Talented Cast and Director Produce Lackluster Film

It seems as if Marvel released “Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer” last year. But this time around, producers brought a totally new cast, crew, writers and somewhat-fresh story elements—just enough to fuel the Hollywood profit machine.
Despite having all the typical ingredients for a summer blockbuster, “Fantastic Four” fell flat on its face – hard.
Josh Trank, the “Fantastic Four” writer and director, does a pretty good job of incorporating his signature indie/sci-fi aesthetic, which is seen in his previous movies such as “Chronicle” (2012). Unfortunately, a large budget and an all-star cast weren’t able to save this poorly executed reboot from the green muck of the distant world our superheroes stumble upon in the film.
The film carries some interesting themes I would normally applaud, but the ideas were overstated to the point of becoming clichés before the film reached its halfway point.
The Fantastic Four are fresh off the cusp of their teenage years in this film, so the film’s government-intervention plot element displays itself like mommy and daddy telling the four it was their bedtime.
It doesn’t seem necessary or even remotely credible when the group returns to Earth with superpowers.
The underlying theme, government misusing creativity for greed and war-mongering, made me lose interest in the hopelessly oppressed heroes for a major part of the film. But, there was a small silver lining. I often enjoy exposition, even to the point where a film may feel a little “slow.”
Backstory is important – especially when dealing with individuals who have changed drastically or have strong ties with each other, such as the story of the friendship between Reed Richards, or Mr. Fantastic (played by Miles Teller), and Ben Grimm, or The Thing (played by Jamie Bell).
The time dedicated to Mr. Fantastic and The Thing’s backstories connected their characters on a deeper level. However, when we meet our other characters, we see only brief regurgitations of feelings and connections that dictate the comic series, previous reboots and original films. It was simply not enough.
The time spent on the incomplete exposition gave the film’s climax a sense of being rushed. It would have made much more sense to cut the film off toward the end of the action sequences and leave room for a sequel that might captivate me.
My anticipation for the 2017 sequel is lackluster at best. “Fantastic Four” also suffered problems on the visual side. I’m familiar with the series, so I was not surprised by the changes director Josh Trank made.
I have to admit, I actually enjoyed some of the differences from the original storyline. But one change I didn’t like was the ridiculous CGI body of Dr. Doom (played by Toby Kebbell). In this film, Doom doesn’t look as scary or evil as the man in the comics or original reboots.
If you are looking to shut off your brain and be entertained for a couple of hours, or if you’re uninterested in the “Fantastic Four” backstory, this film will probably be pretty bearable. It’s interesting to look at, and the stellar cast works with great chemistry.
But if you are like me, you will feel a bit let down. The A-list cast, as great as it was, just didn’t have much to go on. In the end, the film faulted from too much promise and hype. The director has a lot of work ahead if he hopes to give the series a strong comeback in 2017.
Hopefully Trank will rethink some of the film’s shortcomings and will rebound with a stellar sequel. This cast, this storyline and this director have a ton of talent, but Trank needs to focus a little more on building the world of the Fantastic Four, rather than making the buck.
Because at the root of it all, comic nerds and film enthusiasts aren’t going to theaters with money on their mind. We go to lose ourselves in the fictional worlds that we know and love and to explore those we have yet to dream.
photo from http://www.flickeringmyth.com/

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