Despite being a dime a dozen these days, superhero films are big money for studios. With the big names like the Avengers and X-Men dominating the box office, it seems every studio wants to get in on the action. Such is the case with 20th Century Fox, who owns the film rights to Marvel’s first supergroup, the Fantastic Four. Unfortunately, this attempt at a reboot is far from fantastic.
Fantastic Four starts off with a look at Reed Richards (Miles Teller), who is a genius youngster building a teleporter in his parent’s garage. With the help of his classmate Ben (Jamie Bell), they work on improving the model over the course of a few years and finally debut it at the high school science fair. The judges scoff at his design calling it a magic trick, but the device catches the eye of Dr. Storm, who offers him a scholarship to the Baxter Foundation where Reed would have the resources to build his inter-dimensional transporter on a real scale.
Once at the lab, he’s joined with fellow brainiacs, Sue (Kate Mara), who specializes in pattern detection; her brother, Johnny (Michael B. Jordan), who can build anything; and Victor (Toby Kebbell), a dark and brooding figure whose previous attempts to build a transporter were unsuccessful. Unfortunately, the offer to join the team isn’t extended to Ben, but when the teleporter is finally completed, a drunk Reed, Johnny and Victor extend an invitation to Ben to join them in the first human mission to the unexplored new dimension. But things go awry when the planet starts to crumble and they race back to the teleporter, losing Victor in the process.
They make it back to earth in the nick of time, but the resulting blast of the planet’s strange energy causes all of them, even Sue who stayed behind to help with mission control, to develop new superpowers. Sue ends up with the ability to create force fields and turn invisible, Reed becomes elastic, Johnny has fire powers, and Ben gets the shaft and becomes a giant rock monster.
The first half of the Fantastic Four is actually pretty good. It’s your classic superhero origins story, but it really takes it’s time to get there. Each of the actors do a great job establishing their characters’ personalities and quirks. However, the film really falls apart once they step foot in the new dimension. The lack of real villain until really the final 15 minutes doesn’t help either. At that point, the final batter and ending is so rushed, it’s terribly anti-climatic.
At times, the dorky dialogue and lackluster special effects made me feel that this was supposed to be a made-for-TV-movie aimed at teens. The second half took such a cheesy turn that I felt that the dimension the gang had transported to was the set of a Disney Channel Original Movie. It’s head-shakingly bad.
Fantastic Four started off with some potential, but runs out of steam and falls flat, which is a real shame because a lot of people had high hopes for this film. Looks like we’re going to have to wait a few years until another brave soul attempts yet another Fantastic Four reboot, because this one doesn’t cut it.