Review: Fantastic Four (2015)

With Spoilers

Image from 20th Century Fox

Believe it or not, the Fantastic Four movie in 2005, and its sequel, FF: Rise of the Silver Surfer in 2007, are more faithful to the source material and fun to watch than the current Fantastic Four film. Some saw the previous films as juvenile and with no value beyond special effects, but this year’s reboot misunderstands that it should go gritty.

The first act is based on Mark Millar's Ultimate FF run but the film takes itself too seriously- gone are the "fantastic" elements that make FF click. Apparently, something goes wrong in the second and third acts. “Family” should have been the central theme of the film but what we get are disconnected characters and even adoption does not solve that.

There is this scene where Dr. Doom displays his powers for the first time. The carnage is reminiscent of Man of Steel and probably the violence porn of slasher films. There is also no build up to Victor Von Doom’s motivation to destroy the planet. Yes, he wants to be a god— he’s currently a god in the “Secret Wars” comics — but he is always among the individuals who save the planet when its existence is at stake, even teaming up with the heroes he loathes.

Dr. Doom is one of Marvel’s best villains. He is not a flat character who is envious when a guy hits on the most beautiful girl in the room. For him, that would be petty. In this film, he is like a child throwing a tantrum.

The epilogue is the only time we get to see usual banter between characters, but the lines are still dry. It doesn't have the fun we would find in Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man, both produced by Marvel’s in-house studio, which is strange because the Thing and the Human Torch are fun to read in the comics.

There is no magic when this movie’s Johnny shouts “Flame On!” and Ben, “It’s clobbering time!” Much like the gloomy aesthetics of the film, the famous catchphrases are not given justice.

The last act is perhaps the only time the filmmakers realize they are making a superhero movie. The action comes late, thus the team dynamics feels forced and artificial. It is as if someone declares, let us just finish the movie.

After watching the movie, I asked myself, “what was takeaway from the movie, granted that it was not faithful to the comics? Was it a man’s dying wish that they should look after each other?” It should have been answered by the ending scenes. But no, it was not about family. 

It was not about the Fantastic Four.

Rating: 1/5