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The UnPopular Opinion: Fantastic Four (2015)

02.25.2016

THE UNPOPULAR OPINION is an ongoing column featuring different takes on films that either the writer HATED, but that the majority of film fans LOVED, or that the writer LOVED, but that most others LOATHED. We're hoping this column will promote constructive and geek fueled discussion. Enjoy!

****SOME SPOILERS ENSUE****

Word of mouth is a dangerous thing. To trust the opinion and tastes of others is a good starting point when it comes to picking and choosing movies, but to get washed away in vitriol and the opinions of others can often tank a film before it even has a chance. This column, for example, is my opinion and you are free to agree or disagree with it. It doesn't mean my taste in films sucks or that yours is the epitome of class, but it does allow me the unique opportunity to laud or condemn films that would otherwise be overlooked by many. Last year's FANTASTIC FOUR is a prime example of a film whose reputation preceeds it and helped aid the film in becoming one of the biggest bombs in recent memory. But, Josh Trank's Fantastic Four is an interesting failure in that it really isn't as bad as you may have been led to believe.

Make no mistake, I am not saying that FANTASTIC FOUR is without flaws because it has several. The entire final act of the film is something of a mess, which is what Josh Trank's rants about the film pertained to, but the bulk of the film is a well structured take on a very familiar story. The 2005 version of Marvel's First Family followed in the candy-colored footsteps of Sam Raimi's SPIDER-MAN films which felt too cartoony for most audiences. This new take reinvents the characters in a film that is very low on superheroics and very big on horror elements. It would be better to compare Trank's film to the works of David Cronenberg as this FANTASTIC FOUR is subject to a slew of transformations that would easily qualify as body horror. But, this is also a solemn exploration of science and the potential dark side of genius.

As we heap proclamations of brilliance on what Tim Miller and Ryan Reynolds delivered with DEADPOOL, we would be remiss to not laud FANTASTIC FOUR for examining the pathos of superheroes in a light very different than the X-MEN films or anything in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. WIth only the found footage film CHRONICLE to his credit, many were expecting big things from Josh Trank. When what he made didn't fit with the cookie cutter expectation for the FANTASTIC FOUR, both 20th Century Fox and Marvel themselves threw the filmmaker to the wolves. It remains one of the highest profile film disasters in recent memory, but the movie isn't that bad. In fact, after having watched the film several times, I actually regard it as one of the most intriguing and original superhero films in the entire genre.

Trank brings a very gritty aesthetic to FANTASTIC FOUR which may be the first thing to turn people off. He approached the project as if it were a low budget independent film rather than the spectacle superhero films have all become. This is a slowly paced film, but that is deliberate in nature. Like Ang Lee's HULK, FANTASTIC FOUR circumvents the traditional approach to adapting a comic book story by instead taking a dramatic deviation from what was expected. Like both Marvel and DC are apt to do, FANTASTIC FOUR feels more like a parallel take on the mainstream characters . If the title of this film had not been in any way related to a well known comic book property, I am convinced it would have fared better with fans and critics. At it's core, this is an interesting examination as to how real people would act in such unique and extraordinary circumstances.

The timeline of the film is very condensed. Starting with a prologue of Reed Richards as a child, the story quickly shifts to the development and creation of the portal to Planet Zero. There, Victor Von Doom is abandoned by his teammates while the rest return to Earth and deal with the horror of what their bodies have become. While the previous takes on the material have given the characters varying degrees of excitement and hesitation to their new powers, FANTASTIC FOUR makes these changes a curse and terrible burden. Even when Reed Richards escapes and leaves his friends behind to try and find a cure, the dynamic is shifted and forces the three others to turn on their leader. By giving the film a military aspect where the group is a government controlled task force, the idea of them being weapons rather than heroes is a fascinating twist.

The cast here is better than the material but they still deliver despite the cumbersome changes to the script. Miles Teller is a solid actor who was unfortunately compared to his role in WHIPLASH which many used as a way to trash his performance here. In fact, Teller does an admirable job of giving us what a young Reed Richards would have really been like if thrown into these circumstances. Michael B. Jordan is great as the bad boy Johnny Storm who gets to banter with his father and sister, Sue, which is an element we have not seen in many superhero films. I thoroughly enjoyed Jamie Bell's take on Hank Grimm but it is Toby Kebbell as Victor Von Doom who I wanted to see more of. Sure, this is not the megalomaniacal supervillain from the comics but this is a tortured man turned into a monster who should have stuck around for much more of the film than he did.

