Saturday, August 15, 2015
FANTASTIC 4 (2015) is actually good!
FANT4STIC(?) tells the origin story of the Fantastic 4. That is a good idea to start off a franchise......if it was the year 1999! When it comes to comic book movies we no longer need to spend an entire movie telling a story we already know the ending to. We have had two Spider-Man origin movies as well as a Ghostrider origin, a Green Lantern origin, Wolverine had one, Superman and Batman both had one Punisher too. Enough already. Nowadays it is extremely painful to sit through a trailer for an origin story let alone an entire movie. That is the first big problem with this movie. Oh, yea I said I liked this movie. Maybe I should start with the positives.
The story is a good telling of our hero's origins. This is more of a science fiction film rather than a straight up super hero film. That's a good start. From what I have been told (I am no expert on the Fantastic 4.) our heroes are more like explorers of science rather than traditional super heroes like Spider-man and Captain America. All the actors are great in this movie. If anyone complains about the acting ask them to compare them to Sandra Bernard in HUDSON HAWK. That is an example of bad acting. As a bad actor myself I can tell you with absolute authority that the acting in the new FF is good. Kate Mara, Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Bell and Reg E. Cathey are terrific portraying a make shift family that formed from the tragic event that gave them their powers. These people are a genuine family. That is very important and ultimately what FF is all about. This is probably why I like this movie so much. I sympathized with them. When they suffer from their trip to the alternate universe or whatever that place is, I care what happens to them. I want to know how they are going to deal with their physical changes and how their personalities have changed because of it. Don't let the negative people who probably never even saw the film as evident from the box office results say that the acting sucks. It doesn't.
When he finally appears, Dr. Doom is quite a scary presence in the film. Ignore the internet memes. Toby Kebbell is not given much to do with the mishandled back story to the Fantastic 4's most iconic villain. But as a testament to his acting ability he has made Victor Von Doom, a flawed jealous driven individual, likable. He has a too brief scene drinking at the lab with Miles Reed Richards and Johnny Storm. The three are building a short lived camaraderie that works. This scene emphasizes the tragedy of losing Von Doom in the chaos of the alternate dimension planet thing. They lose a real friend. When he returns as Dr. Doom he lives up to his name. Walking through corridors of the army complex killing soldiers left and right with "Force" powers is truly frightful. He is a monster that wants to return to the alternate world to build life his way. I kind of like that even though I would have preferred a more accurate to the comics story of Dr. Doom. I think the end fight was really good too even though it is extremely predictable. Apparently the Fantastic 4 was too busy doing science stuff to watch the original TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES movie. If they had they would know not to attack Dr. Doom individually but together as a team. Watch more t.v., kids.
Like all comic book movies there are some changes. Reed Richards is young, Johnny Storm is black. So what! None of this detracts from the movie. Even Dr. Doom's origin isn't terrible. Its just different. There is a lot of negative to write about with this movie but it is not a terrible movie. Its way better than THE DARK KNIGHT RISES and THE WOLVERINE. Those two movies have more problems than the new FF movie but receive all kinds of praise. THE DARK KNIGHT RISES shows that Joker defeated Batman in the previous film since Wayne stops being the Caped Crusader. I don't think the creators of TDKR meant to imply that. Wolverine in THE WOLVERINE pretty much just beats up some old guy in a supped up wheelchair after having his own butt handed to him by a bunch of ninjas. FF didn't bomb because its a bad movie. There is more to it than that. Give this movie a watch. See for yourself. If you had lower than low expectations like I did going in you may just be surprised. I plan on writing a part 2 to this review dealing with the problems of this film and the circumstances that I believe led to the box office failure and poor review scores but that is for another time.