|Dumbasses In Space!|
Before I go on, let me say this about the visual effects; primarily that they're bloody terrible. Good to great visual effects enhance the story and the environment the characters are in, as well as not call attention to itself. The effects in this movie look so cheap and stick out so much that it borders on insulting. Trank, in order to save money on the effects budget, went with an unknown effects company, Otoy, who specialize in developing complex 3D graphics and effects by moving it on the Cloud format. I don't have a problem going with this sort of technology, if you're making a smaller film, but this is a superhero movie. There's no excuse for shabby effects, especially when you're making a big budget film of this nature!
We cut to
They find Richards hiding out in Central America, where he and Grimm have a 30-second scuffle before the latter knocks out the former cold and takes him back to Area 57, because Roswell withheld the naming rights to the filmmakers. Did I mention that almost a hour into this movie, and that the fight between Mister Fantastic and The Thing is the first action sequence we've seen? Richards agrees to rebuild the portal, and trained soldiers voyage to the Negative Zone, only to find Victor, who has inexplicably survived, and is taken back to Earth for observation. If you guessed that this was all an elaborate ruse to return and exact revenge on the people who left him to die, you're completely on the nose!
1.) Why did he have to wait for Area 57 to build another portal to get him off-planet if he had the means to transport himself back this whole time?
2.) How the hell is that even possible?! Once he does open the portal from his end, and it does begin to suck up everything from the base of operations to trees and other items, The Negative Zone doesn't begin to flourish, or even change from it's Dark World-like setting. And
3.) Where the hell did this sudden transformation come from? I know he's evil, but please - elaborate, movie! Has he been harboring a deep animosity towards the human race for years? This feels extremely contrived, as if the writers didn't know ow to fully flesh out the primary antagonist, which really wouldn't surprise me if that were the case. At least with Michael Shannon's General Zod, you understood his position about being bred to protect Krypton and save his people, regardless of whatever means he needed to take to accomplish those ends. Here, Doom is just acting evil because the plot says so.
Reed, Sue, Johnny and Ben somehow follow Victor to the Negative Zone, despite taking the transporter with him when he escaped, and...you know what? I don't care at this point. The final showdown consists of dodgy visuals and an uninteresting confrontation because we know hardly anything about these characters, what motivates them and why they're trying to stop their former colleague from destroying the world, making the final battle a boring affair. The foursome defeat Doom, save the Earth from annihilation, and are given a base of operations by the government to continue their research. Yep - no oversight of any kind, just say yes to all of our demands!
If the ending to this review sounds rushed, it's because that's how the ending to Fantastic Four feels: rushed and in a hurry to salvage a shitty movie brought about by poor writing, atrocious dialogue, lazy characterization, and wooden acting by everyone involved. The young core of Teller, Jordan, Mara, Bell and Kebbell are all proven and capable of giving solid performances, but Kinberg and Trank give them little to work with. I get the director's approach - crafting a character-driven, gritty popcorn flick, but the execution is so poorly done that you can see just how in over his head Trank really was with the project. The visual effects look cheap and don't blend into the rest of the picture, the action scenes are just tedious and boring to look at, mostly because the film doesn't really give the actors room to play with their given abilities, and the overall look of the film, with it's brooding color palette, takes itself so damn seriously that there's not much fun or enjoyment to be had.
There's plenty of finger pointing about what went wrong with this reboot, with articles and articles discussing the film's troubled production timeline, ranging from how Trank himself acted unprofessional and openly hostile towards the crew, to how Fox hated the original cut and all-but booted him from reshoots and post-production, in addition how the studio allegedly changed the script before production began. How much of this bears truth is probably somewhere down the middle, but one thing can't be denied: it's perhaps the worst superhero movie since...well Fox's own X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Joel Schumacher's infamous Batman & Robin and a disjointed mess that makes me rethink some of my harsh criticisms hurled towards Terminator Genysis, namely that it was the worst summer movie I've seen and the worst movie I'd seen in 2015.
Zero stars out of ****