Movie Review: Fantastic Four

Every year for the last three years since I started this blog, I’ve gone to the theaters to purposely see an awful production. However, there are a few basic rules to go over before you step in the door:

Rule 1: Don’t go alone.

Seeing a dreadful movie by yourself makes it twice as miserable. I strongly recommend you bring someone along to share in your suffering.

Rule 2: Don’t go on an empty stomach.

If you’re going to die from this viewing, go out with a full stomach. If you happen to vomit, oops.

Rule 3: Go at least a week after it was initially released.

Not only will this allow for the excommunication of the director and for a while, the actors and companies responsible for financing this hellhole, it allows for mostly empty theaters, which means you can react to the film’s happenings, or in this case, not happenings, instantaneously. If after a week someone still decided to see this travesty, they are there a) for the same reason you are, self-harm or b) they’re dumber than the Kardashians. If it’s a, they won’t care what you say. If it’s b, you won’t care what they say.

Rule 4: Expect to be tortured.

Sometimes production companies don’t care what their finished product looks like or how much toil it causes. As long as they earn a quick buck, they don’t care. If you’ve done your job correctly and managed to pick one of the worst films of the year, prepare for the worst. Prepare to deliver cuss-filled tirades. Prepare for the level of torture practiced during the Spanish Inquisition. Prepare to be mortally injured internally. Prepare for the fires of Hell. This film might have come through its gates.

Rule 5: Don’t drive home alone.

After watching a film where rash decisions were made, you might be, scratch that, you will be heavily inclined to make some rash decisions of your own. Don’t give in to the hate. Don’t join the dark side. Dammit, I wish I was reviewing Star Wars right now.

And that concludes the checklist. On to Fantastic Four Quacktastic Ducks.

It’s hard to forget the original Fantastic Four in 2005. Corny, cliche-ridden and foreshadowing all up and down the film strip, Fantastic Four had no suspense, drama or original conflict. The character development was minute, the acting pitiful and the direction elementary. It executed the careers of many of the actors that took part in the production, Chris Evans being the lone escapee. It earned a sequel because of the enormous payoff it got, but watched it implode. After that trash was taken off the curb, the Fantastic Four franchise laid dormant and everyone was okay with that.

After the grand success of most of the latest superhero ventures, 20th Century Fox decided to bring the old toy out of the box, clean it up and parade it in front of audiences in the hope that a spark might be ignited.

I had no interest in seeing a Fantastic Four film. I find the tag team the least of the Marvel superhero creations. Very few, when asked to name a superhero, are going to name someone from the Fantastic Four.

I waited for the hammer to come down and man, has it come down hard.

This year’s Fantastic Four has fallen to a microscopic 8% on Rotten Tomatoes. Based on what I’ve been able to find, that is the worst score a superhero film has ever gotten on Rotten Tomatoes, surpassing Elektra‘s 10%.

It also dropped 78.7% in earnings compared to last Friday. That’s believed to be the largest drop for a comic book film from a Friday to Friday ever.

With stats like that, this film is making history. I had to see it.

So Fantastic Four is the bad movie to see in theaters this year and I went to see it with my brother, Chris, my best friend, Jon, and a fun co-worker, Zach.

Coming out of the theater, we all talked about what we didn’t like about it and what we didn’t like about it (not a typo, meant to repeat myself) and something Zach said rang especially true: “No one wanted a Fantastic Four movie”.

We have The Avengers, The Guardians of the Galaxy, Jurassic World and Mission Impossible. You think someone is going to choose Fantastic Four over any of those? Really?

Alas, money calls and by money, I mean stupid.

The thing is, Fantastic Four manages to be worse than its predecessor in every way and I honestly didn’t think that was possible. With a better cast in Miles Teller as Mr. Fantastic, and a director and company that should have learned from past mistakes, they faltered at every chance of improvement: story, characters, acting, direction, visuals, even soundtrack. All of it is dreadful. How did all of this happen?

For one, director Josh Trank threw his own film under the bus the day it was released and tried blaming Fox for the disaster he directed. I understand that at some stages the company paying the bill can be heavy-handed but Fox was not over your shoulder telling you how to direct the characters and visuals. Take accountability, bud.

There have been numerous reports of behind-the-scene gossip and conflicts that should have hinted at the tornado this film was gonna be as well. I’ve read reports of Trank nearly dropping gloves with Teller and being excessively hard to work with. That I’m sure is just the beginning but moving on.

Trank, probably because he was too busy making everyone’s life miserable, avoids his characters like the plague. No significant time is spent with any of our quartet or with our villain, Dr. Doom. Trank is so obsessed with plot, which I’m sure he’ll blame on Fox, that he ignores the focal point of the movie: the Fantastic Four. No one cares about your plot. No one cares about anything but the famous characters being portrayed in your popsicle stand. Your only true commodity you managed to leave on the shelf.

