A team of scientists gets super powers and must save the world from one of their fellow scientists who has turned evil form the powers he developed. The “Fantastic Four” has been one of Marvel’s most popular comic book series since its debut, but it’s been a controversial film subject, and the 2015 effort by 20th Century Fox, now 20th Century Studios, is no different.
This movie was an absolute bomb at the box office and was nominated for several Golden Raspberry Awards. I had never seen before it hit Disney+, but I wanted to know if it was as bad as I heard; was it actually decent, but failed at the box office; or was it one of those “so bad, it’s good” films. The answer is none of those things. I didn’t think it was nearly as bad as its reputation suggests, but it’s also not good.
I like the CGI in the film. What they were able to do to bring about Mr. Fantastic, the Invisible Woman, the Human Torch, the Thing and Doom is nothing short of amazing. But that’s where the things I truly like about the film stop. It’s a paint by the numbers origin story. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before and nothing we won’t see again. There’s nothing truly bad about it. It lacks originality, but, at least, tells the story in a mostly coherent way.
You can tell the studio planned for there to be more of these movies because it’s clearly set up where a sequel can easily be made. While it’s clear the filmmakers got ahead of themselves, it’s easy to understand why. The success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe makes other studios producing superhero movies want to see the same success. But the Fox projects, much like the DC projects, almost always came up short. They were able to make some good movies, but couldn’t keep the project going consistently.
If there’s one thing I don’t buy about this movie, it’s the acting. Miles Teller as the nerdy Reed Richards just doesn’t work. Teller is very good at playing the tough guy role, but as the intelligent scientist, it just doesn’t work. Kate Mara was excellent on “House of Cards,” but as Sue Storm, she just comes across wooden. There’s no chemistry between Teller and Mara and it shows in the scenes where they are supposed to be flirting. Jamie Bell is also kind of lost as Ben Grimm. He’s there, but I just can’t get behind him when he’s in human form or when he’s performing as the Thing.
That doesn’t mean there weren’t some good performances. Michael B. Jordan is really great as Johnny Storm/the Human Torch. He is the brightest spot of this film. Plus, Toby Kebbell’s unique take on Victor von Doom works really well. He’s far believable as a villain than the rest of the cast are heroes, Jordan’s performance not withstanding.
All in all, this film is better than its reputation, but it’s still not great. I’m glad I took the time to watch it, but I won’t be watching it again. And, it’s not worth a sequel. If you want to watch a good “Fantastic Four” movie, watch “The Incredibles.”