Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Fantastic Four

I went to watch this movie despite the torrent of horrible reviews given by almost everyone. I only know one person out of thousands who stated it was okay. I understood that much of the source material was going to come from the Ultimate Fantastic Four series, and being a fan of the Ultimate universe, I wanted to give it a shot.

One thing I enjoyed about the Ultimate Fantastic Four is that it made the entire team relevant. In Earth 616 Fantastic Four, Reed Richards is the brain and Ben Grimm is comic relief. In Ultimate Fantastic Four, Richards, Susan and Johnny Storm are all geniuses. All of them are significant when it comes to putting things together. I felt that Earth 616 Fantastic Four, at that time, was stale so the Ultimate story line did it for me (Jonathan Hickman's run was probably the best Fantastic Four written since John Byrne's 80's run).

This reboot of the Fantastic Four did the same thing. Susan Storm wasn't the damsel in distress who had no clue about what Richards talked about. In this version, Susan Storm and Richards have much in common. To be honest, the best part about this movie is the dialogue. I think that part of the problem is that people expected a huge battle just like in the Avengers. While this movie wasn't great and you could wait for it to show up on DVD, it didn't entirely suck.

First, we have to admit that Avengers is a game changing movie. It set a huge standard for super hero movies. If its not an epic battle, audiences will fall asleep. We also have to remember that Avengers had a nice build up with the movies of the individual members of the team. So dialogue didn't have to drive the movie. Second, this is the Fantastic Four. They are considered the first super hero family (after Captain Marvel and his Marvel crew). So what made the comic book so good for so long is that dynamic. This is something difficult to convey in a superhero movie.

I still think the dialogue between the members was well written. We got to learn about everyone and why they were scientists. Ben Grimm could have used more writing but I see how they wanted to treat him like the outcast of the group. This was a RetCon move by John Byrne in the late eighties where the other three members saw Grimm as something no one wanted around. We also see the guilt Richards has for getting him into the mess that created The Thing.

I did enjoy the fact that they moved the story a year later and allowed everyone to learn how to use their powers. I know these is a minute detail but it's crucial. They should not be able to fully utilize their powers as soon as they woke up. I think the way they got their powers also made sense. I especially loved how they developed Susan Storm's powers.

Franklin Storm was another thing I enjoyed. Here is a person who sees that children are key to our future. He created a crew of young people who would make scientific breakthroughs that would change the world. He saw them as children that he had to take care of and he adopted a few of them. He even called Richards and Doom “sons.” Reg Cathey did a good job as Papa Storm.

My biggest gripe was how they created Dr. Doom. I enjoyed the tension between him and Richards but his motivation to become evil was lackluster. It didn't sell me. Dr. Doom is my favorite villain because of his arrogance and this guy was far from it. I mean Dr. Doom throwing up a middle finger? Who wrote this? He was pretty much the Beyonder with his power set.

Overall, the movie felt like a rough draft. After the battle with Dr. Doom, I thought there were more scenes but it seemed to be over very fast. There was one huge plot hole that really frustrated me. Parts of the movie worked and parts of it didn't seem right. Again the movie wasn't great but not something you have to watch. 

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