This is not the FANTASTIC FOUR we were expecting nor is it the best take on the source material, but this is by far the most daring and distinct adaptation of any Marvel or DC property to date. With each change from the source material, be it the Mandarin in IRON MAN 3 or the darkness of BATMAN V SUPERMAN, fans cry foul and decry the decisions of filmmakers and writers as being wrong or sacreligious to our beloved comics. But, the great thing about movies is that they don't all have to follow the same formula. I would love to see what Josh Trank's untainted version of FANTASTIC FOUR would have looked like as the laundry list of studio mandated changes are well known across the Internet. The original version sounds like it would have been even further from the Marvel source and that could have been a very good thing. Instead, we are left with this composite between the original and the reverant and it doesn't quite work the way it should. But, it is still an enjoyable alternative to what every other superhero movie is.

Oh, and if you have any suggestions for The UnPopular Opinion I’m always happy to hear them. You can send along an email to alexmaidy@joblo.com, spell it out below, slap it up on my wall in Movie Fan Central, or send me a private message via Movie Fan Central. Provide me with as many movie suggestions as you like, with any reasoning you'd care to share, and if I agree then you may one day see it featured in this very column!

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Source: JoBlo.com

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+0
2:42AM on 02/26/2016

I like it too!!!!

Thoroughly enjoyed the "horror" like aspects of this interpretation. The exploration of the harsh realities that would probably be experienced by characters "cursed" by these powers and the horrific expectations other humans would have of them was far more interesting than anything we've seen in this genre before. Reminded me of Dredd which I loved. It's too bad we won't see more F4 films with this cast. I think they could really build something great on what they have here.
Thoroughly enjoyed the "horror" like aspects of this interpretation. The exploration of the harsh realities that would probably be experienced by characters "cursed" by these powers and the horrific expectations other humans would have of them was far more interesting than anything we've seen in this genre before. Reminded me of Dredd which I loved. It's too bad we won't see more F4 films with this cast. I think they could really build something great on what they have here.
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12:11AM on 02/26/2016

TLDR dude like horrible FF4 and not Raimi's Spiderman

Nice try guy. This is a universally acclaimed TURD. You even had the gall to suggest that the money making Spidey's weren't to most peoples tastes (" Sam Raimi's SPIDER-MAN films which felt too cartoony for most audiences"). By most I think you meant hardly any as those movies have great reviews and made a ton of money. Perhaps you should watch a lot more movies and find something genuinely less appreciated that was actually decent. This reeks of I have nothing to write about, so I'll just pick
Nice try guy. This is a universally acclaimed TURD. You even had the gall to suggest that the money making Spidey's weren't to most peoples tastes (" Sam Raimi's SPIDER-MAN films which felt too cartoony for most audiences"). By most I think you meant hardly any as those movies have great reviews and made a ton of money. Perhaps you should watch a lot more movies and find something genuinely less appreciated that was actually decent. This reeks of I have nothing to write about, so I'll just pick a known turd and attempt to jack it.
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3:54PM on 02/25/2016
This is a truly UnPopular opinion, I think the consensus among those who have watched it according to Rotten Tomatoes has a critic score of a pathetic 9% and an audience score of 19%. So defending the movie as "not that bad" pits Alex Maidy against 81% of viewers, making this review a true UnPopular Opinion. Good job Alex Maidy.

Also, to note reading your review, I don't think you are saying Fantastic Four is good, just that it is not as bad as its reputation.
This is a truly UnPopular opinion, I think the consensus among those who have watched it according to Rotten Tomatoes has a critic score of a pathetic 9% and an audience score of 19%. So defending the movie as "not that bad" pits Alex Maidy against 81% of viewers, making this review a true UnPopular Opinion. Good job Alex Maidy.

