'Fantastic Four' is a Cronenbergian Mess

Nine percent. That’s what Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four currently resides at on the Tomatometer. Does it deserve such a critical panning? I would say no. That’s not to say that Fantastic Four is a good film, though.

Let’s just get the weak points out of the way first… The CGI isn’t great (especially when it comes to Mr. Fantastic’s stretching abilities and The Thing), the three act structure is almost non-existant, unnecessary jumps in time are thrust in to speed the story along, and the villain’s motive is incredibly vague and random. 

All around, the performances are pretty good, even though some snippets of dialogue read like a first draft. The build around the story feels more like that of a TV pilot than a feature film. The relationships between the characters are fairly unestablished and it kind of feels like Fox was banking on a sequel to develop those bonds more. Because of that, the end product comes out feeling like cookie dough.

However, this is the first Marvel movie I’ve watched in a very long time where it’s felt like an actual film and not a cog in the machine. There is a particular style and character to the film that the Marvel Studios features lack. This doesn’t feel like a superhero movie – at all – and that works to its advantage. It’s almost closer in tone to one of David Cronenberg’s earlier works, The Fly. Genuine science dynamics are played with and instead of the cartoon-ish, over-the-top Fantastic Four we got in 2005 and 2007, we get something a bit darker and more realistic. 

So, as I said before, Fantastic Four is cookie dough. It’s raw and loaded with bacteria, but it’s also delicious. I really liked this movie and somehow or another was able to forgive its gaping flaws due to the entertainment I received in return. 

***/****

Published: August 3rd, 2015