Where to start with this one?
What could I possibly say that hasn't already been said?
Indeed, this new Fantastic Four did not do well at all with the critics upon its release, nor did it do very well financially due to poor word-of-mouth. But was the film written off too quickly? Were critics much too harsh on it?
I'd love to say yes but this is one hard movie to defend.
For one thing, the casting is tough to get behind.
As brilliant as newcomer Miles Teller was in last year's mini-masterpiece Whiplash, he finds himself miscast here and, about halfway through the film, possibly due to increasing on-set shambles, soon stops giving a f***. As do we. House Of Cards' Kate Mara is also miscast as our new Invisible Girl as she delivers no charisma or personality, something for which the script, I should point out, is entirely to blame. Jessica Alba may have been pretty dire as Sue Storm in the 2005 Fantastic Four but at least she seemed awake and said things! Casting Jamie Bell as The Thing was perplexing seeing as he seemed much too young (much like Teller as Mr Fantastic) and much too little to portray such a larger-than-life character but Bell, being a (forgive the pun) solid actor, could have pulled it off had his character not been shunned away early on and seemingly robbed of an entire subplot. Finally, Michael B. Jordan looked like he would have made a fine Johnny Storm but, again, the actor is let down by a script which makes him come across as surprisingly dislikable.
Say what you will about the 2005 movie, Chris Evans got it right.
The main problem with the movie seems to be a combination of awful, lazy writing and a fatally chaotic production. The film's first half hour is serviceable enough but the whole thing quickly devolves into a criminally dull, nonsensical hodgepodge of bad B-movie sci-fi and failed Avengers ripoffery, right down to the last line of the film being cut short on purpose Age Of Ultron-style. The tone appears to aim for dark and gritty but, ultimately, what we get is confused and uninterested. The film's main plot is all over the place with poor old Dr. Doom being thrown into the film near the beginning, then being taken out soon after and brought back at the end without rhyme or reason. Again, it feels as though there was a whole other movie there with an expanded Victor Von Doom storyline but it was mostly scrapped at the last minute, that or Doom was just shoehorned in by the producers for fear of a villain-less action movie.
Fantastic Four isn't bad in the way that, say, Catwoman is a bad comic-book adaptation. The latter being such a trainwreck from the get-go that it becomes an almost hypnotising misfire. This one had potential, had enough going for it to wind up as something at least passable, borderline decent. Unfortunately, in the end, it's just an extremely dull movie with a lot of obvious issues which could have only really been resolved thanks to a complete rewrite. The film just doesn't capture the spirit of the Fantastic Four who don't feel like a team at all by the final scene, and as far as making a faithful adaptation of the Ultimate Universe goes, it's a washout.
You may not like the 2005 Fantastic Four film but, at the very least, it "got" what was cool about Jack Kirby and Stan Lee's characters and it made sitting through 2 hours of some of their superheroic shenanigans fun enough. Josh Trank's snoozefest is so forgettable and lifeless it makes you wonder why you even cared about these particular Marvel heroes in the first place.
A flop for a reason: avoid.