Fantastic Four (2015) Review

This film was certainly underwhelmed a whole lot of people. It’s very hard to find any positive reviews of it online as I’ve only seen one myself. (Though tomatoes should have a few more) IRL I’ve only met 2 others who really liked it at the moment so things aren’t looking too good for the film. It was essentially doomed before it ever came out critically, but I thought that the trailers showed potential. This wouldn’t be the next Avengers, but it would be a good film and I was right on the money with that hunch!

Well, this is essentially the origin story of the team so the plot is self explanatory. Reed Richards is a super genius and one day he manages to build a teleporter. The government quickly recruits him so that they can travel to another dimension to use that planet’s resources to keep Earth alive for a little while longer and maybe even colonize it. The leader’s daughter has been helping with the project for a while and the guy’s son is pulled onto the project so that he can earn his car back after getting it banged up in a street race. Finally, Reed flexes his intellectual muscles and gets his old friend onto the team roster in time for the big experiment. Unfortunately, the heroes got too curious as they messed with the environment of the other dimension (Mostly Dr Doom’s fault) and they each got fantastic powers. Can they use them to save the world now!?

In that regard, the film plays out like you would expect. You definitely don’t want to go into this film expecting a lot of action as it’s more of a slice of life origin adventure. As long as you like the characters and atmosphere, then you’ll be okay. It’s certainly not as good as the MCU backdrop or the ASM series, but a steady improvement over the X-Men series. I was interested the whole time and the characters became likable/charismatic right away so it was fine to just see them talk and hang out even if Reed Richards was really miscast, which can be distracting.

The writing is one of the film’s weaknesses though. The language isn’t terrible, but it still comes at you a little more often than you would like. I always have to shake my head at this since older films never had this problem. I just hope that the English language doesn’t continue to deteriorate or we’re going to need more main characters to be like Mario, rarely talking except for a choice line or two. That being said, I don’t have a problem with the writing in terms of the plot or what happens in the film, just the language aspect.

In terms of the movie dialogue, I’d say that it was reasonable. Nothing spectacular, but nothing bad either. There’s certainly a lot of foreshadowing to get you ready for things that will happen later on in the film. Wondering if Dr Doom is here? The film name drops him right away for long time fans. Fantastic Four even essentially tells you how the film’s going to end with a what if scenario that someone insults Reed with a few times. One can make a comparison to Ant Man here as when Pym explained that nobody’s ever come back from shrinking to the Microverse, that felt like a bit of a dare to the viewers and Scott. Of course, those things tend to really come to you in hindsight as while you’re watching the film, you aren’t typically thinking about them much. I personally prefer to just enjoy the banter and action so I don’t pay too much attention to the hidden meanings of the dialogue unless it’s just that epic of a line.

Reed is the main character of course and he’s a nice guy. I’m just saddened by the fact that the film miscast one of the easiest characters to portray. I feel like almost anyone could do it, but the actor has to be older. It’s why I loved the scene where the film trolled everyone by having Reed pretend that he was older via shape shifting. If he had looked like that the entire film, I would have been thrilled! Reed shows how he is a natural born leader when the going gets tough and we can expect him to continue to use his powers in innovative ways in the sequel. I am glad that Reed has a very tough personality here. In the generic intimidation scene where Dr Doom tries to tell Reed to get away from Sue, Reed just interrupts him to say that he already finished the project ages ago and was going to go take a nap. That was certainly a hype moment and I’m glad that he didn’t just slink away like you would see in most movies.

Ben Grimm’s backstory appeared briefly here and I’m glad that it was so short since his plot could have hurt the film had it gone on any longer. Besides that, I didn’t care to see him as a kid, I wanted to see his superhero form! The Thing costume from the older films was considerably better than this depiction, but I could say the same for every other character so that’s not saying too much. He looks decent although he should have had the traditional pants. I think he gives up on Reed a little too easily and also loses sight of himself without a whole lot of help so he’s not the strongest of the characters in terms of strength of will. He started to destroy a lot of people without hesitation. He’ll likely be more like the happy go lucky Thing we’re used too in future films…hopefully.

Sue was a good heroine and actually defied all of the stereotypical roles as she did not randomly fall in love with Reed for no inexplicable reason. I can’t tell you how glad I was at this as I was expecting a Man of Steel type ending, which would have been very wince worthy. Her subtle insults at Reed were also pretty good like when she tried to ignore him by putting her headphones back on or telling him that his little science experiment almost cost people billions of dollars by taking out the electricity over the east coast. She certainly gave him a tough time and that’s how it should be since he was the new guy on the block. She never overdid it though and they still get along.

