Sunday, August 9, 2015


With all the negative reviews and months old rumors that the production and final product is a disaster, I chose not to see FANTASTIC FOUR. But then I read an interview with the director of the movie, Josh Trank. In that interview he mentioned something that hit home with me, I'm paraphrasing, but he said go into a movie with your own judgment.

If the movie sucks, then at least YOU think the movie sucks. “If your experience of movie watching only comes through pre-determined universal consensus, you'll never have a personal relationship with movies. Ever.” I try and live by that philosophy when it comes to watching movies. I also think that's great advice for someone that wants to be a filmmaker.

After reading the interview I was curious again, but my viewing experience was going to be a Redbox rental at best. Then two of my friends went to see it and based on their opinion and our similar taste in film, I decided to watch FANTASTIC FOUR for myself. What I saw in this latest film adaptation, is a textbook example of when a movie studio/corporation puts out a movie just for the sole purpose of retaining the rights of a franchise.

FANTASTIC FOUR is not the worst film I've ever seen. But when there has been a solid comic book movie formula since say IRON MAN or MARVEL'S THE AVENGERS, how do you mess it up? How could you possibly go back to the dark ages? How was this film released? The only explanation that I can come up with is that 20th Century Fox got greedy. I'm calling this an inside job to either retain franchise rights or destroy the genre all together. It's probably neither of those things and just a classic example of corporate meddling.

I love the synopsis released by Fox. “FANTASTIC FOUR, a contemporary re-imagining of Marvel's original and longest running superhero team, centers on four young outsiders who teleport to an alternate and dangerous universe, which alters their physical form in shocking ways. Their lives irrevocably upended, the team must learn to harness their daunting new abilities and work together to save Earth from a former friend turned enemy.”

They got the re-imagining part down at least. The team learning to harness their new powers must have been left on the cutting room floor? Or maybe that was during the 'One Year Later' title card? As for their former friend turned enemy, it's more like former colleague.

As far as criticisms go I've got nothing to say that probably hasn't been said already. And I hate to dogpile, especially this late in the game. Because it does seem it's kinda the popular thing to right now to bash the movie and drink the 'haterade'. But, I do think the 9% rating on Rotten Tomatoes isn't too far from the truth.

Because FANTASTIC FOUR is worse than say, GREEN LANTERN or BATMAN AND ROBIN. There was successful world building in GREEN LANTERN. Now, if it was true to the source material is besides the point in this example. FANTASTIC FOUR has little to no world building at all. And yes, BATMAN AND ROBIN is still terrible. But at least that movie has a consistent tone. Whereas FANTASTIC FOUR is basically tone deft throughout.

The film that Josh Trank had in mind is somewhere within the 100 minute run time of FANTASTIC FOUR. And from what little there is to piece together, I want to believe that Josh was trying to make a comic book movie inspired by the early works of Joe Dante and David Cronenberg?

At least Josh Trank tried. And that's the worth while experience I got out of seeing this film. I recognize his influences and I'm interested to see him try again.

I cannot recommend FANTASTIC FOUR. So, I'm sure many of you now are wondering what should be the future of this franchise. Well, I think Marvel should re launch the comic book immediately. Remind fans on how cool Marvel's first superhero family can be!

As for another movie, I think the damage is already done. And Disney should acquire the cinematic rights back post haste. If the Marvel Cinematic Universe is still going strong in 2020, then Doctor Doom should be the next big bad for The Avengers. And have The Fantastic Four make their triumphant comeback as supporting characters only.

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