Miles Teller, who’s shown to be one of the youngest talents in Hollywood, is given close to no material as our leading man and a plot point contrary to Mr. Fantastic’s character nixes the gimmick Teller was trying to pull off and eliminates our main protagonist for a solid 15-minute portion.

Don’t get me wrong, if there is anyone that is a supporter of creative license in regards to comic book movies, it’s me. Directors and writers should be allowed to make the franchise their own while still honoring previous material. Not only does Trank not have a Stan Lee cameo in his film, he writes the characters like they’re his own creation. The Thing, someone with a hot temper, is written as a calm and collected individual, a polar opposite of The Thing. Only Johnny Storm parallels the original material but I’d like to put a quick plug-in here and say that The Human Torch is the most unlikable superhero ever. Irresponsible, immature and pitifully predictable, I find no intrigue in this character whatsoever.

However, the real nail in the coffin was when right after our heroes got their powers, a black screen popped up with the phrase, “1 year later.”

As Zach mentioned, and again, I totally agree, the best part of a superhero movie is watching them get their powers and learn how to use them. Trank skips all of that with a mere three words. One word in all caps would have sufficed: DISAPPOINTMENT.

This large passing of time thwarted all of the previous character development as well as the friendships we were just starting to be a part of. As I said, disappointment ensued.

Yet, there’s still more to talk about, like the fact that every character in the 2005 version is written better and acted better than they are here. Chris Evans made a better Human Torch, words I never thought anyone for ten generations of my family would ever type. Here I am typing them, geez.

A plot as trivial and meaningless as the 2005 version Trank somehow bests, taking the script of The Incredible Hulk and planting it in his own film. The heavy “government is evil” theme reeks from its last use and isn’t even executed well. Government is evil, I got it, paint some creativity on the screen. Don’t plagiarise the last artist’s work. I paid to see a movie, not a photocopy machine in its natural habitat.

Yet I assure you that is exactly what you will get from Trank’s attempt at a reboot but at far less of a pedigree.

There are so many reasons behind why this film is so bad (I found a YouTuber who did an investigation on it that I found quite interesting) that I can’t believe Fox ever released it. I think a postponement was in order and I think we all would have waited a few extra months if it meant we got a finished product even twice as good as this, I mean, did you look at this crap, Fox? It’s egregious!

There are so many mortal wounds in this brainchild that it’s hard to mention them all but one last one that I have to mention is how boring this film was. At a 100-minute run time, Quacktastic Ducks is already ridiculously short for a superhero flick, but when you watch it, it feels like you were in the theater for barely an hour if that. Nothing happens in this film. There are two action sequences the whole movie and only one of them holds any tension. Its reliance on a plot held together by paperclips is mind-numbing and makes you feel comatose. The script has clearly been rewritten so many times that it’s directionless with no theme clearly standing front and center except for “THE GOVERNMENT IS EVIL.”

Thanks, The Incredible Hulk, for donating the theme to the “20th Century FOX can’t-make-a-story-line Fund.” All donations are appreciated.

The lone highlight for this escapade is that the actors hold some talent if no material in their hands and Dr. Doom is made into a fairly intimidating villain even if we spend almost no time with him, meaning yet another underdeveloped villain in a superhero flick. Still, the potential was at least there that he could have been something more. I see little to no undiscovered potential anywhere else.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.  

90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (Avengers: Age of UltronThe AvengersThe BabadookInterstellarChappie)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (The Cable GuyThe Cabin in the WoodsTears of the SunEdge of TomorrowThe Amazing Spider-Man 2)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (Enemy at the GatesAnchorman 2: The Legend ContinuesLeon: The ProfessionalEnemySleeping with the Enemy)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (Terminator: GenisysBlack SheepTwistedParkerHouse at the End of the Street)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (HerculesThe SentinelMad Max: Fury RoadBlitzThe Punisher)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (The Lost BoysZombeaversCrankErasedI, Frankenstein)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (CenturionPlanet of the ApesStonadosRedemptionPride and Prejudice)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The Boy Next DoorThe ColonyIn the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege TaleThe GreyX-Men: Days of Future Past)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (CyborgOutcastSabotageGallowwalkersTucker & Dale vs. Evil)

My score for Fantastic Four: 28.

As my best friend, Jon, said on Twitter, “Saw Fantastic Four (Not worth the Hashtag). More like a Fantastic waste of my Money. #ReadAComicBook”

There’s no reason to watch this. Not the worst superhero film I’ve seen somehow, but very close, the Fantastic Four should going back to being dormant and think about staying that way this time around for a lot longer.

 

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