Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Fantastic Four Review

One of the unfortunate, but realistic consequences of having great movies is that everyone else will try to copy that great movie because they want to find similar success. Because that's what we do in Hollywood. We try to replicate success. Being honest, you can't really blame Hollywood for having this mindset. It's a classic business strategy that's been used since the beginning of time. If you want to have success in the business world, you often have to figure out what has worked in the past so you can in turn have success. Unfortunately, this is often met with failure that does in fact frustrate consumers. Now let's stop beating around the bush here and get to specifics. Marvel Studios took a huge risk nearly 10 years ago now by deciding to create the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I don't need to recount that history, but needless to say that since Iron Man back in 2008 up to Ant-Man just recently, Marvel has taken in a grand total of $8.8 billion worldwide with just 12 movies. With 10 movies on the docket in the next four years alone, they're just getting started. So of course studios like Warner Bros., Sony, and Fox are going to do there best to cash in on this rich market of superhero movies with the properties they own the rights to. Who wouldn't want to try make $8.8 billion? Unfortunately, not everyone was going to succeed and thus we movie-goers have to suffer the consequences of these failures. Fox is the most recent studio to swing and miss with one of their properties as the latest Fantastic Four reboot is a complete disaster, so let's discuss why that's the case.

Fanastic Four on paper is the perfect opportunity for Fox to create a world that is similar to the Avengers. The Fantastic Four comic books are a well-liked series of comics for comic lovers. You have four young people who come across super powers that are quite fantastic. One of them has the ability to stretch like rubber. Another has the power of fire that he can use for a lot of things, one of them being flying. A third has the power of invisibility combined with the ability of using force fields. And the final one is a huge rock person who is extremely strong. There's a lot that could be done with this franchise. It has the potential to be extremely fun. But for some reason, no one can do it right. We had a straight to video version of the movie in the 90's that is apparently really bad. We have the fun, light-hearted version in 2005 where they spend 95 percent of the movie arguing about what to do with their powers instead of actually fighting. We have the extremely cheesy and hard-to-watch sequel to that 2005 film that came out two years later in 2007. And now we have a movie from this year where it is painfully obvious that there were a lot of strong personalities butting heads the entire time that resulted in everyone involved giving up halfway through, leaving us with a final product that can barely be labeled as a movie. I kid you not when I say this.

Let me describe to you my personal experience with this movie. We started off with a movie that I felt actually had some potential. We have a great cast that is headlined by the likes of Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, and Jamie Bell. Yes, there were some really dumb plot points and some really stupid side characters, but the overall direction of the movie seemed fine. But then it suffered from origin-story-itis to the tenth degree. I wanted these characters to get their powers early on and spend the majority of the movie fighting. I don't know the exact timing in the movie, but it felt like we were about an hour into the movie before they got their powers. Then there comes a point in the movie where things drastically change and the movie goes from really boring to absolute crap. We weren't too far into what I thought was towards the beginning of the second act when I was mentally checked out of the movie and I was wanting it to be over. So I did something that is always a bad sign for a movie. I got out my phone and checked the time. We were an hour and 15 minutes in. Suddenly I was dreading the idea that I might have to sit here for another hour, but I realized that I had no idea how long this movie was. Since I was one of only three people in my theater, I pulled out my phone again (bad sign -- I pulled out my phone twice) and looked at the run time. One hour and 40 minutes.Wait, what? Considering that 7-10 minutes of that run time is, that meant there was only 15 minutes left of my movie. Were we heading into the final act? Yup. And it was quite possibly the lamest and shortest final act I've ever seen in a superhero movie. Wow.

Needless to say, I sat there during the credits being absolutely dumbfounded. I had just watched a movie where the first act was over an hour, the second act was 15-20 minutes at best, and the final act couldn't have been any longer than 10 minutes, half of which being the resolution. Not only that, but everything about the final two acts was complete garbage. Plot points made no sense. Character arcs became extremely rushed. A villain is suddenly just the villain with like no explanation. Even worse is the fact that the villain the worst looking villain like in the history of ever. Then this seemingly unstoppable villain gets defeated by the fantastic four in like five minutes in the most unconvincing way. Then you have moments of CGI that were the lamest and weirdest CGI that I've seen in some time. There's only one conclusion that I could come up with that explains all of this in my head. They gave up. THEY. GAVE. UP. It's incredible. In a bad way. A very bad way. I don't even know what to compare this to. In all the movies I've watched, I don't think I've ever seen a movie where it was so obvious that everyone involved just threw in the towel. You don't even need to read about all of the production issues to come up with this. But when you do, it will all make sense. Director Josh Trank had this to say on his twitter on the night of release:

"A year ago I had a fantastic version of this. And it would've received great reviews. You'll probably never see it. That's reality though."

That says a lot about this movie. Then you go and read about all the chaos that happened during this production and that statement makes even more sense in context. Apparently Josh Trank had an idea of where he wanted to take the movie. But Fox didn't like his idea, so they butted heads. They wanted to fire him apparently, but instead just hired some people to re-write the script. During all this, it was reported that Josh Trank had been hired to direct one of the Star Wars anthology films, but was dropped after Lucasfilm and company did some investigating. I've heard lots of stories about how horrible Josh Trank was on set. Some say he came to set drunk on a regular basis. Others say that he butted heads with like everyone, actors included. I don't know what is true and what is fiction, but something wasn't right. I just read an article on EW.com about all of this. Check it out:


So who's to blame for this mess? Should we put all the blame on Josh Trank? Was he so awful on set that he destroyed this picture to the point where Fox couldn't even save it with re-writes and re-shoots? Was it Fox that put him in a doomed-to-fail position where they were trying to make the next Avengers with this film when they should've just been focusing on giving us a good Fantastic Four movie? I don't know the answer to this. All I know is that it is really obvious as to which part of the movie is Josh Trank's movie and it is also really obvious as to when he lost all control. His part is pretty bad, but Fox's part is a whole lot worse. Bad plus worse equals the worst comic book movie ever made? Perhaps I'm not ready to give it that honor just yet, but I am willing to say that it's at least one of the worst and I will add to that the fact that I can't think of one right now that is a worse disaster than this movie simply because this just doesn't even feel like a movie. It's a joke. An unfinished product where everyone involved just gave up.

I really hope that everyone involved in this can make a recovery. Josh Trank is only 31 years old and he already has the movie Chronicle on his resume. I loved that movie. I hope he can put this disaster behind him, learn what he can from it, and continue to make more movies that are as good as Chronicle. I hope Fox can recover from this. I love what they have done with X-Men recently. I'm excited for X-Men: Apocalypse. I'm even intrigued by this Deadpool movie. What Fox needs to do is cut their losses with Fantastic Four. Don't go forward with that sequel. Let Marvel earn the rights back and continue with everything in the X-Men universe. Speaking of which, a lot of Marvel fanboys are happy with the idea of Marvel getting the rights back to Fantastic Four. Why? Are we really wanting yet another attempt at Fantastic Four after all previous attempts have failed? I say Marvel should get their rights back just for bragging rights, but then throw this franchise in the closet for good. Kill it. There are so many good comic book characters that deserve movies, why do we need to keep trying on this one over and over? Certainly not to blame for all of this are the actors that I mentioned earlier. Despite all the drama, this group does their best with what little is given to them. Casting them in these roles was perhaps the only thing that was done right with this project and because of that I'm not giving this my worse grade, but I'm close. My grade is for this disaster is a 2/10.

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