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Movie Review: Fantastic Four (2015)

D+
Fantastic Four
1 hour, 40 minutes

Rated: PG-13
Director: Josh Trank
Writers: Jeremy Slater, Simon Kinberg
Starring: Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell,
Michael B. Jordan 

Reed Richards, Johnny Storm, Sue Storm, and The Thing…they are all here. Government labs, nerdy kids; smugly/ugly and one-dimensional top-secret officials trying to turn all technology into a war machine project—we’ve come to expect it all. It’s all been done before, but here it is again in Josh Trank’s revamping of Fantastic Four (the fairly engaging film “Chronicle” being his only notch-carving to date). 

It starts with a smart kid building a mini-teleporter in his garage out of junkyard parts. Years go by and we find "Reed Richards" (Miles Teller) and his friend "Ben" (Jamie Bell) showcasing a glorified version of their earlier model at a science fair. Reed gets invited to be a part of a secret research group to help build a new teleporter to...save the world's resources? OK, we'll go with it. 

We meet other characters, which include "Professor Storm" (Reg E. Cathey) and his son "Johnny" (Jordon) who drag races at the film's beginning to clue us in on the fact that he’s a rebellious, young whipper-snapper who just can't calm down. We meet Storm’s snooty adopted daughter "Sue" (Kate Mara) and "Victor von Doom" (Toby Kebbell) who leaves little doubt about his going to be the bad guy, and then things get...rather bland. 

After getting shit-faced, Reed, Ben, Johnny, and Victor decide that life is short and it's time to play hard--so why not test the teleporter out themselves when drunk?! A barren, alien world, crazy new technology, teleporting...what could possibly go wrong? Unstable energy sources resulting in an explosion leaves the kids with their (rather underwhelming) superpowers, except von Doom who is left for dead on the planet--only to return with a vengeance! [insert yawn]. 

Fantastic Four doesn't have to be labeled as a "bad movie," just an unnecessary one lacking the power or vision it needed to be successful. In addition to some mild pacing problems, the lighting is so artificial that one cannot help but be put off by its overly artsy attempt at being compelling. In fact, the film has enough screenshots to be hacked apart and made into screensaver shots and put up for free on gadgety sites over the internet. 

The dialog was nothing spectacular, but what was worthy of at least a nod was Dr. Doom's villainous gaze with those sharp, piercing green eyes. The project was, sadly, a waste. And I'm sorry for that because we have here a young-but-talented cast smothered by gaping mediocrity and misplaced direction. It didn't need to be remade anyway and we didn't need to see it. 

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