It’s that time of year again, while the kids are on holidays and the weather can’t make up its mind, the cinemas are offering their annual feast of explosions and lycra costumes. If Ant-Man is the most original of the comic book movie incarnations Hollywood can come up with, perhaps we should be glad that the summer’s proper big offering is yet another rehash of a film that has been made before.
Fantastic Four follows in the footsteps of The Amazing Spider-Man in being a remake of a remake that was made not long ago. This incarnation is of course the superhero origins story, setting us up for the franchise to come. Reed (Miles Teller) is a gifted science student, helped by his friend Ben (a very non-teenage-looking Jamie Bell). Picked out for a scholarship to the Baxter Institute for his creation of a machine that can teleport to another dimension, Reed meets Victor Von Doom (Toby Kebbell), who has tried to create the machine for years, and Susan (Kate Mara) who works with him. The lab’s son Johnny (Michael B Jordan) joins them and in order to ensure glory is theirs, they do the one thing typical of teenage male behaviour in the movie: they take the great, thrilling risk of teleporting themselves. Of course, things don’t go to plan, and they return with bizarre, unexplained abilities the authorities want to test and exploit.
Ironically for a movie that tries very hard to focus on character, the best parts of Fantastic Four are its typically blockbuster features: the CGI might not be wholly convincing, but the film comes into its own in the outstanding action sequences under the direction of enfant prodige Josh Trunk (Chronicle). This Marvel superheroes team has always struggled with comparison: it was only a decade ago the last franchise began, and there have been several great superhero movies since. The movie has its own weaknesses, however; the casting is odd, never making the most of an established actor like Bell, nor promising newcomer Jordan, and Teller’s Reed and Mara’s Susan are too bland to be interesting. It is very slow at times, and younger viewers may struggle to remain engaged before the exciting bits begin. It doesn’t help the disadvantage of not concentrating on hero alone, the character stories spread thin. However it’s good natured and will keep you entertained on a summer afternoon.
Fantastic Four is released nationwide on 6th August 2015.
Watch the trailer for Fantastic Four here: