A fantastic failure.

I’ve heard the rumors, read the nasty reviews, and seen all the bad publicity, but I STILL wanted to give Fant4stic a shot. But alas, my faith was not rewarded. I didn’t think it was as bad as people were saying, but it really wasn’t a very good one. The online hate is justified. Fant4stic was setting up something that could have been awesome, but it ultimately deteriorated into senseless mush.

Off the bat I want to say that you need not see this in theaters. Wait for it online, you’re not missing out. But if you’re a glutton for punishment and you leak money from your butt, then go ahead, be my guest. At the very least, you’ll be able to see the Thing’s rock nuts in full detail.

Rock nuts!

I’m going full spoiler on this one. It’s not like I’ll be ruining a good movie. A spoiled bad movie is still going to be a bad movie.

Fant4stic’ is about 4 young geniuses (and Ben Grimm) who travel to another dimension and come back transformed. They exhibit abnormal abilities: flexibility, invulnerability, invisibility and…well, flammability. When a shadowy figure emerges from the extraterrestrial dimension and poses a threat to the planet, these 4 kids must band together to stop the godlike foe.

One of the geniuses. And coincidentally, one of the few things that made the movie bearable.
I crush Kate Mara. Ahihihi.

For all its faults, there were still a few things I appreciated. I enjoyed seeing Reed and Ben’s bond. There was some good chemistry between Miles Teller and Jamie Bell. It also accentuated how very tragic a character Ben was. Josh Trank’s handle on the sudden appearance of powers was perfect. Just like in Chronicle, there was realism to how the kids and the rest of the world reacted to their powers; not with excitement but with sheer horror. I really felt the fear; especially after seeing Ben change and hearing his cries of helplessness, and the shot of Johnny seemingly being burned alive. Finally, Reed’s use of his stretchy powers to alter his appearance was pretty smart too.

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Few things that worked.

The movie had spurts of creativity. But that was it - spurts. Fant4stic didn’t have much else going for it.

And so the bashing begins.

1) The movie takes a very long time leading up to the event that transforms the Fantasti-kids. We know they were heading there another dimension, we know they get powers, but it’s at around the hour and 15 minute mark before we finally see them become powered individuals. The lead up to that moment was supposed to establish the characters’ personalities and relationships, but their traits were cliché and never show any bearing in the final act (except maybe for Doom), while the relationships and drama felt manufactured and insincere, especially within the Storm family. This is a GREAT cast! It’s a shame they weren’t able to do much except perfunctory acting.

Are you reeeeeaaally brother and sister?

2) The second half is even more disappointing. Certain plot points leading up to the final conflict didn’t make sense or came out of nowhere; what was a very serious and semi-grounded first act suddenly became painfully irksome superhero campiness; the pacing shifted from first gear to fifth gear; and we finally see the Fantastic Four with powers, but never see them use their abilities outside of training montages and the very, VERY weak climactic battle. The 'pre-powers' and 'post-powers' portions of the movie were SO jarringly different! There were two distinct tones and directions; a dark and gritty space odyssey type of movie and a family-loving, catch phrase-utilizing superhero flick. There may have been some truth to the all the controversy about studio tampering. It felt like there were two captains steering this doomed ship.

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This movie is so bipolar.

Training, training and more training.

3) The climax is where most movies make their mark and sometimes even just the payoff can MAKE a movie. It’s where you expect to see an epic clash with the villain and most of the superhero flare. It’s the moment of truth, where everybody comes together and goes to battle with a heroic cry that would live on in cinema infamy. Fant4stic has NONE OF THAT.

The conflict was paper-thin, the villain was underdeveloped and insanely overpowered, and the solution, laughably SHORT and SILLY.

Victor Doom was a genius with a few anti-government sentiments and decides to end the world when he gets his godlike powers? What?! Seriously? The four heroes never really come together as a team; to the very end it felt that there still should have been a lot of hostility towards Reed. And Reed, oh poor, insignificant Reed, he’s not the leader he is in the comics. He’s a second-rate cheerleader, at best. Their battle plan was essentially to punch Doom. Punch him really, really hard into the portal that he created with his god powers. Doom had this immeasurable Dr. Manhattan-like power set so it’s stupid to think his plan was thwarted with a well-timed punch to a beam he could’ve easily shut off. And in the first place, wasn’t it a portal? Why would he be disintegrated?

I liked how this Doom's Latveria is the other dimension.

There was no “F, YEAH! LET’S GO FANTASTIC FOUR!” moment. What we got was a hurried, unsatisfying and undeserved turn to heroism, tons of ‘willpower’ and ‘family’ bullshit, and ugly, UUUUUGLY fight choreography. (Seriously! Stuff that a high school kid could’ve thought of! Stretchy Punch Doom?? Was that really the best this movie could do?!)

What's the plan? We punch him. Really, really hard.

4) There were a lot of plot points that didn’t make sense. Reed and company are the brightest minds on the planet and they think it’s smart for THEM to go on the expedition themselves? There’s a reason why NASA sends trained astronauts and not lead engineers. Why would Reed leave his team? It was a character flaw that was never established prior. And I know the government was being portrayed as antagonists, but really, did they ever do anything that wasn’t completely justified? Why would Franklin stop Johnny from serving his country? Why would Franklin stop Victor from going back to his new home? How was the team able to breath in the volatile atmosphere of planet zero? These were unrealistic events that only helped move the plot along. Lazy writing at its finest!

Comic movies have been getting better and better in the past decade but Fant4stic just set comic book movies back a couple of years.

Turns out, this was a pretty good movie.

This was NOT a Fantastic Four movie. It was a poorly-made sci-fi with the names and powers of the Fantastic 4 jammed into it. The light-heartedness, the family dynamics, the adventure and exploration – everything that made the Fantastic Four comics stand out, were all missing in this confused and excruciatingly mediocre attempt at a superhero film. 

They didn't even get Torch's "Flame on!" right. 


Hope the sequels are better.



Ben: Gotta say, it's fantastic.
Reed: Say that again.
Ben: It's fantastic.
Reed: Yes, it is! Guys, I got it! Ready?
(End title card pops up) Fant4stic.


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