Review Roundup: Marvel Re-Imagines the FANTASTIC FOUR
Miles Teller heads the newest installment of the Marvel franchise, FANTASTIC FOUR. The film was directed by Josh Trank who co-wrote the screenplay with Simon Kinberg and Jeremy Slater. The film stars Teller as well as Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell, Toby Kebbell, and Reg E. Cathey.
FANTASTIC FOUR, a re-imagining of the classic Marvel characters we met in 2005's FANTASTIC FOUR, centers around four young outsiders who teleport to an alternate universe that alters their physical form in shocking ways. Their lives irrevocably upended, the team must learn to harness their daunting new abilities and work together to save Earth from a former friend turned enemy.
Let's see what the critics had to say!
A. O. Scott, New York Times: "Fantastic Four," despite the dogged efforts of its talented young cast, has nothing. The special effects are at about the level of the early "Harry Potter" movies - lots of glowing green clouds and ice-blue bolts and force fields. The human drama is meager. Once again, the only real pathos belongs to Mr. Bell's Ben, who finds himself trapped in a stony new body and weaponized by a ruthless government. Mr. Teller stretches, not as an actor but as a digitally enhanced body. Mr. Jordan burns in the same way, and Ms. Mara disappears. Her character also has the power to make other things vanish. I would say she should have exercised it on this movie, but in a week or two that should take care of itself.
Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: Except nothing about this misbegotten, cynical attempt at franchise-rebuilding is fantastic. That includes the crude, cheap-looking, unspecial effects that turn Reed into the stretchy Mr. Fantastic, Johnny into the Human Torch, Sue into the Invisible Woman and Ben into a pile of rocks called The Thing. Fantastic Four is a pile of something, too. You fill in the blank.
Brian Lowry, Variety: Joining Spider-Man in the annals of dizzyingly rapid reboots, Fox's second stab at "Fantastic Four" comes just eight years after the first try and its sequel, which didn't set the bar inordinately high. Yet if this latest version, with a significantly younger cast (one's tempted to call it "Fantastic Four High"), clears that threshold, it's just barely, drawing from a different source to reimagine the quartet's origins without conspicuously improving them. All told, the movie feels like a protracted teaser for a more exciting follow-up that, depending on whether audiences warm to this relatively low-key approach, might never happen.
Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post: Twentieth Century Fox has had two opportunities to get Marvel's "Fantastic Four" right (three, if you count the studio's "Rise of the Silver Surfer" sequel to its 2005 attempt to get a franchise going as a separate failure, rather than as salt in the original wound). With a shiny new reboot that renders the comic book superheroes' origin story as a tale of barely post-pubescent nerds who have acquired frightening powers that, like cystic acne, they are at a loss to handle, the studio seems to be making a bid for an audience too young to remember anything about the earlier flop. In other words, for some viewers, "Fantastic Four" will be the first experience of heartbreak. For me, it is merely one more in a chain of disappointments.
Lou Lumenick, New York Post: A lousy script, unfocused direction, incoherent editing, shockingly terrible special effects - and, probably, panicked studio executives - have left its four talented stars muddling through a dull superhero origin story with zero payoff.
Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News: The whole movie feels like a tale being made up on the spot by a hypercaffeinated 6-year-old. Nothing makes sense, huge swaths of plot take forever to tell and characters are not true to their natures.
Henry Barnes, The Guardian: The cast are some of the most promising actors of their generation, but what chemistry there is between them is swept away by wave after wave of expository dialogue and ludicrous exclamation ("His biochemistry is off the charts!"). There are many references to the purity of creative endeavour being corrupted by corporate involvement. After the fifth or sixth mention, it's hard to not to read this as something of a dig at the studio.
Clark Collis, Entertainment Weekly: To quote one character-and it is perhaps instructive that, less than 24 hours after seeing the film, your writer is not sure which-the talent involved has "the potential and the IQ to do so much more."
Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter: Fantastic Four feels like a 100-minute trailer for a movie that never happens. At this point in the ever-expanding cinematic superhero game, it behooves any filmmakers who gets involved to have at least a mildly fresh take on their characters and material, but this third attempt to create a worthy cinematic franchise from the first of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's iconic comic book creations, which can genuinely claim to have launched the Age of Marvel, proves maddeningly lame and unimaginative. Die-hard fans will undoubtedly show up, but box-office results for this Fox release will fall far short of what Marvel achieves with its own in-house productions.
Ben Kendrick, Screen Rant: Select viewers may be able to look past all of the film's shortcomings, relishing in the reboot's (squandered) potential, but this 2015 reboot does not differentiate itself in any meaningful way from the current swell of superhero movie offerings - and, in its ambition to be different, fails to provide even basic (read: forgivable) popcorn entertainment.
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