Also, to note reading your review, I don't think you are saying Fantastic Four is good, just that it is not as bad as its reputation.
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2:48PM on 02/25/2016

Entire story sucked --

I just saw this on DVD, and WOW, had bad was this! Not a Marvel type of movie at all -- Don't blame actors or directors .... Blae the studio exe who greenlight the screenplay, and blame the writer ... he should know better! This story could work for any other title movie, except for FF4! Read a comic books, do your research, and then write the screenplay ... pan it around, and see what they say!
I just saw this on DVD, and WOW, had bad was this! Not a Marvel type of movie at all -- Don't blame actors or directors .... Blae the studio exe who greenlight the screenplay, and blame the writer ... he should know better! This story could work for any other title movie, except for FF4! Read a comic books, do your research, and then write the screenplay ... pan it around, and see what they say!
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1:46PM on 02/25/2016
If it looks like shit and smells like shit, it has to be this movie...
If it looks like shit and smells like shit, it has to be this movie...
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1:36PM on 02/25/2016
Yeah I passed on this at the cinema because I wasn't liking what I saw in trailers etc and ended up being glad I did. Morbid curiosity is the reason I eventually watched it and when I did I found it to be boring and uninteresting.
Yeah I passed on this at the cinema because I wasn't liking what I saw in trailers etc and ended up being glad I did. Morbid curiosity is the reason I eventually watched it and when I did I found it to be boring and uninteresting.
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9:59AM on 02/25/2016
I haven't seen it. So I cannot with any measure of knowledge defend or praise the work. I was turned off of the project long before it was released. People whom I know and who I trust who have seen it have said it wasn't good. But rather than have viewers decide on hearsay, I do value a thoughtful critique.
I am determined not to spend any money on this product, but if it comes to television for free, I MIGHT consider spending a little time to see if it is as bad as I expect.
I haven't seen it. So I cannot with any measure of knowledge defend or praise the work. I was turned off of the project long before it was released. People whom I know and who I trust who have seen it have said it wasn't good. But rather than have viewers decide on hearsay, I do value a thoughtful critique.
I am determined not to spend any money on this product, but if it comes to television for free, I MIGHT consider spending a little time to see if it is as bad as I expect.
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9:30AM on 02/25/2016

3/10.

The visual style (and marketing) suggested that it was going to be a dark adaptation. I was shocked while watching it because of the constant self-aware humour. It felt like it was meant to be a comedy with serious moments (like the MCU movies) instead of a drama. I assumed that it was because Josh Trank didn't understand the script, but the credits showed that he co-wrote it. Miles Teller, editors Elliot Greenberg & Stephen E. Rivkin and music composers Marco Beltrami & Phillip Glass were
The visual style (and marketing) suggested that it was going to be a dark adaptation. I was shocked while watching it because of the constant self-aware humour. It felt like it was meant to be a comedy with serious moments (like the MCU movies) instead of a drama. I assumed that it was because Josh Trank didn't understand the script, but the credits showed that he co-wrote it. Miles Teller, editors Elliot Greenberg & Stephen E. Rivkin and music composers Marco Beltrami & Phillip Glass were clearly as confused as I was. The way REED delivers some witty lines without a smile or a voice tone that suggests deadpan humour, the way a scene cuts to another after ending with a gag, the way the "We can make it" speech is surrounded by an inspiring melody (even though the characters are drunk), etc... I'm glad that it doesn't have any pseudo-philosophical monologues (like most Christopher Nolan copycats have), but it has a worse problem: The conversations SOUND deep when they really aren't. Even if the tone had been clear, it still wouldn't be a good movie. Kate Mara's performance is lifeless. The characters are underdeveloped and the final fight that isn't exciting nor creative. The plot may not be boring but it's very generic. Hell, it would've been generic in 2005. Speaking of, say what you want about the previous installments, but they didn't have the following problems:
1) The title characters interact with one another, but the 4 are rarely shown together.
2) It takes over an hour for VICTOR to become DR. DOOM.
3) There are very few locations.
4) The catch-phrases ("Flame on!" and "It's clover time!") are uttered as if they weren't cheesy.
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9:20AM on 02/25/2016
This was everything a Fantastic Four film SHOULDN'T be. Absolutely shit film in every aspect.
This was everything a Fantastic Four film SHOULDN'T be. Absolutely shit film in every aspect.
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9:26AM on 02/25/2016
I'm confused. You spent over a year bashing this movie and talking about how awful it was going to be...why did you watch it?
I'm confused. You spent over a year bashing this movie and talking about how awful it was going to be...why did you watch it?
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9:01AM on 02/25/2016

I can't get on board with this...

