“Fantastic” Four

Today I went to the cinema to see a special advanced screening of Fantastic 4. This is another one of those movies based on a Marvel comic book, but not actually made by Marvel because Fox owns the rights and they don’t want Marvel to have them back. This is presumably because the bigwigs at Fox HATE decent comic book movies and so they keep making shit ones so that they retain the rights, thus preventing decent ones ever being made.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. As previously mentioned, Fantastic 4 is based on the comic book The Fantastic Four, which is over fifty years old, and tells the story of four people who travel to another dimension, gain superpowers and then try to save the world from various existential threats. The age of the comic means that if you’re the sort of person who likes superheroes, one of the following is true:

  1. You know how the characters got their powers and want to see them kicking some ass
  2. You don’t care how they got their powers, but you want to see them kicking some ass
  3. You’re aware they exist, but don’t know too much about them, although you suspect they’re not too dissimilar to other superhero teams, and you want to see them kicking some ass

Regardless of which one applies to you, you’re probably more interested in watching some awesome action scenes than you are watching slow paced origin stories which ultimately don’t really have an impact on the continued storyline, right? Well you’re in luck, because Fantastic 4 leaps straight into the action! Oh no. No wait a sec, that’s a lie. Fantastic 4 spends the majority of the film on a tedious origin story (mostly for Reed Richards and Ben Grimm), and then has a bit of a scrap at the end.

Why the FUCK do movie studios keep doing fucking origin stories? When I first read The Fantastic Four it was almost as old as my mother. The story had been going for years. I didn’t give a shit how the characters got their powers. They were superheroes kicking ass, and that’s all I cared about. When The Man With No Name drifts into town in For a Fistful of Dollars, we know nothing about him. By the end of the film, we still know next to nothing about him. All we’ve seen, all we know, all we NEED to know is what happens through the course of the movie. So fucking ditch the origins already. Most of them make no sense anyway.

At one point while talking about the teleporter Reed Richards built in his garage as a kid, Sue Storm tells Reed that he could have “overloaded the power and created a runaway reaction which would create a black hole and destroy the planet”. Later on in the movie when the villain Doctor Doom is teleporting matter into another dimension, Reed says that he’s “overloading the power to create a runaway reaction which will create a black hole and destroy the planet”. Like LITERALLY word for word what Sue told him earlier. Did nobody sit there and say “guys, that sounds pretty shit. Can we not just have him say ‘He’s trying to create a runaway reaction’? The audience will remember what that means, it was only like 20 minutes earlier in the film”?

And on the subject of Doctor Doom, that suit looks shit. In the comics, Doom is a brick shithouse skullfaced METAL GOD. In this film he’s an iPhone case cover. But looks aside, what the fuck did they do to doom’s character? Doom has always been a favourite villain of mine. He’s deeply philosophical, he’s hard as fuck, and he’s a sadistic bastard with a desperate need to prove that he is superior to EVERYTHING. In the film, he is given so little screen time that we see next to nothing of his character. Thankfully we do see him kill a LOT of people with ease, so when he did show up and finally start causing some death, I thought to myself, OK now we’re cooking. But alas…

Doom heads back to the alternate dimension and starts sucking the life out of planet earth, and the fantastic four follow him back to try and beat him. Now, it has been shown that Doom and kill someone instantly just by looking at them, but for some reason he decides not to do this to Reed, Sue, Johnny and Ben. Instead he just uses a bunch of rocks to easily hand them their asses (but not kill them for some reason). Then, predictably, Reed suggests that they have to work together, which they sort of do, and within five minutes they utterly destroy him. I mean that literally. Doctor Doom is UTTERLY DESTROYED. Like, ripped to his constituent molecules. Seriously.

Of course, you have to get up pretty early in the morning to fool me, so when they got back to Earth after the only action scene in the movie thus far, which lasted all of 10 minutes, I’m thinking, oh cool, I bet Doom’s reconstructed and followed them back, we’re gonna have a REAL fight on our hands now! But no. That’s literally it. Reed tells the army to fuck off and they give them a massive science research lab AND THAT’S THE END OF THE MOVIE.

I’m not making this up. The credits roll at this point.

I think my friend Jon accurately summed up the movie with his response to my question:

“Is there a bit after the credits?”

“Who gives a fuck?”

(there is no bit after the credits by the way. And I’d also recomnmend not watching the bit before the credits)

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