Johnny was always going to be an interesting character to watch because of how the film decided to culturally change him. His core personality is essentially intact. He’s still a hot head who has a lot of fun with his powers, he’ll just have slightly different mannerisms and slang words to fit his new character. He’s handled well for the most part and I’m glad that he masters his powers with ease. He doesn’t help with the whole language issue from the film, but none of them really do so it’s not exclusive to him. I did think that it was a little odd how his car almost went out at the beginning of the race since he’s supposed to be a really good mechanic, but I’ll just assume that it was a lucky break for the opponents. I feel like his role was a lot smaller than the other 3, but he’ll likely have his chance to shine next time.

Finally, we have Dr. Doom. You can’t help, but chuckle when you first see him since it seems like the film was intentionally trying to make him look bad. If they were going for a Mandarin level twist, they certainly achieved that! Of course, it would have had more effect if his first scene was his last one. Still, it was neat when he ultimately got his powers, but as a character, he’s not great. He flirts with Sue quite a bit and that always hurt him for me. What I do like about him is the whole anti government personality as that’s always very humorous.

He asks the tough questions and makes the heroes wonder about their mission. After all, it is inevitable that we will wreck that dimension like this one so should we really allow people to go there? He doesn’t think so and that’s why he ultimately grabs his power. He’s certainly a villain, but at least he has a goal that I can sympathize with. If he takes out the Earth, then the other dimension will be safe from those attackers and Doom can live with the world in unity. In this version, that’s how he gets his powers, which are quite impressive.

He’s essentially got telekinesis so he can move rocks around or blow people’s heads up by concentrating. It’s a little overpowered though as the heroes shouldn’t really have a chance against that. The one thing that they have going for them is that they seem to be immune to having their heads blown up. In theory, this is because the ooze that gave them their powers made them immune to that ability or just strengthened their bodies enough to withstand it. The film never gives an explanation, but that makes the most sense. Even then, Dr. Doom probably should have taken the win as he mostly just stood there and allowed the heroes to gain ground. He wouldn’t win many Super Smash battles against Sheik is he stayed on the defensive for so long!

As for the fight scenes, they’re quite good even though they’re short. Reed taking down the gunmen in the forest was pretty epic. It’s too bad that he couldn’t have really fought the Thing as that would have made for a good matchup. At that point in time, The Thing would certainly have the edge, but with a little prep time, Reed could definitely turn the tables. The final fight scene is definitely very epic as the backdrop is like something out of a video game with Dr Doom being the final boss. It’s very short though, which really hurts the fight scene and I would have liked the heroes to have used their powers more. Specifically Human Torch as he was taken out for most of the fight thanks to the rocks at Doom’s disposal. The way that Thing was taken out was a little anticlimactic and I’m calling plot hax on the Invisible Woman, but it just goes to show that they wouldn’t be quite as deadly without Mr Fantastic!

Surprisingly, the film got pretty violent in one action scene. It was like something out of a horror movie as the colors became very dark and the lights started to flicker. Dr. Doom just went around blowing people up without a care in the world and it reminded me of the walls in the Arkham games. I think that could have been toned down a little as it was unnecessary. It was an interesting tribute to the horror films out there, but I’ve never been a fan of them so I could do without that.

Unfortunately, there’s not much of a soundtrack here. That’s too bad as it always adds an extra pop to a film. The visuals were great so mixing that up with some fast paced techno music or something would have been pretty intense. Even some fast music for the dialogue would have been fun. The film just felt strangely silent a lot of the time. It really helps to capture the slice of life feel, but at the expense of that action feel we wanted. Oh yeah, it should be noted that there’s no animal violence here as the anime test trial was successful so the Ape lived. That was probably one of the best moments in the film.

So, time to compare this to the first two films! I do think that the first two win because the actual Fantastic Four as well as Dr Doom were better than their modern versions. I remember the writing being better and I also preferred the costumes/actors. Beating those films was always going to be tough though and I never expected it to top those. Still, Dr Doom can now continue to say that he has been the main villain in every single Fantastic Four film. That series certainly liked him as an opponent.

The ending of the film also gives the franchise a lot of hope. The next film would deal with the Fantastic Four actually being established and finally having their own Baxter Building. It would likely feel more like the comic book version than even the original films. The FF are respected by the government and they’re essentially rich now. There are just so many possibilities! I do think that it was a little unoriginal to steal Avengers Age of Ultron’s final line though. It’s a cool concept, but stealing it just isn’t right.

