And not just me. My daughter is a tough nut to crack, and she thought the updated Fantastic Four was… well, fantastic!
“Why don’t the critics go back to their mom’s basement? This movie was AWESOME!“
It really was. Were there flaws? Sure! Fox has some work to do if they want this newly-rejuvenated franchise to burn as long and powerful as Johnny Storm, but we’ll get to that in a moment. For now though, here are four fantastic things about Fantastic Four.
1) The cast. Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Bell left it all on the screen. You’ll actually like these guys as the FF. They’re young enough to draw in kids like my daughter but mature enough to hold their own in a mega-budget superhero flick. (Yes, technically they count as four things, but they’re a team so I’m bending the rules like Mr. Fantastic after a few shots of tequila. Shut up.)
Toby Kebbell gave us a Doctor Doom we felt actual sympathy for (he’s pining for Sue Storm but the poor Latverian emo doesn’t have a chance once she warms up to the dorky American science wiz Reed Richards), and while he gains real super powers this time around, they’re like nothing we’ve ever seen before – and after decades of the same old Doom, this is a welcome revelation.
And the supporting cast? Reg. E. Cathey gave real life to Franklin Storm, a character I had no knowledge of (and I’ve been reading comics for four decades), but who I immediately bonded with. And the always-awesome Tim Blake Nelson literally chews up the scenery (seriously, he’s chewing something in every scene he’s in), as a corporate muckety-muck who sees opportunity in the misfortune Reed and Co. experience after returning from the Negative Zone.
And speaking of which…
2) The origin. The FF have been around since 1961. We all know what to expect in terms of their beginnings. Personally, I welcomed the total revamping of the group’s origins. The Negative Zone isn’t expressly named as such but it was the perfect plot device to imbue explorers Reed, Johnny, Ben and Victor (yep), with fantastic yet terrifying abilities. And before you cry foul, Sue does get her powers at the same time as the boys; just in a different manner – one that opens the door to hundreds of other possible super heroes (or villains).
See the flick. It’ll all make sense.
3) They made Doom a badass. Super-science nerd/green freak Victor von Doom is menacing enough without powers, but after he truly becomes Doom? He makes people’s heads explode. Yeah, that’s a spoiler, but so what?
He. Makes. People’s. Heads. Explode.
Horror movies are more popular than ever these days. So are superhero flicks. Combing elements of both in Fantastic Four was a smart move.
4) The tone. The two previous FF films were far too lighthearted for most fans. The film may be the butt of many a joke right now but no one can deny the film is rooted in a darker tone.
Young Reed’s desire to make his visions of the future a reality makes him an outcast. Ben is bullied and neglected at home. Sue is adopted and more comfortable analyzing patterns than interacting with people. Johnny is jealous of his father’s favoritism towards the adopted daughter he reluctantly calls a sister. And Victor? He scares the crap out of people with that wild, terrifying look in his eyes.
This isn’t a jokey Fantastic Four with that Alba chick. This is a film worth taking seriously.
And now, the bad…
Someone at Fox should be beaten with a stack of FF trade paperbacks for not tying this film into the X-Men franchise. Has no one there ever watched a Marvel Studios film? Bring your heroes together, people, and the resulting nerdgasm will reap you millions.
No post-credits scene? Again, has anyone at Fox ever seen a Marvel Studios flick?
And that’s it. At the end of the day, I loved Fantastic Four.
And now you know why.