Richard Reed is a genius inventor who, as a boy, creates a teleporter that transports objects away, never to return.
As a teenager he reveals his improved teleporter that can now return the objects transported, although slightly damaged. His teachers think his machine is fraudulent, but he is recruited by the Baxter Institute, given a team, a budget and asked to build a larger machine with the goal of transporting humans.
Soon, Reed and his team will transport themselves to another dimension and return with strange super-powers. Quite by accident, they will become the Fantastic Four and the fifth will become the villainous Dr. Doom.
We say, “Whistle note, descending, followed by sound of plane crashing into ground.”
TAYLOR: This movie was the second film written and directed by Josh Trank (Chronicle). I think that Trank’s limited experience, especially with big budgets, fed into its failure, but he’s not entirely to blame, despite also writing it. Any time the goal is to set up a franchise, the inception story is told. Usually our introduction to the characters and the universe(s) in which they live is full of mystery and meaning. Superman has his Krypton backstory, Batman has his revenge issues, Spiderman is a teenager, etc. The biggest problem with the Fantastic Four is that their inception seems to be an afterthought in an over-saturated market. It needn’t exist.
HOWE: And here I thought The Incredible Hulk with Eric Bana or The Green Lantern with Ryan Reynolds were bad. Everything about Fantastic Four is wrong: the choice of actors, the storyline, the acting, the look of the movie, the use or really the lack of the use of villain Dr. Doom, I could go on and on. I am disappointed with Marvel. They have released some great movies in the last couple of years. This is a huge letdown. The only two positive things I can suss out are that it’s only 90 minutes long and it didn’t rip me off an extra three bucks for 3D.
TAYLOR: With endless dull sets, a bleak alien desert, disinterested friends who seem to only reluctantly acknowledge their feelings, and an overall depressing saturation, Four comes across as a serious bummer. I’m all for dark tones, but I more enjoyed (and I use that word reluctantly) the mood of the Fantastic Four film that came out a mere eight years ago. Where it took fantastic characters and put them in the real world, this film keeps them in the dark and inaccessible. Although the special effects were greatly improved upon and The Thing looks realistic, nobody cares, especially me. Too little, too late, bad timing, unnecessary and just plain bad.
HOWE: I’m not going to waste anymore of my time on this drivel. If I were you, I wouldn’t be bothered with it, but if after reading this you still want to go see it, do so because you want to see a trainwreck, then you won’t be disappointed. Instead, you could go see Antman or Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.
– Howe gives the Fantastic Four 1 toy car out of 5.
– Taylor gives it 1.5 clobberings out of 5.
– Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are film reviewers based in Vernon, B.C. Their column appears in The Morning Star every Friday and Sunday.