Fantastic Four [2015] is ironically the fourth attempt to bring the Marvel superhero family to life on the big screen. This time, taking more inspiration from the Ultimate comics rather than the Earth-616 storyline, young genius Reed Richards (Miles Teller) creates a teleportation device as a child. He is recruited to the Baxter Foundation, a vaguely defined government research center, by Dr. Franklin Storm (Reg E. Cathey). Reed, along with his pal Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell), Dr. Storm’s children Sue (Kate Mara) and Johnny (Michael B. Jordan), and reclusive tech guru Victor Von Doom (Toby Kebbell) use the device to travel to a new dimension and get weird new abilities as a result. Thus is the thrust of a confusing, messy, and butchered superhero misfire.

A massacre of superheroic proportions. Both as a film and an adaptation of beloved characters, this new Fantastic Four is a disaster. Normally it isn’t prudent or wise to discuss behind the scenes issues as pertaining to a film’s quality, but it is nearly impossible to ignore here. The film is an obvious victim of massive reshoots and edits, likely as the result of the tumultuous production and rumors of director Josh Trank flipping his lid. The film feels like a Frankenstein-monster amalgamation of Trank’s original vision with the studio trying to save face. The second half of the movie is unrecognizable from the first and it completely falls apart.

Seeds of great ideas. The first half of the movie shows some legitimate promise. The more realistic sci-fi angle works and the character relationships start to form. The emphasis is on scientific discovery rather than superhero action and that is a nice change of pace. However, characters disappear for huge portions of the film and aren’t even thought of until the story requires them to get powers or help someone else out. There is a very brief section of body horror after the team gets their powers that is absolutely fascinating, but it lasts all of three minutes before it is dropped. After that, things go to hell in a handbasket.

A third act catastrophe. Even if the last half wasn’t tacked on in reshoots (as made painfully obvious by Kate Mara now wearing a wig), it would be legendarily awful. Character relationships go out the window and it’s super obvious that large chunks of the film are missing, probably on the cutting room floor. There is an inexplicable time jump that is baffling more than anything. The villain, Dr. Doom, shows up out of nowhere in the last 10 minutes and starts wrecking shop for reasons that aren’t explained. He has little to no motivation for his supervillainy and he looks like the sweded version of Dr. Doom as if he were in Be Kind, Rewind. The final battle, really the only action setpiece in the film, is just pathetic. It’s short, in a god-awful CG environment, and there is practically zero team element to the fight. It is easily the most disappointing superhero action in recent memory. And then there is the tacked-on, cutesy ending that may be the worst thing in the film. The specifics aren’t important but it completely disregards the films dreary tone and tries to get in some (literally) last second character stuff. It is a hilariously bad way to end a bad film.

Great talent and potential can’t save the day for this Green Lantern-level disaster. 
Fantastic Four
1.5Overall Score
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