May 20, 2024

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Trank Delivers: Fantastic Four Is Better Than You’ve Heard. In Fact, It Is Pretty Darn Good (Spoiler Free)

Forget about losing the Star Wars standalone film.  Josh Trank’s next assignment will be directing Joey Tribbiani’s next Gonorrhea commercial based on  the 10% Rotten Tomatoes score that Fantastic Four is currently sporting.  But I gotta tell you.  It ain’t fair.  Fantastic Four is a smart movie that delivers something bold and fresh.  Find out why the critics missed the mark after the jump.

I’ll be honest.  Given the reviews, I was prepared to KILL this movie.  I even set up the outline of my article before I headed to the theater with the title “Fantastic FAIL! : or “Why the Fantastic Four Movie Sucked So Bad I Was Rooting For Doctor Doom!”  I even had my first “What I liked?” listed as “The running time was ONLY one hour and forty six minutes!  Sweet, merciful brevity.”  I just came home and deleted that skeleton article.  Let’s look at what worked.

What I Liked?

  • It was an excellent science fiction and horror flick.  The mood and tone were exceptional.  Josh Trank made a strong film that had a unique voice which should stand out among all the noise of the superhero genre.
  • The cast was perfect.  Jamie Bell nailed Ben Grimm (pre-transformation) and played him well in voice acting/motion capture.  Michael B Jordan was also a standout.
You get enough attention, Teller!
You get enough attention, Teller!
  • Reg E Cathy, always a solid actor, really brought some gravitas to the role as Sue and Johnny’s dad.
  • The things that annoyed me about the trailer (“maybe less” and the missed fist bumps) played much better in the film.  In fact, the “maybe less” line has NOTHING to do with the Thing landing.  Whoever cut that trailer was off their rocker.
  • The final scene, while on the brief side, was compelling.  Doom, once powered, made sense as a villain and was fun to watch him battle the FF.

What I Didn’t Like?

  • Instead of a short running time being a good thing, it could have used another 8-10 minutes.
  • – It had some of the typical origin story pacing.  There was a lot of build up and the fight at the end seemed to be a requirement rather than something Trank wanted to do.
  • There wasn’t a lot of action, overall, for that matter.  The characters don’t use their powers as much as a normal superhero film; not even for an origin story.  It was actually ok here because Trank was making a different kind of film.
  • I could see people who are diehard FF comic book fanboys being upset.  This is not a sunny, fun superhero movie.  Again…a different kind of film.
  •  Reed gives a rah-rah speech toward the end that was a bit cheesy, but that was a minor superhero trope that can be forgiven.  If there was a weak link in the Four, it was oddly Teller.  Still, I thought he was well cast.
Reed giving his speech
Reed giving his speech

Consensus:  I have never been this far off from a Rotten Tomatoes score and I am slightly uncomfortable.  Though I have always considered myself part of the 1%, this time I am firmly in the 10% with the critics that enjoyed this movie.  Fantastic Four is a fun and smart science fiction movie.

I give Fantastic Four 8 FOURS out of 10!