Did anyone else get the impression that director Josh Trank was being frustratingly dodgy about his supposed ‘honest review’ of his Fantastic Four movie? Sure it was only his second movie, sure he was younger, a whole four years man, that’s heavy, but quite honestly it doesn’t seem as though he really owned up to the flop as much as he tried to explain it away with a bunch of garbled noise. Mike Sprague from MovieWeb was no doubt being kind when taking down a quote and translating it for the reader, but there are a good number of fans that would say far worse, and have, regarding this movie. Personally I thought there were good moments and then there were moments when WTF was the most appropriate answer, and most of those included the character that would become Doctor Doom. The elements of this story that were brought together in a kind of mashup of what the original had been like were handled in a way that almost feels like a child pulling Lego’s from a random box and trying to assemble something that makes sense to them but is more or less a hot mess to everyone else. I don’t normally agree with Rotten Tomatoes and I don’t fully agree this time, but this movie was pretty foul in some areas.
Where to start? Well, the fact that Reed and Victor were rivals is pretty accurate, and Johnny being a hotshot was pretty good. Even Jamie Bell can be said to be okay since he and Reed were best buddies from way back. Susan Storm is perhaps the most constant character on the team really since between Jessica Alba and Kata Mara all you really need is a blonde white woman that can act intelligent and you’ve got it nailed. Some folks had a problem with making Johnny a black man, but thankfully Michael B. Jordan is a good actor and can pull off the cocky braggadocio without much effort. Jamie Bell was a little harder to accept as the tough guy than Michael Chiklis, but Miles Teller was on par with Iaon Gruffud at least in appearance and the ability to seem like an absolutely clueless genius. Toby Kebbell is a good actor but as Doctor Doom he fell a little flat, and it didn’t help that Doom was given the kind of power that he didn’t really have in the comics. If anything, Trank needed to stick to the source material a little more since there’s still miles upon miles of room for interpretation and even going old school would have been better than taking it so far past the boundaries that he had to piece it together in this manner.
But it’s easy to give credit for a couple of things. One, the Thing in this movie looked a lot better than it did when Chiklis was the star, and the Human Torch is kind of hard to mess up. Sue’s power is, as always, a CGI marvel that is fun to watch, and yet in this movie Reed took on an ability that a lot of people didn’t get the chance to see in the first two movies since changing his appearance didn’t seem to be necessary. The reason for this of course is that the Fantastic Four, who had yet to be named in the movie, were treated as lab rats and Reed was chicken enough to bail on his friends and make a run for it. You can get into his reasoning all you want, especially since he blamed himself for their mishap and was trying to find a cure, but freeing his friends, or at least trying, might have been a good idea since a while after this led to a great deal of resentment as the other three were sent to retrieve Reed and as you can imagine, they were feeling anything but friendly towards him. While the FF have had their spats in the past they were usually seen as a team and tended to pull together more than this movie indicated when Reed bailed. And then of course we get to Victor von Doom.
Doom and Reed’s rivalry is always nice to see since it’s one of the driving factors between the enmity that exists between them. But Victor’s ill-fated trip to the other dimension that grants the FF, and Doom, their powers, is not quite what fans wanted to see when it came to Doom becoming who he was in the comics. If anyone can remember, Doctor Doom is a ruler in his own right and a true despot that is also a magician that’s almost on par with Doctor Strange, and a man that has contingencies laid upon contingencies in case anything untoward happens during one of his many plots. This is a guy that has actually taken on entire teams and walked away, and yet in this movie he was a glorified telekinetic that was just plain awful. So really, when it comes to Trank ‘getting honest’ about his movie, it would seem that he’s more interested in covering his butt when it comes to this mistake than he is about explaining why he deviated from the source material so much.
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