'Fantastic Four' Wasn't as Bad as People Say, But Let's Hope Marvel Regains What's Rightfully Theirs
by Preston Tolliver
Perhaps it was the two months of bad reviews and the 9 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes that set the bar so low for the reboot film of Marvel's hallmark quartet, but watching the movie resulted in a startling thought: Fox’s “Fantastic Four” reboot wasn't bad.
Don't get me wrong – “Fantastic Four” was by no means a good movie, either. To say it was would be a bigger stretch than, well, anything Reed Richards did during the 106-minute duration of the movie. But, for a Fox-helmed Marvel movie, it wasn't bad.
And it wasn't bad "for a Fox-helmed Marvel movie," because, unlike their competitors on the other side of the Marvel Comic Universe, Fox doesn't exactly have a reputation for making solid super hero films. The ‘X-Men’ franchise is stagnant, and the upcoming “Deadpool” film comes off more as a plea for fans to stick around a little longer than it does a legitimate effort at creating a movie based on one of Marvel's most popular characters. Marvel Studios, however, has never had to pander -- they had their hook, line and sinker with first Iron Man movie.
Before we continue, let's get all the bad stuff out of the way -- where other origin movies have become known for their character development, “Fantastic Four” didn't offer much time with its characters for the viewer to gain any sort of attachments to them. We had more Reed Richards than anything, but even Miles Teller, the phenomenal actor that he is, seemed bored with the script at times, appearing to be less fantastic and more just a guy waiting on a paycheck (this, of course, was likely due to his falling out with “Fantastic Four” director Josh Trank). Further, while the movie seemed to drag too much in some areas, others areas that could have used much more face time were rushed. Essentially, the movie was 95 minutes of plot developments, and 5 minutes of action. And in a super hero movie, action should never ride shotgun, no matter how captivating the story could be (looking at you, “Watchmen”). Additionally, the story, while taken from a different angle, felt much like a recycled version of Fox's 2005 attempt, right down to the weird change-up to Victor Von Doom, an action among comic book movies that has become more sin than creative liberty. After all, what makes comic book movies a headache for movie studios isn't so much that the target audience goes into the movie knowing what's supposed to happen, but rather what's not.
That said, the performances, minus the parts where the cast seemed as bored with the writing as the audience probably was, were promising. Teller is an excellent young Richards, and Kate Mara plays a pretty good Sue Storm. Michael B. Jordan was an interesting take on Johnny Storm, and certainly is no slouch in the acting department, and all Jamie Bell had to do to nail down the part of Ben Grimm was appear likable, which he did pretty solidly. The story, for all its drab, is entertaining -- it just lacked balance. Had it followed the trend of other Marvel films and pushed the two/two-and-a-half hour mark, perhaps it would have filled in those holes.
Yesterday, Yahoo! posted that a deal seems to have been struck between Fox and Marvel Studios, sending the rights to Marvel's most famous family back home (however, the rumors were quickly denied). While the rumors are still swirling about and there's been no clear definition of what the future holds for Richards, Grimm and the Storm siblings, the shift would be a victory for everyone -- Marvel, for getting its trademark team back; Fox, because they know no one will shell out money to see whatever sequel they were planning; and the fans, because it's time we did have a good “Fantastic Four” movie -- it would spell doom for a cast that showed more promise than any of the Fox superhero movies that preceded it. However, should the “Fantastic Four” fall back into their creator's hands, the possibilities could be endless for Marvel's signature super-team.