I have to be honest. I was not looking forward to reviewing the latest Marvel reboot of Fantastic Four. The quartet was my least favorite Marvel hero group growing up. The series did, however, have my favorite villain, Dr. Doom. And in the spirit of full disclosure, I really disliked the 2005 film as well. It is difficult to go into a movie with such low personal expectations magnified by the unavoidable headlines of Internet critics who have been treating the 20th Century Fox production like a celluloid piñata.
The brutal truth is this movie was….not that bad. Was it this writer’s view of comic book movie perfection? Far from it. The picture has a prolonged slow burn build-up portraying the boyhood bond of uber-nerd Reed Richards (Miles Teller) and junk yard tough kid Ben Grimm (Jaime Bell) and their crazy idea to build a teleportation machine in Reed’s garage. During a pivotal high school science fair, Reed is discovered by Dr. Franklin Storm (Reg E. Cathey) and his adopted daughter Susan (Kate Mara) and recruited to perfect the teleport technology. Joined by her brother Johnny (Michael B. Jordan) and the brilliant but unstable Victor Von Doom (Toby Kebbell), Sue and Reed succeed in creating an inter-dimensional teleporter. As you can imagine, things do not go according to plan, resulting in the super human powers we all know and love while transforming the arrogant megalomaniac Von Doom into a powerful opponent.
Director Josh Trank has created an oddly paced, uneven superhero opus that is understandably being panned by film critics nation wide. While the visuals are stunning and far more realistic than the 2005 counterpart, the build up is slow and the ending is rushed. And, for heavens sake, where was our customary post credits snippet of love? Yet for all of its flaws I couldn’t help but be entertained for the 100 minute running time. Miles Teller is a charismatic young actor who has a bright future and, for all of the media attention to racial divides, Michael B. Jordan gives Johnny his swagger with ease. Kate Mara is a bit stone faced and has no real chemistry with Teller. In a universe of Marvel excellence, Fantastic Four will get lost in the shuffle but it not the train wreck it is being made out to be.
3 of 5 Stars