I’ll start off by saying that this wasn’t the unmitigated disaster that I was expecting. It was a movie with a lot of problems but it also had some admirable qualities a well. I think I’ll start with those.
First I’ll say that I liked the visual aesthetic of the film. The darker tone may not entirely fit this particular comic book team, but it did provide its own unique atmosphere. I thought that the Thing looked interesting, for example, and was a big improvement on the rock suit from the other films (and from the 4th season of Arrested Development).
I also quite enjoyed watching the origins of these characters, especially Reed and Ben. And I also thought they did a great job of creating a strong sense of camaraderie and teamwork during the research institute scenes.
Okay, so this is kind of weird, since it probably seems like I enjoyed the movie at this point. But trust me, this is still a bad movie. I just feel like I need to defend some of its better qualities as F4 was so lambasted in the critical movie world. But… its still not good.
Most of the problems derive from the script. There’s a lot of poor attempts at character development such as Johnny Storm having whiny daddy issues (like we haven’t seen that a million times before). Its also dragged down by terrible dialogue all over the place. So many times they build up to some moment that could be great, and its deflated with some terrible line. “What happens if we say no?” “Say yes.”
Another problem with the story was that there was no sense of real-world impact. The Fantastic Four are never even seen or known by the public at all. They’ve made probably the most significant discovery in history, yet no one seems to be making a big deal of it. Its way to isolated of a story for the things that are happening inside of it.
But I think the biggest problem with the script is how it doesn’t really resolve some of the major character dynamics happening in the film. Reed Richards escapes a military compound, leading his friends to resent him, even his best buddy Ben. And then nothing is done with this conflict. Reed doesn’t make up for it, the others dont really let out their anger other than Thing punching a tree, its just not handled well at all. The whole movie ends rather abruptly with a world threatening conflict that just sort of… happens.
So there you have it, the new Fantastic Four. This movie was definitely a victim of group-hate. Its not as bad as many would have you believe, but… that doesn’t really mean its good either.