Despite being Marvel’s pioneering super team it’s always seemed that the Fantastic Four have struggled when it comes to screen adaptations. While Iron Man, The Avengers, Spider-Man, The X-Men and more have all had some success, no outings for Reed Richards (Miles Teller), Sue (Kate Mara) & Johnny (Michael B. Jordan) Storm and Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell) have felt entirely satisfactory.
While the early 2000s version was throwaway fun it’s sequel fell flat and the story of the unreleased version that came around the time of the straight to video Captain America is infamous.
So, we come to Josh Trank’s attempt at bringing the team to the screen in 2015.
At the time of its release it was panned from pretty much all quarters which was hard to ignore but, I thought coming to it after some time had passed might help me have a more balanced view.
Starting off in sort of flashback things doesn’t quite sit right away as we meet Reed and Ben in school where Reed is inexplicably building a teleporter in his garage.
Ok, so that I can go with, this is after all a comic book sci-fi movie, but it didn’t take long to realise that all the characters, be they the leads or the bit parts like the teachers, are all poorly sketched stereotypes with no real thought or emotion behind anything they do or say.
This gives the whole film a cheap feel, despite the fancy special effects, where nothing anyone does has any weight of any kind as they all talk in what feels like cliche or exposition.
As the film goes on its clear things aren’t going to get much better as the tone is desperately uneven, apparently unsure if it wants to be comparatively light-hearted sci-fi fun with hints of the family friendly like of Star Wars or something more akin to Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight movies, but without the style or inventiveness of either.
Once the origin story of the heroes is finally done with the long telegraphed villain plays his hand, though it makes little sense and as there’s only 10 minutes of the film left it never amounts to much despite the usual high level disaster movie effects.
Trank has done his utmost to distance himself from the final product (as I assume would anyone else who was involved) but that doesn’t change the fact that even given the varied output of the main Marvel Studios films over the years this is probably the worst of the batch, even falling below the misguided X-Men Origins: Wolverine.