Movie ReviewsMovies

Fantastic Four

20th Century Fox has had less success rebooting Fantastic Four, a Marvel property with tremendous potential that is proving quite difficult to bring to the big screen, than they did with Tim Story’s 2005 and 2007 movies. Story’s Fantastic Four adhered more closely to the comic-book aesthetic in some ways (Michael Chiklis is The Thing) but played far too light and cartoonish. Chronicle director Josh Trank’s dark and unattractive version feels like the start of a CW show that starts off promising enough when young Reed Richards (mostly Miles Teller) meets young Ben Grimm (mostly Jamie Bell), forging the lifelong bond that gets needlessly shredded in the second act. 

Enter Dr. Franklin Storm (Reg E. Cathey) of the Baxter Institute, whose two kids, Johnny (Michael B. Jordan) and Sue (Kate Mara), round out the quartet. And don’t forget Victor von Doom (Toby Kebbell, who is kind of an improvement over Julian McMahon), who becomes baddie Doctor Doom after these teenage scientists take a failed trip to another dimension. 

Chronicle’s dark superhero DNA comes through in the body-horror discovery of the FF’s powers. Then the movie takes too many cues from Man of Steel, with its realistic story of the military seeking to weaponize these fledgling heroes, while simultaneously falling into the same origin web that’s trapped too many Spider-Men. Origin stories are meant to set up a movie, not a sequel. By the time Fantastic Four ends, the pieces are in place for a fun-tastic good time saving the world from who knows what supervillainy. Too bad the 100-plus million dollar movie they delivered is not entertaining enough to justify that sequel.