I really hope history doesn't soften up on this movie, b/c I can legitimately say there was not one redeeming quality. From the style it was shot in, to the obvious studio hackjob, to the mailed in performances, to the Thing's cgi, to the timeframe (the first scene looks like it's from the early 90s but should be in the 2000s, etc)

Only thing you can ever say positively about this movie is that the idea of the 4 waking up in terror rang true and was a cool idea... but it was about 9 seconds
I really hope history doesn't soften up on this movie, b/c I can legitimately say there was not one redeeming quality. From the style it was shot in, to the obvious studio hackjob, to the mailed in performances, to the Thing's cgi, to the timeframe (the first scene looks like it's from the early 90s but should be in the 2000s, etc)

Only thing you can ever say positively about this movie is that the idea of the 4 waking up in terror rang true and was a cool idea... but it was about 9 seconds of the "movie" that really isn't even a movie. movies don't have 50 page first acts, a weird time jump for act 2, and a 12 page 3rd act.
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8:26AM on 02/25/2016

Concur

I couldn't agree more. I enjoyed it so much more than i thought. didn't find it to be a relatively "good" movie but expectations were so low after reading reviews that i found myself enjoying it a bunch. I felt i couldn't even discuss my like for it with friends as i knew id be looked at like i love crap films since it seemed like no one would give it a chance. i think the idea was great, the first half had me... but the fails of doom and the second half just crushed the film like a black hole.
I couldn't agree more. I enjoyed it so much more than i thought. didn't find it to be a relatively "good" movie but expectations were so low after reading reviews that i found myself enjoying it a bunch. I felt i couldn't even discuss my like for it with friends as i knew id be looked at like i love crap films since it seemed like no one would give it a chance. i think the idea was great, the first half had me... but the fails of doom and the second half just crushed the film like a black hole. the original script would have been quite a fun and fine film. and i agree that if this "close to exact" movie was based on a C class group of marvel property then it would have been accepted by the masses. but..... it was F4, and the studio did cripple the second half, and they abused Doom as a property worse than the former F4's. but as a concept and take on the story line i thoroughly enjoyed it. i can't take another reboot of F4, but i do like this universe style so i hope with success of deadpool and the newly formed x-men universe they find a way to bring this version of F4 into that world and fast forward a few years of F4 as a team and come back for more. Keep the cast... they were the best part!
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9:12AM on 02/25/2016
If your friends look down on you for your taste in movies... Find new friends.
Everyone is allowed to love the odd crap movie, some people, like Mr Maidy, love them all.

Actually, Alex if you read this. How about Raise the Titanic for next weeks column, I've always had a soft spot for that disaster of a movie.
If your friends look down on you for your taste in movies... Find new friends.
Everyone is allowed to love the odd crap movie, some people, like Mr Maidy, love them all.

Actually, Alex if you read this. How about Raise the Titanic for next weeks column, I've always had a soft spot for that disaster of a movie.
7:32AM on 02/25/2016

This doesn't read much different from most reviews

Good at the start awful at the end. The reviewer clearly believes the movie is the sum of all its parts where most other people remain disappointed at a missed opportunity.
"this is by far the most daring and distinct adaptation of any Marvel or DC property to date"
Really?



Good at the start awful at the end. The reviewer clearly believes the movie is the sum of all its parts where most other people remain disappointed at a missed opportunity.
"this is by far the most daring and distinct adaptation of any Marvel or DC property to date"
Really?



