Time waste. So another origins story for the troupe, this is an updated story of how the Fantastic Four came to be. They travel to an alternate universe and become mutated by the elements of this new planet. I really don’t know why this specific group of superheroes is so hard to get right; so far to date, the only time where it has truly excelled is when it was a different title: The Incredibles. I can’t say that I’ve seen the Roger Corman production, and I don’t have a personal connection with the comic books, but I’ve seen both of the Tim Story movies, and they ranged from okay to mediocre. I think those two movies catch an unfair amount of flack, but they’re still not good films. With this reboot, they have made something that is far more lacking than either one of the previous movies.
The best thing I can say about the 2005 movie is that it shows that not every superhero movie had to be brooding and dark, and you can have one be more lighthearted; from my understanding this isn’t the darkest of superhero stories anyways. With this reboot, it is back to basics, and there are dark elements all over the place. Honestly, this really makes me feel bad for critiquing something like Ant-Man for not being perfect, because with this, there really is nothing to recommend about this, and I will happily watch the entirety of the Marvel Cinematic Universe before I will ever pick this up again.
So where to begin with everything that is wrong with this. For one thing, there are no surprises to be had here. It’s another origins story for a group that everybody is already well aware of; nobody wants to see another Spider-Man origins, Superman origins or Batman origins, and nobody wants to see this, either. It’s just like a bad cover song at karaoke of a song that wasn’t all that great to begin with, and you just want the drunken man to get off the stage. I am not exaggerating when I say that it takes a full 45 minutes before something new happens. I have heard differing stories on how much this was studio intervention and how much was director Josh Trank, and it doesn’t really matter, because everybody is to blame and we all lose.
But don’t let this giant misstep discount how awesome Chronicle is.
These aren’t terrible actors; I’ve seen Miles Teller knock it out of the park in Whiplash, Michael B. Jordan bring it in Fruitvale Station, and Toby Kebbell deliver a gut punch in Dead Man’s Shoes. That said, I feel that every single person here is miscast, and nobody shares any chemistry with one another, they are just going through the motions and reading the lines on the page. The dialogue is as clunky and boring as the rock planet that they go to, which brings me to the next point: the effects look cheap. I don’t know if somebody pocketed the majority of the $120 million budget, but the special effects look like they could have been rendered another few times over, and to have not one but two of your most climactic scenes take place on a barren rock planet is not an exciting choice to make for your adventure movie. The villain motivation is weak and questionable, and the more I think about this, the less I like it, and I don’t have anything good to say about this overly dull action film, which, in itself, is saying something.
Fantastic Four (2015) *
– Critic for Hire