Film review of the adaptation of the Marvel comic characters, starring Miles Teller, Jamie Bell, Kate Mara and Miles B. Jordan and directed by Josh Trank.
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Director: Josh Trank. 20th Century Fox/Marvel et al. (12a).
Cast & credits
Producers: Gregory Goodman, Simon Kinberg, Robert Kulzer, Hutch Parker, Matthew Vaughan.
Writer: Simon Kinberg, Jeremy Slater, Josh Trank.
Camera: Matthew Jensen.
Music: Marco Beltrami.
Sets: Chris Seagers.
Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Miles B. Jordan, Jamie Bell, Toby Kebbell, Reg E. Cathey, Tim Blake Nelson.
A team of four young scientists working on a teleportation project to another dimension rich in energy are suddenly mutated when an energy burst hits them. The brilliant Reed Richards (Teller) finds his body has taken on elastic properties and he promptly runs away from the military who are interested in using the group as human combat weapons. He returns to help them rid the world of one of the group (Kebbell) who was left behind on the dimension and has sinced turned psychotic.
Marvel’s film arm recently released the titles of their next haul of movie adaptations, taking them up to 2020 and encompassing an incredible 28 pictures in total.
This is an exhausting production schedule for any studio to churn out, and I use the word churn deliberately as it might explain why they are opting for sequels, sequels to prequels, original productions of lesser known comic book characters (Ant Man anyone? Thought not) and remakes, of which Fantastic Four obviously is.
This version is released only 10 years after the first film starring Ioan Gruffud and Jessica Alba (eight, if you count it’s own sequel, Silver Surfer). Not that I’m accusing them of running out of decent ideas or scraping the bottom of a previously gold-plated barrell!
The present Fantastic Four has a bit less comic book and a bit more ‘seriousness’ than its forbear. It certainly feels as if a little more thought has been put into this version, despite the black-hole dialogue throughout. “There is no Victor…” Kebbell explains, “…only Doom”.
I half expected John Laurie, the perpetually dour Scottish private from Dad’s Army to crop up at anytime, but thankfully not everyone in this film is “doooooomed!” as the playing from this decidedly sexy and earnest group of actors lives up to what one would expect from a comic adaptation striving to take itself a little more seriously, particularly Teller, who more or less carries the film (an odd choice of casting, considering his less than superhero good looks and penchant for impressing in indie fare, such as the acclaimed Whiplash).
He also features in the most ridiculously saucy moment. Limbs at full stretch on the most uncomfortable of looking beds (US Army, take note: if you want to keep your special projects from escaping, give them a mattress, pillow and covers), with only a thin surgical sheet covering his dangly bits. With his legs splayed apart, there were giggles amongst the audience, probably thinking as I was: “Does his willy stretch like that, too…?”
The film has a slow-drawn out feel to it, matching the granite-splitting, baritone drawl of Cathey as Mara and Jordan’s Dad. It takes a full 50 minutes for the bad stuff to start happening, with the audience having to listen to a lot of the psuedo-scientific mumbo jumbo required for this sort of film, but the action is commendable for the second half of the picture.
Bang up to date with the social media references (selfies and Instagram), so it will help future film historian’s to date the film in decades to come.