Overall, Fantastic Four was a solid movie. It’s definitely going to end up being a very underrated one. The score is incredibly low at the moment and now conspiracy theorists can speculate on whether Disney is destroying all other attempts to make non Disney owned Marvel films. If X-Men Apocalypse is critically panned (I could see it getting under a 50 for various reasons, but nowhere near FF level) then things will start to get dicey. Those kind of theories are always pretty epic to hear about, but sometimes it’s just a matter of everyone disliking a film or a big reviewer kicking things off and then the others jump on the train. “Wait…was this hype?” Yes..yes it was. I definitely hope that this movie ends up getting a sequel, but like The Amazing Spiderman, we may have just lost what could have been a beautiful franchise. The bright side is that now Mr. Fantastic can get recast. So, if you haven’t seen it yet, I definitely recommend checking this movie out. It’s got good characters, and some solid action scenes! It’s also fairly short so the pacing is quite fast and it may not be in theaters for long so you’re going to want to hurry and view it before the time is past.

Overall 7/10

20 thoughts on “Fantastic Four (2015) Review

  1. Wow, this review was a lot nicer to the film than a lot that ive seen. I was expecting a rating lower than 5/10 based on what ive heard (yes, i actually havent seen it yet). The main problem with the first two movies imo was the story. The actors where pretty good, they looked good, etc. But the story and how it was written really killed it. Was the original terrible? Well, no. Imo it was less Batman and Robin or Catwoman and more Daredevil or Michael Bay’s TMNT. It was bad but not unwatchable or insulting.

    • Yeah, the reviews haven’t been kind. The original films definitely have a lot of mixed reviews as well. I thought that they were pretty fun. They always had a light tone about them and the movies were fun to watch. It never suffered from animal violence, language, ultra violents, or any of my usual issues, which is probably why I liked them so much. I would definitely put it over Daredevil and TMNT, but I agree that it’s nowhere near the best Superhero films. The new film was still fairly decent. It’ll be fun to see what you think when you watch it. You still shouldn’t go in with high hopes or anything, but with the massive onslaught of bad reviews, that shouldn’t be a problem!

      • My family waits til the movies go on DVD (which is why I still haven’t seen Age of Ulton or Ant-Man) so it will be a while before I see it but I probably will eventually.

        I would put it over TMNT but honestly I kinda liked the original Daredevil movie. It was bad and I would call it a guilty pleasure but it was a bit better tan the original FF imo.

      • Ah, right right. I remember that you mentioned that a while back. Well, that’ll be pretty neat. GIven how it’s doing at the box office, I could actually see it coming out on DVD fairly soon. I only saw the edited Daredevil flim (luckily for me since it meant less…ambiguous moments) but I really didn’t care for it. Of course, it was pretty opposite to FF in a lot of ways. Grim vs Light. Violent vs Tame. Serious vs Campy. That being said, I can certainly see how it would beat the FF though.

      • I guess that shows my taste in superheroes. It’s funny because most people seem to dislike darker superhero stuff while I love it! I absolutely love the grittier and/or more realistic stuff. Although with that being said, gritty can go bad really fast and it is annoying when you have my tastes and it seems like a lot of writers just can do gritty well. Like the Killing Joke went way too far as an example of dark stuff going to far into the extremes.

        I don’t really know why I like grit and realistic over campy and light-hearted but guess it’s just a personal taste (which may be one of the reasons I prefer DC as Marvel tends to aim for more of the “fun” in superheroes). Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy films like Gaurdians of the Galaxy and Avengers, but my favorite superhero film of all time is the Dark Knight and some of my favorite animated films are things like Return of the Joker and Under the Red Hood.

      • You know, people used to not like gritty too much, but I’d say that it’s changed now. Lately, only the really dark/gritty comic films/shows seem to get a good reception. Daredevil was revered for being so violent and extreme and DC’s exclusively gone that route for all of their movies lately. Arrow the show has done really well because of how dark and grim it is. Likewise, Game of Thrones, Mad Max, and the Walking Dead all got mega popular because of how intense they could get. At this point, I think it’s safe to say that more comic fans want grittyness in the films than the fun factor. It’s one of the reasons why the Fantastic Four didn’t do so well. A recent Teen Titans Go episode actually addressed this as adults decided that they still wanted to enjoy the things that they liked as kids, but wanted it to be suitable for their current state. It’s an interesting thing to think about because that’s what has happened to a lot of comics. Just about all Batman comics nowadays are way too violent for kids to read so comics have really become most suitable for grown ups now with a decent amount of exceptions.

