Warning: There are spoilers ahead!
“Fantastic Four” was a big disappointment at the weekend box office.
The 20th Century Fox reboot debuted to a weak $US26.2 million after poor critical and fan reviews.
While the superhero film had many flaws, perhaps the biggest problem with it was that it skipped over what should have been the best part: How will these four humans acclimate to their newfound powers once they get them?
About an hour into the film the four main characters gain superpowers from a mysterious energy source on a foreign planet.
If you know the bare minimum about the “Fantastic Four,” you know that Reed Richards (Miles Teller) will gain the ability to stretch his body in every which way. Sue Storm (Kate Mara) will be able to make herself invisible and create force fields to shield others. Her brother, Johnny Storm (Michael B. Jordan), will transform into a giant human torch who can make fireballs and fly. And Benn Grimm (Jamie Bell) will get turned into a giant rock-like creature with superhuman strength.
Of course, once one is endowed with such terrific powers, they have to grapple with them. And that would be interesting to watch in a movie, right? Unfortunately, we don’t get that.
Instead, we see the four hooked up to machines as the government tries to figure out what to do with them. Sue looks like she’s in a coma as she’s floating in and out of the visible colour spectrum, Johnny appears to be in endless pain set ablaze, Richards is having trouble preventing his body from stretching, and Grimm is just a pile of rocks which don’t look like any sort of human-like structure. In short, things look pretty terrifying for the gang.
Then, instead of showing how the four deal with the traumatising life event, the film jumps ahead a year.
The next time we see the group, everyone has mostly mastered the use of their “fantastic” powers. When they’re thrown together, they’re able to work as a cohesive unit without too many hiccups.
This is where it seems like there’s a giant gap in the film.
How did the four finally get a grip of their powers? When did Sue finally gain control of her invisibility? How did Johnny get used to turning into a giant scorching flame? What was Ben’s reaction when he learned he would be stuck as a giant pile of rocks for the rest of his life?
And not only that, but how great would it have been to see Johnny try flying for the first time or seeing Reed getting tangled in himself as a prisoner in an elastic body?
This is what you want to see in an origin movie trying to reintroduce Marvel’s first family to viewers.
There was such an opportunity to dive into how this accident altered these characters, yet nowhere in the film do we get a sense of what any of them is going through mentally. Instead, more time was fixed on a teleporter created by the four which ended up overshadowing most of the characters in the film.
After leaving the theatre, I didn’t feel like I knew more about these characters than I did going in. While the talent was fine, the characters themselves seemed mostly one-dimensional.
It was a huge missed opportunity in what had the potential to be one of the most enjoyable and important parts of a rather lacklustre superhero flick.
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