Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Film Review: Fantastic Four

Is it the colossal train wreck everyone on the Internet says it is?


Is it good?


If Joss Whedon's Avengers movies taught us anything,  it's you have to  litter your movie with  action sequences. Seemingly every fifteen minutes the Avengers individually or together are pummeling someone or being pummeled.

Toward the end of The Fantastic Four, someone says, "He's going to create a black hole and destroy the world!" (there's a lot of clunky exposition in this film). I'm thinking, "What, it's the big finale already? There hasn't been any action sequences."

And this is true, it's a superhero movie with one action sequence.

Just one.

Come late because it's at the end.

Another thing we've learned from Whedon is, if you're making a superhero movie, you better have a sense of humor. Ant Man knew this, it was hilarious.

Fantastic Four, not so much.

The theater I saw this in just installed recliners. Instead of sitting on the edge of my seat, I was reclined the whole film.

This is a good opportunity to discuss organic storytelling: I believe an inherent problem with the Fantastic Four in movies is its lack of organic structure.

Let's go back in time a little. All-American Comics didn't create the Justice Society of America out of the blue. No, Flash had his own title, Hawkman was featured in his own stories in Flash Comics, Green Lantern had his solo stories in All-American Comics, Hourman, the Atom, Dr. Mid-Nite, Dr. Fate, all solo stars brought together in an All-Star team up.

Decades later this was repeated with the Justice League: Every member had his own title, or at least solo stories before forming the JLA.

Decades later Marvel had the genius idea of giving Iron Man, The Hulk and Captain America solo movies before getting them together. And after owning the DC line-up for 50 years, Warner Bros. is finally thinking, hey, let's do what Marvel is doing with our JLA film.

Now -- according to legend, the publishers of Marvel and DC comics were playing golf when the DC boss mentioned casually to the Marvel guy that DC's biggest seller was the Justice League. The Marvel guy then ordered Stan Lee to make a super-team title.

Hence the Fantastic Four. Assembled all at once, not from solo characters, just out of the blue.

This gives everyone who ever tried to make a Fantastic Four film a problem. He'd have to spend the first two-thirds of any film telling the origin of four different super heroes ... and Doctor Doom!

Richard Donner was somehow able to spend the first two acts of the first Superman film as origin story. The first act on Krypton, the second act in Smallville. Superman doesn't even show up until almost an hour into the film.

Yet, those first two thirds were exciting, and funny and emotional, and jaw-dropping and everything the first two-thirds of the Fantastic Four were not.

In closing. As long as Ant-Man and Age of Ultron and Mission Impossible are out there this summer, I really can't recommend Fantastic Four. Maybe wait til Marvel get the rights back and reboots it again.

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