New di­rec­tion, same old story

Rutherglen Reformer - - REVIEWS - with Ian Bunt­ing

Fan­tas­tic Four (12A) Fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of SpiderMan, Bat­man and Su­per­man, it’s now time for Marvel’s “first fam­ily” to un­dergo the re­boot treat­ment.

Only eight years have passed since the crit­i­cally-panned Rise of the Sil­ver Surfer ended the pre­vi­ous at­tempt at start­ing a Fan­tas­tic Four fran­chise af­ter just two films.

Op­ti­mism for this res­ur­rec­tion started well when Josh Trank – fresh from ex­cel­lent found-footage su­per­hero flick Chron­i­cle – was an­nounced as di­rec­tor with prom­ises of im­prove­ments and a new di­rec­tion.

As time passed, though, con­tro­versy rose among fans of the comic book over some of the cast­ing de­ci­sions and talk of a trou­bled pro­duc­tion rum­bled on when no trail­ers sur­faced un­til a few months be­fore its re­lease date amid ru­mours Fox Stu­dios had or­dered re-shoots af­ter a fall-out with Trank.

Sadly, that dishar­mony plays out on screen as de­spite ev­ery ef­fort to make this the com­plete an­tithe­sis of the ear­lier Four movies – led by DayGlo colours turned down to muted blues and greys – the qual­ity re­mains about the same.

Trank con­trib­uted to the story, along with Si­mon Kin­berg (Sher­lock Holmes) and de­but scribe Jeremy Slater, and while strik­ing a more se­ri­ous tone than that set by Tim Story’s cheesy ad­ven­tures was un­der­stand­able, the trio suck all of the life – and fun – out of things.

The build-up, in­volv­ing the in­tro­duc­tion of soon-to-be-heroic quar­tet Reed Richards (Miles Teller), Johnny Storm (Michael B Jor­dan), Sue Storm (Kate Mara) and Jamie Bell (Ben Grimm) and re­luc­tant co­hort Vic­tor Von Doom (Toby Kebbell), is en­gag­ing enough early on but the prepa­ra­tion for their in­ter­di­men­sional travel drags on far too long.

It’s nearly an hour be­fore the not-so-Fan­tas­tic Four get their pow­ers and, rather than get­ting to cut loose, the gang are neutered and used as “tools” for the lazily-drawn evil US mil­i­tary.

Dur­ing pre-re­lease in­ter­views, Trank claimed he was inspired by David Cro­nen­berg-style body hor­ror for the char­ac­ters’ trans­for­ma­tions and he achieves his aim by show­ing the re­al­is­tic fears four young adults would feel when go­ing through such a trau­matic change.

The cast do their best with what they’ve got too. Teller strug­gles with the late hero­ics but he, Jor­dan and Mara are all very like­able. Kebbell brings de­cent men­ace, and his fu­tur­is­tic

Young he­roes (L-R) Teller, Mara and Bell pre­pare for ac­tion

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.