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 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 Machinima 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 no problem with this. It really doesn't, in any way, make the slightest of a difference to me whether any of them were black, Hispanic, Asian or cool-aid purple- so long as the story is told in a way that isn't really terrible or unrecognisable to the original comics. Hell, I don't even care about that either. I think anyone blowing this race thing out of proportion has no argument, period. It was obvious from the get go the people that were talking about how bad the trailer was to me were idiots because upon taking time to look at the original trailer myself, I could see nothing wrong with it. But to these people everything  was wrong. Why? I think it stems from the fact that, in such a physically remote country, our whole american culture is force fed to us, so if the majority of our American counterparts say it looks bad, then it must be so..right? No.

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. I've still not reconfigured my old-fashioned mind to accept that, nowadays, the entertainment industry puts that much of an effort into making sure everyone knows a movie is coming out a million eons in advance. And holy shit did I find out when it was 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 somehow. You'd think this movie had gone back in time to inspire the holocaust 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 maybe something 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. The internet was sure let everyone know that 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. That movie is just one of those movies that is safe to play at any time of the day because it isn't good or edgy enough to warrant a thought-out time-slot and is only bad enough to serve as background noise or maybe put you to sleep.

This iteration sort of goes in that direction but the script, at least, has the foresight to try and make it interesting (keyword being 'try'). They changed the characters so they aren't forcibly corny or 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. We get it, he's the bad guy. Even my 13 year old brother, watching this movie with me, laughed at how daft that was. The only way to make it any hammier would be to make him a T.V. actor and have the character be the CEO of his own giant corporation. Ugh, I'm beginning to sound like I hate this movie which isn't what I set out to do.

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

Yes, the way they introduced Victor was ridiculous but he quickly builds into something of a blessing for the film. For one, he actually lays pretty low till around the one hour mark. That and the fact that he's the only one that we probably share feels with as movie goers. For the first 40 or so minutes of the movie it is almost as if he had watched this movie beforehand. His tiredness and shit attitude is acceptable in that regard. I'd be a shit sandwich too if I knew I was this movie's only real semblance to a bad guy. Now that I think about it, it was probably a stupid idea to put Doom in this movie. He really did deserve better treatment. He's a pop-cultural landmark that out-stages even the Fantastic Four themselves so I don't get what they were thinking when they decided to just have him fall into a pile of green shit and just hang out there for a year before they went back for him. It seems like, out of nowhere, comes his desire to destroy earth but, from the start, it was obvious he had very little respect for the human race. He sarcastically invites the idea of sending prisoners to the other dimension and raises his middle finger at the officials coming to see their project. This guy is totally me. I'm sure there are more scenes giving more credence to his character that were cut from this movie that don't just make him seem like a college nerd that listens to Arvo Part and read Michael Ruppert all night (*cough*). However, the editor probably thought it was a good idea to keep him as dormant as possible. He doesn't matter, he's just the main antagonist of this movie.

Wait, is he? No, it's the green shit on that planet... no wait, that's the mcguffin isn't it? The government are the bad guys because they just want to weaponise the Fantastic Four, right? I don't know. Dammit! Why wasn't this movie better edited?!

'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, undoubtedly (played here by Jamie Bell). He's big, ugly and depressed and rightfully so. Who wouldn't be if they looked like a giant 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. This script obviously had a lot of good ideas- 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 that bitch and he should probably just squash 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 I hate love stories anyway. The problem is that she isn't really given much else to do. She seems like she's sort of there to be a multitude of things the plot needs but isn't really. 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. I am fucking confused.

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.