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7:17AM on 02/25/2016
You can find the original script online, and it really would have been a cool movie if it was shot as written. The first half is nearly identical, but they clearly pared down its more ambitious scenes for budgetary reasons. It's sad just how much they screwed with it, because it really could have been something special. As it is, it's nowhere near as bad as people say. It's very, very flawed and the reek of studio interference is all over it, but it's not unwatchable. I think conjecture did
You can find the original script online, and it really would have been a cool movie if it was shot as written. The first half is nearly identical, but they clearly pared down its more ambitious scenes for budgetary reasons. It's sad just how much they screwed with it, because it really could have been something special. As it is, it's nowhere near as bad as people say. It's very, very flawed and the reek of studio interference is all over it, but it's not unwatchable. I think conjecture did more harm to its performance than the movie itself.
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3:56AM on 02/25/2016
Maybe it's my fault for not reading Ultimate Fantastic Four. The whole movie feels incomplete - as if it's missing something. It started off very promising but after the Time Gap the whole movie fell apart. Maybe it's the studio who's being too bossy or the director who didn't know how to direct. This new Fantastic Four could have been much better.
Maybe it's my fault for not reading Ultimate Fantastic Four. The whole movie feels incomplete - as if it's missing something. It started off very promising but after the Time Gap the whole movie fell apart. Maybe it's the studio who's being too bossy or the director who didn't know how to direct. This new Fantastic Four could have been much better.
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9:27AM on 02/25/2016
It's not your fault. No one should be forced to read the source material before watching the film adaptation.
It's not your fault. No one should be forced to read the source material before watching the film adaptation.
12:08PM on 02/25/2016
Thanks, man.
Thanks, man.
2:05AM on 02/25/2016

Akskier and the author

Make some good points, the movie starts off promising but loses it's way. The second half was a down slide, the final battle a bore, Doom a waste.
It wasn't as bad as it's made out to be, but it's not good. It had promise and failed.
Make some good points, the movie starts off promising but loses it's way. The second half was a down slide, the final battle a bore, Doom a waste.
It wasn't as bad as it's made out to be, but it's not good. It had promise and failed.
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3:21AM on 02/25/2016
Thanks for the shoutout man! And yeah, I absolutely agree with you. A pretty servicable movie until they did that "1year later" time jump. I was one of the few people who was cautiously optimistic of this one due to the cast/director (and some of the trailers were pretty cool), but in the long run it was a let down. Very interested in seeing Trank's original cut, with more action, the Fantasticar, a different ending, etc.
Thanks for the shoutout man! And yeah, I absolutely agree with you. A pretty servicable movie until they did that "1year later" time jump. I was one of the few people who was cautiously optimistic of this one due to the cast/director (and some of the trailers were pretty cool), but in the long run it was a let down. Very interested in seeing Trank's original cut, with more action, the Fantasticar, a different ending, etc.
1:47AM on 02/25/2016
What a surprise, Alex defending F4.
What a surprise, Alex defending F4.
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1:15AM on 02/25/2016

The cast here is better than the material...

Teller does an admirable job... Jordan is great... I thoroughly enjoyed Jamie Bell... and oh yeah, Kate Mara is in the movie.
Teller does an admirable job... Jordan is great... I thoroughly enjoyed Jamie Bell... and oh yeah, Kate Mara is in the movie.
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12:42AM on 02/25/2016

What??

This site has gone to hell. Alex has the nerve to compare this film to Cronenberg's work? This is insane. Since when has Joblo sucked Fox's dick? Fuck this article.
This site has gone to hell. Alex has the nerve to compare this film to Cronenberg's work? This is insane. Since when has Joblo sucked Fox's dick? Fuck this article.
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1:28AM on 02/25/2016
Did you see the movie? When they're first being experimented on (right before the movie starts to get shitty), the Cronenberg influence is terribly obvious. In my opinion, the second half of this movie is admittedly a pile of shit, but the first half (basically up until they do the 1 year time jump) is watchable, even pretty good at moments.
Did you see the movie? When they're first being experimented on (right before the movie starts to get shitty), the Cronenberg influence is terribly obvious. In my opinion, the second half of this movie is admittedly a pile of shit, but the first half (basically up until they do the 1 year time jump) is watchable, even pretty good at moments.
3:57AM on 02/25/2016
I totally agree with you, Akskier. It started off very promising but after that time gap it feels like the whole movie fell apart.
I totally agree with you, Akskier. It started off very promising but after that time gap it feels like the whole movie fell apart.
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