Wednesday, August 12, 2015

//SPCLRVW: The Time I Tried to Defend 2015's Fantastic Four (Fuck Thor)

As a person with a gag reflex that is very responsive to geek-pop culture I do tend to stay pretty far away from everything movie-related to comic books. Of course, I watch and read the occasional review on things I find myself interested in but I'd be lying if I said I clicked on even 5% of the the easter-egg video links that YouTube is constantly flooding my dashboard with. The bullshit surrounding the making of this movie has still found its way to molesting me in my waking life, despite spending most of my time alone in a remote tiny desert country where the previous Fantastic Four movies are best known for being local T.V. fodder. To say I never cared is an understatement. But then anyone I was even remotely close to began talking about how much they hated the trailer and the fact that Johnny Storm was black. Obviously, being black myself, I had a problem with this because black people don't like being on fire.

The movie went away for a while then started showing up on my radar again as it was nearing release. To be honest, I thought this movie came out a month ago. If I see a movie poster pop up, I usually assume it is out. If hate could take physical form over bandwidth then my phone would have burst. Googling 'Fantastic Four 2015' might as well have swallowed me into the screen and sent my ass to an ugly other-realm planet not too far off from the one in the movie. Except instead of seeing Doom in a cape (which is absolutely fabulous, may I add) I was treated to an army of shapeless middle-aged movie reviewers in batman-t-shirts shouting at me and trying to make the least-funny snark about the movie. It was, indeed, a clusterfuck online. Screw Kim Kardashian, this movie really did break the internet. You'd think this movie had been a sequel to Triumph Of The Will  from the amount of negativity it was getting. Then today, I thought, okay enough of this. So I decided to actually watch it. What did I find?

Fantastic Four 2015 had the decency to not insult my intelligence by not giving The Thing shorts. Seriously, he doesn't have any business down there and nothing that resembles an ass. What does he need shorts for?

That was the main thing that crossed my mind as the film ended. That and the fact the movie itself isn't really that bad. It's definitely not the cause of climate change it's made out to be. Yes, they done gooft in this movie quite a bit. From the tweet of Josh Trank, the director who had quickly washed his hands from the movie on the eve of the premiere, it seems like a lot of this movie was frankensteined. This is mostly evident in how Sue Storm's (played by Kate Mara) hair goes from looking like a natural body part to looking like someone had glued a yellow shih-tzu to her head. This was due to Kate having cut her hair before they asked her to return for re-shoots. It still looks better than Jessica Alba's wig in Rise Of The Silver Surfer. Now that movie had tonnes of things wrong with it beside a bad wig problem.

This movie doesn't suffer from having younger and more racially diverse characters, it suffers from 'originitis'. This movie, for no good reason, does what most terrible comic book movies do: try and tell the same story we already know. A bunch of nerds do some sciency shit, it goes wrong, now they can do cooler shit and help the world out. This story is as old as penicillin. Even I had fantastic four comics as a kid. I am not, by any means, a comic book dork but I know this story. I, unfortunately, also had the bad luck of seeing the 2005 Fantastic Four so I already know the origin story. If that wasn't enough to convince studios that another F4 origin story wasn't necessary then consider how many times you and everyone around you must have caught the 2005 version on television.

This iteration sort of goes in that direction but the script has the foresight to try and make it interesting. They changed the characters so they aren't forcibly boring. They still come off as underdeveloped because of some incredibly poor editing choices. Toby Kebbell's Victor Von Doom is first seen being a dick to Frank Storm while hanging out in a dark room listening to classical music then disappears half way through the movie only to show up at the end lusting for blood. There is not so much a motivation given to why he wishes to become a world-destroyer by the time we are at the end of the movie. It might be somewhere on the cutting room floor.

'Nah m8, A just need dis 'ere job til me ticket come in n I get 2 b da real rocknrolla init'

'Oh man, look at all this science.'
Hmm, thinking of some things that aren't so bad about this movie: well, Miles Teller portraying Reed fits quite well. It really does look like he gives it a bunch of effort. Proof being the stupid 'Oh wow' face he has on for most of the the first half hour of the movie. It's hard to mistake him as anything but the dork. His posture just screams it. That was a good move, it opens up the way to make other characters take up the space his character lacks, especially during second half of the movie. The Thing is the muscle (played here by Jamie Bell). He's big, ugly and depressed like the rest of the cast. Except he has a reason to be; being an assembly of KFC chicken parts. This is something they tackled well enough given that they probably chopped giant portions of Ben and Reed's friendship scenes out. Enough is kept in at the beginning to make it endearing. Later, Reed is the brains who, inexplicably, drunk calls Ben to tell him that he, definitely, needs to come on this non-sanctioned cross-dimensional voyage.

Yeah, about that... It was either the best idea or the dumbest idea this script had to make this movie's centerpiece event a result of a bunch of teenagers getting drunk and deciding it'd be cool to take the American flag to a whole other dimension as a 'fuck you' to their supervisors. They do this because an older and more mature official tells them they're going to send in military trained field-scientists to said other dimension instead of a bunch of inexperienced kids. Though, thinking about it, I would have done the exact same thing.

Then there's Kate Mara, who's another good idea but since so much was cut from this movie, the emotional tension developing at the beginning between Reed, Victor and her doesn't go anywhere. We can tell Victor had a thing for her but that doesn't really go anywhere until the end where he decides he never really liked her. Reed and Sue forget that they had boners for each other a year ago in the movie's timeline but that's not much of a complaint since a mercifully short ending is what this movie needed. She isn't really given much else to do. She's there to point out how out-of-touch Reed is from the rest of society, right? No wait, she's there to be one of the reasons why Victor is such a sad little shit. No that can't be it, she's there to remind her brother, Johnny, why he should be careful with his powers. No wait, that's the dad's job. Someone please tell me what she is there for. I guess maybe Fant3stic wouldn't have made much sense.

Well, I wan't to say Michael B. Jordan's Johnny Storm  was also a good idea but there's the issue of the car. You know? The car from the beginning of the movie? He had this old Toyota he claims to have built and he used it to drag race because fuck dad that's why. But then he runs it into a pole and Frank Storm punishes him by taking it away and making him work on the teleporter...

That's it, I give up. I started this review trying to give this movie the benefit of the fact that it didn't bore me as much as the first Thor did but I've just ended up typing to myself why this movie is a turd burger. I can tell this pile of shit was headed in a more inventive way with such a good cast but a lot of cliche filler dialogue was shoved into the script then at some point a bunch of nobodies probably gang-raped this movie into looking like this. It still isn't as lame as Thor though. I stand by that. Seriously, fuck Thor.