I’m a realist optimist, especially for the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Sure, they’ve had a few bumps (ahem, Iron Man 2 and Thor: The Dark World) down the road since their start back in 2008, but they were quick to jump back on their feet. Box office successes and Academy Award nominations were soon associated with every film MCU put out for their audiences. They were all well-deserved praise because of how stellar, reachable, and certainly enjoyable the movies were. Before, superhero films lacked the humanity our heroes had, the wittiness and cleverness of the villains, the convincing effects, and the brilliant script that had moviegoers quoting for weeks! Every Marvel film since Jon Favreau’s 2008 hit Iron Man has since dealt with the audience sympathizing and relating to our flawed heroes and thus, built a connection that strengthens throughout the film. So, honestly I thought I was in a time where we were beyond Ghost Rider (Johnson, 2007), moved past Daredevil (Johnson, 2003) and would no longer see a truly horrific superhero film. Then, Fan4stic (Trank, 2015) happened.
I was warned by many not to support this film. Friends who hadn’t even seen the film but judged it entirely by its trailer tried to convince me to save my $15 to see Ant-Man (Reed, 2015) again. I should’ve listened. Something told me already that this film was not going to be perfect and I was ready to expect some flaws, but nothing prepared me for that. I sat through cringe worthy dialogue (“There is no Victor. There is DOOM.”), and laughable CGI effects for a one hour and forty-six minute film that didn’t even have a plot. The entire film is exposition. They’re building up for potential sequels and crossovers that the film is actually forgetting about setting the story and characters.
On the note of characters, there is absolutely no chemistry with our ‘heroes’. The entire characterization is all say and not do. The siblings Sue and Johnny Storm rarely interact and if you weren’t caught up in comic book lore, you wouldn’t have guessed they were siblings due to the distance between each other and lack of dialogue. “He’s my brother, I love and care about him!” Then show it. Also, Sue Storm is the future wife of Reed Richards (the leader of the Fantastic Four), and in this universe the film portrays, the Fantastic Four are all young teenagers. So this is a perfect setting to introduce these future young lovers together and build a chemistry, relationship and bond between them. It would’ve been perfect in the transition from human to superhuman, when the heroes must rely on each other the most, for Sue and Reed to really bond. They’re frightened of what they’ve become and Sue, always the logical one, cannot explain what has happened to her. She needs support, someone to lean on and this is when Reed comes into the picture and they open up to each other because she is the only one he can trust. Did that happen? Nope! All of the scenes between Reed and Sue are very similar to that of Mary Jane and Peter Parker in Spiderman (Raimi, 2002). Awkward, awkward, awkward! Honestly, there was more chemistry and possibly a hinted bromance between Ben Grimm and Reed. There was undeniable a love between them (brotherly or more, however you take it) because they only had each other to rely on for so many years that when they’re separated, it pains them both. Was it intentional? I don’t even know, but it’s safe to say the film failed actually making Reed’s and Sue’s ‘love’ believable.
Johnny Storm was the only one who kept me sane in the film. You could see that Michael B. Jordan was really having fun with his character – and that leads me to another point! Fun! That was nonexistent in the film. Fant4stic (Trank, 2015) tries so hard to be such a serious, dark and gritty film and copycat The Dark Knight (Nolan, 2008) that the whole film falls flat and is a bore. Not once did I laugh in this film. Marvel’s previous film Ant-Man (Reed, 2015) had me in stitches but in Fant4stic (Trank, 2015), I don’t even think my lips curled into a smile. The saddest part of all of this is that throughout the film, I still clung onto that miniscule of hope that maybe, just maybe, the climax could redeem the film. The climax would be grand and electrifying equipped with a killer soundtrack that I’ll buy on iTunes later that day. Well, the climax was pitiful. The editing didn’t even help, it was all choppy and rushed that I didn’t even bother to watch. I checked my phone throughout that scene to check my notifications on Instagram. At the point, I gave up.
Usually, I don’t get so worked up about bad movies. I’ll tell my friends my honest critique, perhaps rant on social media, but give me a day or two and I’ll forget about the film. But Fant4stic (Trank, 2015) was different. The only reason why this film inflicts such a strong reaction towards me is not because it was that bad, but the fact that I was disappointed. I always saw MCU as an escape and I loved to imagine myself in that universe where we had sorcery and science, kick ass secret agents, genuine, relatable teenage heroes who could swing from webs, and Chris Evans in a tight uniform. Fant4stic didn’t take me out of the harshness of reality; in fact, it reminded me how this film was a cash grab. For those who don’t know, Fox owns the rights to Fantastic Four and whenever Marvel tries to claim the rights back, Fox scrambles up a weak, rushed film for the sake of keeping the rights. There was no creative process. There was no story. There was no effort. That’s why I hate this movie so much. It reminds me of how corrupt the film world could be. Creativity comes with a price now. You no longer have control of your creation. It’s in the company’s hands now to alter and mold to their liking, not yours. They’re only thinking about the cash, not the story, and definitely not the morals within the plot. It makes you question: Why bother to create a film when there’s a chance it’s going to be ripped out of your hands?