Fantastic 4

So I saw the Fantastic 4 reboot on Tuesday and it was… not good. It had potential, but they scuppered it and it finished unsatisfyingly.

A brief breakdown of the film (contains spoilers):

  • The Set-up: Reed Richards is established as a child genius working with his best friend Ben Grimm to build a teleporter out of scrap junk and N64s. They present the upgraded version at a school fair, where they meet Franklin Storm who invites Reed to join the Baxter Foundation where he meets Sue Storm, Victor Von Doom, and Jonny Storm.
  • Reed, Victor, Jonny, and Sue work together to build the real prototype dimensional shuttle. When they finish it, they do a test with a living subject (chimpanzee), and the Foundation board decides to get NASA involved from here on out.
  • Victor, Reed, and Jonny get drunk and decide to go across on their own and be the first dimensional travellers. They pull Ben in as well and the four of them cross over to the other dimension. Things go wrong, they get blasted with alien energy, Victor gets left behind, and Sue has to manually initiate the return from Earth. The shockwave of the return destroys the equipment and transfers energy to Sue.
  • The military takes over, taking everyone into custody for study. Over time they develop suits that allow Sue and Jonny to control their powers. Reed escapes the facility and works on his own to try and find a cure for their afflictions.
  • The military captures Reed, brings him in to finish their new quantum gate, and send a team to the other dimension where they find Victor – still alive.
  • They bring Victor back where he promptly kills everyone he meets and goes back to the other dimension, opening a large gate that starts sucking everything through – with the aim of destroying Earth.
  • Reed, Sue, Jonny, and Ben go through the gate, avoiding the matter-to-energy conversion field and start fighting Victor. They get their asses handed to them.
  • Reed noticed they can’t beat him on their own and suggests they work together. Instant change in results, and they send Victor into the energy stream and destroy the gate, presumably killing him before returning to Earth.
  • Having saved the world, they then blackmail the military into giving them a private facility in the mountains.

So. It built up pretty well, and had me asking good questions – it had me interested in the film – pretty much right up until after the “one year later” part. After that, things went downhill. Sue found Reed effortlessly, Ben took Reed down effortlessly, Reed fixed the quantum gate project effortlessly, the Four took down Doom effortlessly once they started working together, the Four effortlessly got the military to cave to their demands. It just lost all sense of dramatic tension.

I mean, sure, the good guys are always going to win, but they don’t have to win so easily. It wasn’t good storytelling, and it was a poor show all round. No one left that cinema excited, no one was eager to see if there were post-credits scenes (there weren’t any – just a message about how the film secured 15,000 jobs and took over 100,000 hours to make), and there were cries of dismay as people started shuffling out.

My recommendation? Don’t spend any money on it, and don’t feel any need to see it.