20th Century Fox is up to its old tricks again and Josh Trank has been designated as its official fallguy. And yes, I genuinely feel sorry for him. He’s under a demon’s banner in a house who has Bryan Singer permanently welded to a property he has no business being near, and a company that is forced to pump out land-filler regarding those very properties in order to retain the rights. They want to maintain some hostile leverage against the Marvel engine and see what they can get out of it in the long term, I think, because as of now they’ve produced not one comicbook movie worth seeing.
It’s not that I like all of what Marvel has released. Age of Ultron for one thing or Thor’s sequel and any of those Iron Man ones for that matter. I won’t have any of those on repeat. They’re in a constant state of flux for me, always threatening to go Titanic on themselves as they implode on the horizon. It’s waiting around the corner, eyeing them with superhero fatigue as people like to call it. Everyone thought it was going to be Ant-Man. It wasn’t, according to many. But maybe the orbiting comicbook failures of other companies will help set all that into motion!?
Reed Richards has built a tunnel to a dimension of which he knows not. How? Who cares? It’s Reed Richards so let’s give him the benefit of the doubt on this matter. Victor Von Doom is sitting in the dark brooding. He’s hopping mad that his computer has been hacked, indicated by his neutral face and tone. Sue Storm is possibly reading squint-inducing lines and doesn’t seem like she has much energy for even that. And Johnny Storm is the most lively, producing one of the lesser profanities while street racing to give us our modern James Dean. Here is our Fantastic Four. Oh, Ben Grimm is a tag along, basically a dog.
There is no real character development in this film. Ben Grimm arrives late in the game and rarely interacts with the rest of the group even after he’s changed. They look mostly uninterested, though I can’t say I dislike Miles Teller (Reed Richards) or Michael B. Jordan (Johnny Storm) even if the dialog and direction they’re forced to digest was Gerber. The team has been weaponized and used for military purposes. But we don’t really get a taste of what exactly. It’s top secret and classified even to the audience.
They dump the idea of cosmic rays being the sole reason for the groups transformation and rightfully so. If it was hinged on that the military could just produce endless amounts of superheroes via shuttle. And so could many other nations. The inter-dimensional planet was a preferable idea but I wouldn’t call it an exotic design. In fact, they probably would have gotten better footage somewhere in the four corners of the American Southwest. We don’t even get an attempt at Forbidden Planet in design. Just some green lava that might be sentient and sticky.
Reed Richards does his best Dalsim impressions and it might be funny depending on who you ask. They could have done more with that but I guess they thought it was too ridiculous. The Thing doesn’t wear clothes but his rock hard genitalia is covered in the poster with the smoke of rubble. If you thought it was a problem for the public, you would have thought it was a problem in the film as well. This guy has no dick, but other appendages, nature is stupid and crazy…that or the studio is. Looking back for the brief moment Johnny was flying I don’t think they produced a close-up shot of his face, only while he was standing on the ground. Jesus did I forget already? Sue also seems to only be an invisible flying bus of some sort, carrying the team from one destination to another, well at least in the only scene she does anything.
Dr. Doom might be the biggest abomination of the film in all. His costume is fused to his body as he’s joined forces with his only friend, a dead planet in another dimension. Dude you’re an A-hole of course you would be left with something like that. He’s meant to be a genius. Doom even gets one scene where he erases something of Richards on the big chalkboard. Don’t know what it was. But again, who cares? That’s the writers telling us they’re geniuses. Accept it and move on. On top of Doom’s other impressive new abilities is his fusion to Magneto and Professor X, as he’s now a telekinetic with a screaming whine sound to his blasts. He doesn’t fly but walks and his mouth doesn’t move either. It’s a face or a mask? A mask-face? A lava carved mask on a human face with green valleys.
So is there anything in the Fantastic Four that is salvageable? No, not really. Is Trank to bare the full blame for this mess? Well he did co-write it, though his input is in dispute and at barely an hour and a half most of it is on the cutting room floor anyway. Both Blomkamp’s films Elysium and Chappie suffered under the studio’s knife with the magic cut being at about an hour and a half for all of them, a time which shows no confidence in their own film and want people in and out of the theatre to recoup whatever they can get. The film cost a paltry hundred and twenty million as well. Big for T2’s era, not in this one. And not for a power-fueled idea like FF. The number should have already inspired worry in a concept they thought sucked from the first time around. Something most won’t challenge.
You can see how hacked to death this film is. How much missing time is gone. That no one even cared. If there is a longer film out there we’ll probably never see it in all likelihood. What we will get is a reboot and not a sequel, and soon. Green Lantern is on the way again after all.
Do I really feel sorry for him? Them? Both Trank and Blomkamp. Yes. These studios don’t want directors with vision, not really. They want new directors with some brand and their initial success. A name they can attach to a studio film. A dog on a leash they can pull on and then paste a Scarlet Letter to when things go bad. With the money they have invested in these projects there is no real room for innovation. Honestly, if I had my way I would make it a law that people stop being excited about anything, that way no expectations lost.