It’s not very often Marvel makes a movie that feels like a swing and a miss. This latest installment is not exactly a whiff. It’s more of a really deep fly to right just outside the foul pole… close but no cigar my friends. Movie studios tend to make these in threes so, they do have a few more pitches to look at. OK, enough baseball analogies.
This film felt like they were going through the motions. Making another super hero movie, yada, yada, yada. The whole thing was a bit uninspired. The Executive Producer was Stan the Man himself, but yet the back story was pretty much ripped asunder from the comic’s origin. Johnny and Sue were not adopted siblings in any version of the Four. They kind of merged Ultimate Fantastic Four and the Original 1960s version. Many liberties with the story arc were taken and since Stan Lee served at the top of the production, I guess it’s supposed to be all good.
One good rule of thumb for these types of movies is this: If you are going to chop up the story and piss off the fan-boys, you better make a f-ing great movie! JJ Abrams irritated the crap out of the “Trekkies”, but damn that 2009 movie was solid. So it kind of made up for the liberties taken with the story. This was no JJ’s Star Trek, however.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not screaming for movie ticket refund. This was a decent flick, it just fell well short of the expectation I have when Marvel is involved in a movie. In fairness, this was a 20th Century Fox movie since they own the rights. But again Stan Lee was Executive Producer. Marvel’s name and trademark opening animation still run at the start of the movie. You know, the guys that gave us Iron Man, The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy. 20th Century also did two great Fantastic Four movies in the 2000’s and several X-Men movies with some solid success. Now a studio wielding a resume like that conjures up some heavy expectations. This movie is kind of the Marvel equivalent to Ryan Leaf in the NFL. Yeah, I said it. Ryan Leaf was a great quarterback, he just couldn’t elevate that amazing college game to the pro-level. This movie had all the stuff it needed to succeed, there just wasn’t proper execution. Wow, I am really on a sports analogy fetish today 😉
Comic origins aside, this still could have been a much better film. The movie lacked the comic relief that has become such a big part of the success of the Marvel Universe films. The 2005 Fantastic Four movie had all that Marvel magic and frankly it just crushes this latest effort in every measurable way. That ’05 film remains firmly placed in the top 10 of my Super Hero Movie List. You might tire your middle finger working the mouse’s scroll wheel to find this film on the list. This one really didn’t have anything stand out. It was just kind of “meh”.
This movie didn’t even have the obligatory Stan Lee Cameo. Sure at one point there was Johnny calling off-screen to an unseen guy named “Stan”. Really? Come on. Many may say that since 20th Century Fox owns the movie rights to Fantastic Four, they don’t need to follow Marvel’s tendency to have Stan appear in cameos. But hey Marvel makes huge money on these things, so a little emulation could bring some extra box office cash. Oh and in case you forgot, one of Stan’s biggest cameos came in the 2005 Fantastic Four as the chatty mailman.
There were some “Easter eggs” and it pays homage to the comic stories in several scenes. Even the very last scene was practically taken right off the last page of the first Fantastic Four Comic in 1962.
Another notable miss is the also obligatory after credits bonus scene. Yes, that’s right, I rode the credits to bitter end and no such scene appeared. I do know that a guy named Edward Poveta was the Payroll Accountant for the production, and that’s good to know 😉
On a positive note: Reg E. Cathey plays Dr. Franklin Storm. The fan-boy base was a bit tweaked as he is part of the whole Johnny and Sue aren’t related issue. This guy however, is the bright light on the stage. He is the only actor I felt a connection to in this production. He doesn’t carry the whole film per se, he just brings a some much-needed gravitas to an otherwise bland cast. This movie’s biggest failing is probably the dialog. It may be the worst in Marvel silver-screen history. This movie won’t put you to sleep and won’t smell like a fart in an elevator, but if you are a Marvel fan you will not leave the theater with that Marvel movie buzz you may be accustomed to.
Now that Marvel is cranking out blockbusters and hauling in tanker-loads of box office cash, perhaps they need to buy the rights back to Spiderman, X-Men and Fantastic Four from Sony-Columbia and 20th Century Fox.
Here’s the updated chart, start scrolling 😉