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Movie Review: Fantastic Four

Summer heats up with Fantastic Four. Image from firzone.com

Summer heats up with Fantastic Four. Image from firzone.com

Mob mentality. It is a collective way of thinking that has plagued so many films. If a majority of people believe a film is bad or is going to be bad, with nothing to back up those claims, then everyone will decree that film as bad. Such is the long, sad story of Fantastic Four a film that this critic believes is unjustly panned by so many on the idea of mob mentality.

 

The story for Fantastic Four is flawed however it manages to accomplish what it set out to do. The story follows Reed Richards from his time as a young boy into young adulthood as he tries and succeeds in creating a teleportation device. After a hazardous journey into another dimension Reed and his friends find they have powers and numerous difficulties and threats come in the following year. Throughout the film an idea is constantly there, an idea that this film aspires to be great and serious. Often times that idea manages to shine through and when it does the story is engaging and emotional, managing to make me care for the characters through the theme of family. However, far too often this idea is lost in the film’s far too quick pacing. The film feels as if it cannot hold still for a few minutes and as soon as it’s established a story element it quickly move on to the next. In doing so the film loses that emotional edge it could have easily have had from start to finish as well as not leaving much time for the team to develop into, well, a team. In the end the story does manage to accomplish what it needed to do, it established its characters and their powers and laid the groundwork for a bigger world. If only the pacing was slower and more time was allotted then the film’s great aspirations could have been realized.

 

Characters for Fantastic Four are decent

 

The Fantastic Four themselves are likeable but unfortunately due to the fast pace of the film a lot of character development is lost and thus most of them come off as slightly forgettable. What can be said about them, though, is that the younger character aspect does work and all three characters are believable as such. After initially gaining their powers the four are in incredible pain and terror as to what’s happened to them rather than just nonchalantly shrugging off what happened to them like in so many similar films. Even some of their motivations are realistically juvenile such as Johnny Storm who is motivated by teenage desires and acts appropriately like his age.

 

Victor von Doom is a decent villain but his motivations and overall scheme are just confusing. Doom initially starts off as a blogger before joining the project. Why bring this aspect of his character up? Because such a person would not want the same desires as Doom does later in the film. In the third act Doom returns and declares that our world is dying and he’s going to destroy it to create a world in his image. Huh? Where did this God complex come from? It’s just a bizarre leap from simple blogger to wannabe entity. What I can say for Doom is that he can be an intimidating villain though his incredible powers and the film establishes this wonderfully in a scene where he rampages though a base, decimating all in his path with only his mind.

 

 

Acting for Fantastic Four is well done

 

Miles Teller, Kate Mara and Jaime Bell all do fine in their respective roles. Teller works well with the cast and gives a very convincing performance as a leader. Mara does well, however due to her character being underdeveloped he performance unfortunately comes off as forgettable through no fault of her own. The same could be said for Jaime Bell which is unfortunate because he manages to give a very sympathetic performance as The Thing.

 

In all the hatred directed at this film the one that has sickened me the most is the deplorable racism aimed at Michael B. Jordan. Ladies and gentlemen let’s make this perfectly clear right now: There is nothing wrong with changing a character from being white into being black. It’s a good thing as so many super hero films are already white. Hell, The Avengers was initially a white frat boy party. Jordan has received terrible backlash and it I sickening. That said Jordan gives a very humorous and charismatic performance as Johnny Storm. He fits the role well and manages to be memorable form start to finish.

 

Toby Kebbell’s performance as Doom is very subtle and relatable at first. Kebbell plays Doom as introvert and quiet as if Doom was autistic something which I could relate to. This initial performance is well done as is his performance as a villain in which he manages to be cold and intimidating.

 

The effects for Fantastic Four are well made

 

The CG can be quite obvious however it overall does look nice. The designs of some of the characters as well as the alternate dimension are creative and are believable. However, I must say the rending of The Thing can be rather poor in one scene but otherwise still looks good throughout the rest of the film.

 

The action set pieces for Fantastic Four are pretty good

 

The set pieces for Fantastic Four are brief and far in between but what little we get is still entertaining. These brief scenes do a fine job of displaying the powers of the team and the film does well in utilizing said powers. The final battle itself was a bit of a disappointment. What I expected to be a long and brutal fight was short, however it was still a satisfying conclusion with quite a bit of creativity put into it.

 

Overall is Fantastic Four isn’t perfect. It has its shares of flaws and faults such as the fast pacing which led to an underdeveloped story and characters. But is it as awful as society says it is? Not even close. In the end Fantastic Four is an enjoyable film with some good ideas, good acting and some fun, if not short, set pieces.

 

Verdict: 3/5

About the Author

Good day to you, my name is Jonathan Gonzalez. For years I’ve loved movies and have been reviewing them for years, ever since I first saw Roger Ebert on Ebert and Roeper during my freshman year of high school for the first time. I am a graduate of Mercy College with a Bachelor’s in Journalism and I have Asperger’s Syndrome, something I am truly proud of.

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