Thursday, August 13, 2015

A Brief Comment on Fantastic Four (2015)

It's bad. Yeah, everyone is saying that (but not everyone), but what makes it bad? I'll sum up:
  1. The plot never stops setting up. Meet Reed! Meet Ben! Meet Sue! Meet Johnny! They build a teleporter! They use a teleporter! They get powers! The government exploits their powers! They build a new teleporter! Doom got powers! What's going to happen now? Oh, we beat Doom. The end.
  2. There's no sense of "family". They're a bunch of thinly-written characters who barely relate to each other. They never even work as a team until the very end. Part of the point of the comics was that the Fantastic Four expressed the idea that your "family" is a group of people with whom you have a shared experience. This never comes across in the film, and Sue never has their experience. If anything, the 'Four' in this film is Reed, Ben, Johnny and Doom. This leads me to:
  3. It's kind of sexist. Yeah, the old comics are sexist too, but so is this. Sue never goes to the other dimension until the very end. She gets her powers in a very arbitrary way. None of the men even think of bringing her along even though she was part of the team that built the teleporter, and it's never brought up that they didn't.
  4. They make exactly the same mistakes with Doom as in the 2005 film. He's attracted to Sue, so he fails as a reflection of their embrace of family: remember the classic line "Doom needs no one." Doom rejects the society of others because of his massive inferiority complex. In the film he also has superpowers. Thus instead of being a character who pursues power, he's simply a character who misuses power, making him just an arbitrarily evil version of the other main characters. There's no explanation for why he's that way.
  5. The film is grey, flat, boring and colourless.
This might have worked as a crappy sci-fi film about teleportation and body horror, but there was no need to waste the characters of the Fantastic Four on such a concept. Even an incredibly generic film where the Four got powers and Reed's old colleague Doom, now a power-hungry tyrant, attacked them because he thought they were the biggest obstacle to his taking over the world/becoming a god/whatever, and they had to defeat him, would have been better. I didn't mind that they made Johnny and Sue into more active characters in the plot, but they could have done a lot more with it. You'd be better off watching the 1994 one than this.

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