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re­leased 14 de­cem­Ber 2015 | 12 | Blu-ray/dVd

Di­rec­tor Josh Trank

Cast miles Teller, Kate mara,

michael B Jor­dan, Jamie Bell

If there’s one thing to ap­plaud about the lat­est at­tempt to put Marvel’s First Fam­ily on the big screen, it’s that you get the feel­ing Josh Trank really did want to try some­thing dif­fer­ent. It’s just that his stab at dark, gritty and real (or as real as you can go with a bloke of rock, a stretchy leader, a fly­ing fiery hot­head and a force­field­gen­er­at­ing liv­ing cloak­ing de­vice) comes across as drab, dour and ut­terly un­sat­is­fy­ing. While we weren’t in need of an­other overtly car­toony burst of silli­ness like the two Tim Story films, this ap­proach over­cor­rects the wrong way.

And there’s no get­ting away from the feel­ing that this one couldn’t sur­vive the muchre­ported be­hind-the-scenes wran­gling, with changes and com­pro­mises aplenty. How else do you ex­plain a plot that feels in­cred­i­bly slow and leaden to be­gin with, then lurches un­steadily to a rushed ac­tion cli­max that fea­tures a few sparse min­utes of the char­ac­ters us­ing their abil­i­ties?

While some of the cast do their best to gen­er­ate chem­istry, there’s a frus­trat­ing lack of con­vinc­ing bond­ing here, ex­cept in a few patches, largely sparked by Michael B Jor­dan’s abil­ity to liven up dull scenes as Johnny Storm and Jamie Bell’s com­mit­ment to the easy-go­ing role of Ben Grimm. And the less said about Toby Kebbell’s em­bar­rass­ing hack­er­turned-crys­talline-crack­pot version of Doc­tor Doom the bet­ter.

It’s a shame, as Trank showed real prom­ise with Chron­i­cle and as­sem­bled an able young cast, but noth­ing gels here and last-ditch at­tempts to fix the film only seem to have caused more prob­lems. The re­sult is a big-bud­get dis­as­ter, des­tined to be­come known as a text­book ex­am­ple of How Not To Re­boot A Fran­chise.

Ex­tras Buy the DVD and you get one fea­turette (19 min­utes); the Blu-ray adds three more (23 min­utes), plus con­cept art and a trailer. James White

“Hang on, I or­dered the fried chicken!”

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