There was simply so much negative press surrounding this movie before release it would’ve been a push for anyone to see it fresh. As it was, I was cautiously optimistic before going into the theatre. I mean, after all, it was a new body horror style premise and, the movie had what I knew to be good actors and a director whose previous film I had enjoyed. But my goodness was it bad! I will say up front that if the purpose of reading this review is to decided whether or not to watch this movie, I wholeheartedly advise you to see something else.
Fant4stic tells the story of four teenagers who gain superpowers after a science experiment to another dimension goes awry. Eventually deciding to use their abilities for the greater good, they must unite and defeat a more powerful enemy. The film draws heavily from the Ultimate version of the Fantastic Four where they were indeed younger and whose story dispensed with the ‘solar waves in space’ side of the mythos. Unfortunately, the movie hits a long way from the mark and at no point captures anything resembling Marvel’s first family. It’s fair to say that I have never been a die hard fan of the Fantastic Four, but that’s not really what I’m interested in because this movie is a bad production no matter whether you love the Fantastic Four, like comic book hero movies or have never read a comic in your life.
With the high quality of modern superhero movies, it seems a strange throw back when you watch Fant4stic. The script offers no character development of any kind and adds to the pacing problems throughout. It’s most apparent with the four leads who struggle through cliché dialogue and ridiculous sci-fi mumbo jumbo. This in turn reflects negatively with the characters themselves. The traditionally cocky but lovable Johnny Storm comes off as obnoxious and his sister Sue Storm seems a predictable and dull love interest with the gimmick of intelligence. The villainous Von Doom felt as if he had been given a list of the most ridiculous evil lines and had been told to say as many of them as he could until the director shouted “cut!”. Personal worst line of the movie had to be from Victor as he attempts to kill Sue: “I saw a different future for us!”. One step away from “If I can’t have you no one can!” really.
Chemistry and Acting
There’s so much not to be said for the acting in this film. Fant4stic starts us off with child versions of Reed Richards and Ben Grimm and, whilst it’s a little harsh to do down the acting of children, it does make you long for the comparatively Oscar-worthy acting of the kids from movies like The Last Airbender.
Moving swiftly forward then to the adults it doesn’t really get any better. It’s a real shame that with Whiplash‘s Miles Teller and House of Cards star Kate Mara, the most they could manage as far as romance was on par with couples in music videos. It’s a thin line between poor script and poor performance but good actors can usually bring something to the role. In this movie definitely not. Jamie Bell was ironically the only one who gave a passable performance, the sad part being that post-transformation he was covered with CGI and had his voice modulated.
Pacing and script were the things that really broke this movie. The first and second acts drag on slowly, punctuated by speed montages of the team doing more interesting things. This results in the third and final act of the film sneaking up on you from nowhere and feeling wildly out of place. The stakes also never really climb as (without giving too much away) the disasters and destruction occur a long way away from anything that feels important. Due to poor editing there is no build up to the finale and the ending just drops in out of nowhere. A laughably bad final act then, that made those from the previous two movies look brilliant by comparison.
There were glimmers of a better movie beneath and perhaps with more care something could have been made of the initial premise. As it is the CGI is variable with some of the effects being pulled off convincingly whilst others looking like something out of a Scooby-Doo movie.
The bottom line is this film is terrible and will serve as a more recent reminder of how awful comic book hero movies can be. This film suffers from poor scripting, terrible editing and mediocre performances, a considerable feat when you consider the actors and the source material in question. There was no chemistry between the four leads (be it a brother-sister relationship or a love interest) and it just came across as either forced or downright awkward. The final act caused audible laughs but at the end of the day this film is not even the type you watch retrospectively as a comedy. The previous attempts at a Fantastic Four movie had a campy sort of humour, however this film doesn’t even dream of such cinematic greatness. Seriously guys, give this one a miss.
Did you go to see Fant4stic? What potential did you see in the movie (If any)? Let’s just try and move on from this train-wreck film and, if you want to read more reviews and the latest news stick right here on TiCGN!