doom, nothing he does makes sense. He's introduced as a guy from Latveria named Victor von Doom (also changed, Trank's original version had him as a hacker named Victor Domashev)... except he's clearly American and way too young to carry that kind of name. He's also not evil so much as mad at the world, but no one can say why.

When we first meet him he mentions that he distrusts the government and doesn't think the world is worth saving (the world is mentioned as dying throughout the movie but it's never explained why), but we never learn any background or get any reasoning for these feelings. He then happily goes to work on the dimension-hopping project, has some feelings for Sue Storm, and doesn't really harbor any resentment against Reed Richards until the climax when all of a sudden he's mad that Reed thinks he's smarter than him. In a movie where nothing works, Doom might be the biggest misfire of all.

Johnny Storm Drag Racing

I can just see the studio meeting where they figured out how to introduce Johnny Storm: "OK, Johnny Storm is the cool member of the group. A rebel. What are cool, rebellious kids into these days?"

-"Well, I know drag racing was big in the '50s, so I'm gonna go with drag racing."

And that's how we ended up with Johnny Storm drag racing in 2015.

Cheesy, By the Numbers Dialogue

At times this movie feels like someone read 'How to Write Movies For Dummies' and just used sample lines of dialogue. It's overflowing with cliches, so much so that half the movie could have been pieced together from other movies. By the time the climax arrives and Reed Richards calls out to Victor von Doom by saying his first name, I was literally mouthing the reply: "There is no Victor, there is only Doom." That worked once in Ghostbusters, but everyone else needs to stop.

Mr. Fantastic Becomes Mr. Exposition

The climax of the movie is bad, but it does have the benefit of being essentially the only action sequence in this slooooooowwww movie. But taking away from the action (which is also extremely brief) is Reed Richards literally spelling out everything to the viewer while it's happening on the screen.

- "He's made a black hole!"
- "It's pulling all the matter from our world into his world!"

I have eyes, I know how movies work, I don't need everything explained to me as if I'm a child. The ludicrous amount of exposition was distracting to the point where it became funny, which I'm pretty sure isn't what they were going for in the darkest moment of a pitch black movie.

The Naming Ceremony

I somehow managed to make it to the end of this movie only to be hit with a combination of almost unprecedented cheesiness and cliche. The team does the typical, "So what do we call ourselves?" After a few failed suggestions, including an out-of-nowhere antagonistic one from Johnny Storm directed at the Thing (there's no tension between them at any other point), Ben Grimm declares his current situation to be fantastic, despite the fact that he's hated being the Thing for the entire movie. Richards then asks him to say it again for some reason, Thing repeats the word "Fantastic", the cast smugly smiles, and a graphic that says "Fantastic Four" arrives on the screen. It drew guffaws from the theater I was in, mainly because it implied that the studio actually believed they made a good film and had a cool, well-deserved moment when they in fact spectacularly failed on all fronts.

In a way, I'm glad the movie is this bad and looks like it will bomb at the box office because it might mean Fox will sell the characters back to Marvel. Then who knows, maybe one day we'll actually get a good Fantastic Four movie.
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