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‘Fantastic Four’ Review: Starring Miles Teller, Kate Mara & Michael B. Jordan

Never have I ever seen a movie where there was so much talent involved, in front of and behind the camera, all for it to be a huge let down and a total mess. Not only that, but the studio involved offers so much promise when it comes to superhero franchises and boosting both actor and directors’ careers. Which begs the question, what happened with director/writer Josh Trank’s (2012’s surprise hit Chronicle) vision of Fantastic Four and how did it turn in to this?

Fantastic Four opens with promise as we are introduced to young Reed and young Ben who become friends in grade school. The two begin to develop a teleporting machine that is able to teleport items into another dimension. Cut to years later where Reed (Miles Teller) and Ben (Jamie Bell) are in high school displaying their teleporting machine at the science fair. While his high school teacher thinks he is a joke, Dr. Franklin Storm (Reg E. Cathey) and his adopted daughter Sue (Kate Mara) think he’s developed something special.

Dr. Storm invites Reed to his school where he will work with Victor (Toby Kebbell) to fully develop the teleportation machine. Sue and her hot-headed brother Johnny (Michael B. Jordan) are also working to help build the machine, though when we meet them it seems like the two haven’t seen each other in a while. Once the machine is built and the team learns that it actually works, the kids take matters in to their own hands so they can be the first people to travel to this new dimension, which will be named Planet Zero. Reed, Ben, Johnny and Victor successfully travel and land on the planet, but not without consequences when it’s time for them to come back.

fantastic four miles teller

In a disastrous attempt to return home, Victor falls into the abyss and gets left behind, while Reed, Ben, Johnny and Sue, who was in the control room helping them return home, have all been exposed to the hazardous elements of Planet Zero. What follows after this may be the biggest mess I’ve seen in all the films I have watched this year.

For a $150 million budget, this film looks like it could have been made with Trank’s $12 million budget he had to make Chronicle, a far superior film. Planet Zero looks OK in a few scenes, but the special effects as a whole are mediocre and frankly uncool. But I don’t know what looked worse, the effects or Kate Mara’s frizzy blonde wig she was wearing in every other scene, a product of the long re-shoots; guess she cut her hair immediately after the film originally wrapped up.

Near the beginning of the film, Miles Teller looks like he’s in the moment, feeling the promise of being the heart of a superhero franchise with 20th Century Fox, but near the middle and especially at the end, he seems to be wondering how the heck he got here. Well Miles, we all felt that way at the end. With no idea what I was watching during the most anti-climatic scene ever and with a completely underdeveloped villain, there were moments of dialogue that are literally laughable and cringe worthy. As soon as Jamie Bells mutters, “It’s clobbering time,” he’s practically embarrassed to utter the line. Terrible terrible terrible.

fantastic four cast

What is most terrible about this film is the fact that Trank has to sit back and get the blame for a film that was obviously troubled from the start. His vision was clearly severely disrupted by whatever and whoever didn’t agree with him after original filming was completed. The second act was majorly tampered with and the motivation of everyone involved seemed to escape out the door.

What could have been a surprise summer hit blending the popular comic books with new ideas, like last year’s Guardians of the Galaxy, ended up being a disaster and one of the worst films of the year. Fantastic Four is a shame for the cast, the director, the studio and Marvel.

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