Not Your Grandpa’s ‘Fantastic Four’

GameStop, Inc.

Hello true believers! The title says it all, this is not your grandpa’s Fantastic Four. However, it’s not as bad as those suffering from Geek Rage will believe. Yes, they are in college. Yes, they lit the black guy on fire and yes, The Thing has no pants, however 20th Century Fox was able to get a lot right in 100 minutes…they also got a lot wrong.

Writers Simon Kinberg, Jeremy Slater and Josh Trank were able to capture a lot of the core aspects within the dynamics of the relationships between the characters. They were able to create the egotism of Victor Von Doom (Toby Kebbell) and his jealousy of Reed Richards (Miles Teller), who completed his project. They were able to show the budding romance between Richards and Sue Storm (Kate Mara) as well as the lifelong friendship between Richards and Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell). They also captured the essence of Johnny Storm (Michael B. Jordan) and how the federal government would react to super powered beings.

The origin has changed, as well as the Baxter Building being transformed into the Baxter Institute. Instead of heading to the moon, which is an outdated concept, they discover an alternate dimension. It’s not the Negative Zone (not sure if Fox or Disney has the rights to that one), it’s called Planet Zero. Victor Von Doom does get transformed there and is given abilities that resemble more of a Dragon Ball character than anyone in the Marvel Universe.

We do get other Fanboyisms like The Thing screaming, “It’s Clobberin’ Time!” and other call backs to the comics without it being a comic book movie. There is just enough source material to go, “Okay, they admit it’s a comic,” without it being canonical. Reg E. Cathey played Dr. Franklin Storm quite well, but like most movies of the 1980s, the black guy always dies and must be avenged. Tim Blake Nelson is a great government lacky as Dr. Fantastic Four LabAllen especially in this darker setting.

This one does fit in better with the Bryan Singer X-Men Universe and will be a potentially good crossover, with or without the current cast. The real issues arise after they receive their powers as Teller, although a fine actor, isn’t very good in front of a green screen and it shows. Mara’s Sue Storm was far more hipster cool than scientist, but it works making her the real brains behind the bunch rather than the eye candy to the lacking super genius of Richards. We never quite get the rivalry between Johnny and Ben, but it is hinted at towards the end.

Is this truly a Fantastic Four movie? No. Is it a decent sci-fi flick that could be watched at least once? Yes. However, be prepared for a rushed fight scene with Dr. Doom at the end, that the director’s cut could easily rectify. This super hero movie is no where near as bad as X-Men: The Last Stand, Batman and Robin, Spider-Man 3 or The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Treat it as a stand-alone entity and erase the comics from your mindset for 100 minutes to just enjoy something that isn’t exactly like the book.

Fantastic Four opens nationwide Friday August 7, 2015. Give it a matinee viewing and if you go at it with an open mind, you won’t hate it, unless you want to Geek Rage, then go watch it at full price and really complain about how much it wasn’t like the book.

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