Released amidst a storm of media attention, did Josh Trank’s take on Marvel Comics’ Fantastic Four franchise crash and burn or rise like a phoenix from the ashes?…
The original story of the Fantastic Four should have been a gritty exploration of the protagonists’ background and explanation of how their powers were found. I say ‘should’ because it is hard to describe what actually took place without expletives. In reality Trank summed up all four characters social and emotional back-story within ten minutes, allocating each a scene with all the diversity of a child playing shapes and holes. For example, the hot tempered Human Torch (Michael B Jordan) had a three corner street race in daddy’s car before crashing, to be promptly told by Daddy Storm he wouldn’t get the car back unless he became an inter-dimensional astronaut… This bewildering level of infantile plot development continued throughout to the final five minute fight scene concluding the film. When the screen went to black and Josh Trank’s name appeared for once it seemed like a discredit, naming and shaming the person most responsible for the atrocity.
The cinematography and soundtrack were on par although nothing to get excited about, showing at least that the studio behind the film was competent. The filming locations that made the backdrop to the movie were exceedingly poor. Generic labs and numbers on screens that could have been pulled from any generic Sci-Fi video bank and the build up to Planet Zero was laughable as it turned out to be a planet of green goo pools, these appeared to be harmless when touched until Dr Doom was splashed by one and promptly dissolved. These appalling inconsistencies in the world, plot and characters ruled supreme for the whole film, while laughable at first the comedy wore off quickly.
Dialogue is something that can be the saviour of a film no matter how bad, one liners or an actor’s ad lib delivery can bring life to a dead script. In Fantastic Four it was more of a chemically bonded nail in the coffin. Culminating in an eye-watering moment like missing your mouth with a flaming tequila slammer as they banterously come up with their team name.
The actors themselves had a pretty raw deal, doing some research into the directing methods of Trank it seems they were literally even told when to blink. This was the kind of directing that brought Miles Teller, who played Mr Fantastic, chest to chest with the director at one point on set. For the most part the sources on set described Trank’s behaviour as erratic and elusive, choosing to shut himself in a tent throughout the shoots. Trank was also removed from his involvement with the new Star Wars films after an investigation into his behaviour on Fantastic Four.
In conclusion it is fair to say any audience is due a monetary and intellectual refund. It is also a blessing for the actors that their high calibre of performance has recently been displayed elsewhere, for example Teller’s stunning performance in Whiplash and Kate Mara in House of Cards.
Author: Joe, Bath Store