        We do agree on the Killing Joke being extreme for sure and I actually really like Return of the Joker as well. I think that is a perfect example of something gritty being handled really well. It was certainly dark, but not over the top. I personally prefer the light camp factor myself. Haha, I can certainly see why you would seriously dislike Ultimate Spiderman the show though. It disregards the comics, and is extremely cartoony/campy.

      • The thing i don’t like about Arrow and Flash juts that there seems to be something missing from the shows that i can’t put a finger on. Netflix’s Daredevil i liked but i do age out got a bit to dark at times. And the problem with the new DC animate movies its while they are going for dark, that’s all they’re going for really. Its like they think they can just do a decent story and so looking as they have dark elements in it people are just going to like it.

        My rule of them is to aim for a good story and if it happens to be dark than so be it! Like if you look at the Killing Joke, the story isn’t really that good but its so Darth and disturbing that people seem to like it because its a “mature”Batman comic. On the flip side, Return of the Joker was dark but it had a good story to back it up. Out it had the same dark stuff but lacked the good story than i probably would not like it.

      • True, the new DC films are just too shallow in that regard. It’s like they’re not even trying! Being dark without a plot behind it is basically a recipe for disaster. I’ve never seen Arrow or the Flash and probably won’t, but at least the effects for Flash look good. I’ll probably look up a fight at some point, but they definitely will never be the next big thing for me. The Supergirl show looks interesting, but it probably won’t live up to the potential.

        Hopefully the Killing Joke is toned down a little when it comes out on DVD, but that’s probably too much to hope for. The good thing is that the animated films haven’t been getting great reviews lately so that could help DC decide to change their ways a little. At the very least, adding a better plot to the mix would be a good start! (Toning it down a little would be great too though)

      • I find that the same with the comics in a way too. The pre New 52 Batman comics were dark but they still had a good story to them and good characters. New 52 Batman kept the dark elements but now the seem pretty soulless and even darker than before.

      • It’s definitely a shame. I haven’t read a single New 52 Batman comic as a result because all of the collections just look way too over the top. It’s why just about every New 52 review you see is about Superman. The writing may not be great, but at least it still feels like a classic Superman issue at times.

      • Finally saw the movie this weekend! I wanted a review up today but it’s not finished so I’ll probably have it up tomarrow. In short: it was better than I thought it was gonna be. The story is pretty good and kept me interested throughout the film. The CGI was terrible but not so bad that it’s unwatchable. Some actors where good and some where bad. The characters themselve honestly wasn’t that bad but I do think Id be more ticked off if I was an actual fan of the Fantastic Four. Overall an ok film, not Avengers yet not really Batman and Robin either.

      • That’s certainly fair. It’s by no means a great movie, but I still thought it was decently good. A 7 may be a tad generous and I thought about giving it a 6, but at the same time, I thought it got enough things right to warrant that final star. Which film do you think you’ll be seeing next? Halloween’s almost here so got some scary flicks ahead of you? I’ve got about 4-5 horror movies that I saw lately so they’re all currently resting in the review backlog. I’ll try to have them up soon. Looking forward to your review!

      • Well I recently went and watched Corps Bride, Nightmare Before Christmas, and Edward Scissorhands for halloween but I probably won’t be reviewing those :). None if those are really “horror” but it is Tim Burton so they’re all kinda on that line of being cute and creepy at the same time.

        The irony in this is that I love Tim Burton’s films and I love superheroes, but I havent seen Tim Burton’s Batman movies before XD

      • Sounds like a fun trio. The Nightmare Before Christmas was certainly interesting. I got introduced to it through Kingdom Hearts back in the day. Heh heh, I can’t say that I really cared for Burton’s Batman. Maybe the two just didn’t mix, but I would certainly recommend giving it a whirl. Since you like Burton and superhero films, it could definitely catch your attention!

    • That’s true, this review is definitely an outlier next to the rest of the critics. I’ll definitely check that video out as it looks pretty interesting. I know that there was a lot of things happening behind the scenes and it definitely sounded very chaotic. That being said, if you didn’t know about it and just saw the final product, it ended up being pretty decent. Not as good as the older Fantastic Four films though as they did do a better job of handling the characters.

      • Or you’re too soft on darkness. Or you’re a huge Micheal B. Jordan fan, as he’s genuinely one of the few good things and I’m glad he moved on to star in Creed.

      • Maybe it would be a little lower on a re-watch, but it was actually pretty fun for me. I will admit that I am a B. Jordan fan though. He tends to steal the show in all his roles

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