Josh Trank made a name for himself with his directorial debut Chronicle, which was seen as a reinvention/revitalization of the super hero mythos for a new generation of movie goers. So, who better than Trank, to take the reins and update / reboot Fox’s Fantastic Four (FF) franchise. Finally, the fans were going to get the movie they always wanted and Fox would redeem itself after two lackluster attempts; the first in 2005 with Fantastic Four and the second in 2007 with FF: Rise of the Silver Surfer.
Josh Trank was going to update the FF franchise into something new and rise above the standard origin movie that has been done to death. Honestly, I was looking forward to a new version and just look at what Nolan did for the Batman franchise. And then I saw the first trailer. Needless to say, I was expecting some backlash but I didn’t see this coming; an 8% rating on rottentomatoes.com (the lowest rating for a super hero movie to date). The FF movie has become one of the biggest WTF events in this genre’s history. How did this happen? Who is to blame? What happens now? I guess only time will tell if we ever truly find out what really happened here.
The rumours have been furious with regards to the reasons behind FF’s disappointing performance. First, we are hearing that Trank had basically carte blanche when it came to making his debut film but when he got the FF gig, Trank was unprepared for the stranglehold the Fox executives held over him with the film. Second, handing someone with such little experience a film of this magnitude was a little too fast. Third, Fox has a history of ruining a good thing and maybe this was no exception; apparently part of the film was re-shot without Trank even being present. And last but not least, Fox’s time to hold onto the rights of the FF was coming to an end therefore, apparently, they had to make a film within seven years or the rights would revert back to Marvel. Who knows, maybe they just wanted anything to come out so as not to lose the rights to the FF.
What do I believe? I think the idea that Trank was sort of ignoring the history of the FF for his own “vision” and combining that with too many hands stirring the pot just made for a poor excuse of a film. Personally, I have no issue with a director and or screen writer tweaking material but when you virtually ignore the source material, it just seems you’re asking for trouble. Comic fans are extremely passionate about the characters they love, so unless you have an amazing new vision, messing with these cherished character(s)/stories is a big no-no.
Now, for the review; I think that all the negative reactions have spiralled out of control. The 8% approval rating from the Rotten Tomatoes critics is a little harsh. The FF is slightly better than Superman: The Quest for Peace, Batman & Robin and the Ghost Rider movies… but only slightly. Don’t get me wrong, the movie is dull and doesn’t lead to anything.
In my opinion the Fantastic Four is getting slammed from critics and fans alike for the following reasons. Firstly, the FF is the First Family of the Marvel Universe and in this movie no one seems to like each other. There’s no real interaction/ connections made between the team members and we never truly learn to care for these heroes. Secondly, so much focus is put on Reed Richards that we don’t really get to know the other members of the team. With all this focus on Richards, we are lead to believe that he is the heart and soul of the FF. That would have been fine, except for the fact that he abandons his team mates at one point so that rationale doesn’t work. Lastly, but not least, is the fact that Dr. Doom; perhaps one of the FF most menacing villains; seems nothing more than an afterthought in the film. You know, because they needed someone for the team’s big battle scene. Let’s face it, even their idea of a menacing image was more of a melding of a crash test dummy conceiving a child with a member of The Blue Man Group, not very threatening at all.
I can’t or won’t recommend seeing this movie to diehard fans of the comic book… it will just break your heart.Wait for the movie to come out on NETFLIX.