Fantastic Flop

The worst thing about Fantastic Four (or, more idiotically Fant4stic) isn’t the terrible CGI (which ranges between 10 years ago-bad and Sci-Fi channel bad), the nonsensical structure or the stop-start pacing, nor is it the ugly design (hope you’re a fan of grey!) or even the character arcs which end without resolution like the first episode of a dire TV series. No, instead Fant4stic’s biggest crime is that it squanders a truly engaging first act which, taken on its own, might be the freshest superhero origin story since Batman Begins. Each character is quickly and effectively sketched in a funny and heart-felt early section that really does impress. Then, the heroes become fantastic and everything goes wrong.

Pity Miles Teller, an actor coming off a genuine cinematic triumph in his intensely physical performance in Whiplash, who is saddled with half-hearted CGI stretchiness and the most unpleasant facial hair since the mid 1970s.

Lament Kate Mara, whose career may never recover from the double whammy of this and Transcendence and whose character exists only to float around in a blue bubble that could have come from a bad PS2 game.

“Fant4stic may be the greatest train-wreck of the decade so far”

Mourn for Jamie Bell, poor Jamie Bells who is left as a moping, killjoy rock monster who for some creepy reason, is unable to procure a pair of trousers.

Pray for Michael B. Jordan, who mumbles his character’s trademark “flame on” with such embarrassment that you can see his shame at being tied to this disaster.

The list goes on. In fact, the film’s second half manages somehow to sideline every single character, a feat so difficult that it’s almost impressive. Then it just ends. No plot lines are resolved, no characters come to terms with their selves and the climax consists of most of the heroes being firmly held down whilst the villain looks at them.

Fant4stic may be the greatest train-wreck of the decade so far -at least other failures have the decency to start terribly- let’s just hope audiences can forgive those involved so that they can put the whole sorry affair behind them.

Peter Brearley

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