How do you make a lazy, uninspired, and boring superhero film? You make your characters uninteresting, while also failing to develop them. You shoehorn in a villain that had absolutely no reason to be in the film, at any point, and could have easily been written out. You have a promising first act, a badly paced second act, and a horribly rushed third act, featuring a stupid climax and an even stupider ending. On top of that, you make the entire film unexciting, from the very first opening logo, to the close-on-title credits. You make the Josh Trank directed Fantastic Four.
Reed Richards (Miles Teller) is a scientific genius who somehow knew how to make a teleporter in his garage as a kid. Years later, with the help of his good friend Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell), their teleporter has gotten more and more developed, attracting the interest of Dr. Franklin Storm (Reg E. Chathey), who has been working on a teleportation program himself. He gives Reed a full scholarship to whatever school he is apparently in charge of. His adoptive daughter Sue (Kate Mara) also attends and works there, as did Victor von Doom (Toby Kebbell), who has a thing for Sue (or Susan, as he likes to call her) and agrees to come back to work on the teleportation project he started. Reed, Victor, Ben, and Dr. Storm’s son Johnny (Michael B. Jordan), try the teleporter for themselves, resulting in a very catastrophic situation. Soon enough, those that were affected by the teleportation and its explosion are being looked over by the government, and after some trials both on and off the field, they have to face a grave threat that could be the end of their world.
These threats, these trials, and these characters would all be so much more interesting if there was motivation and enthusiasm behind them. Without spelling it out, the main villain’s motivations are non-existent and the other characters seem to do things with little enthusiasm. You’d think teleportation would be cool and exciting, but Reed, the most excited guy in the room, seems to barely give a crap. In fact, no one in this film really cares about anything, especially Victor, who’s presence is pointless, so much so that if he had been written out of the film, the end result would be 90% the same. Also, these characters are supposed to be a family, or at least a team, but nowhere is there any comradery and there’s barely any family dysfunction, which are main components of the Fantastic Four.
I’m not sure whether I should blame the actors for anything, but I might as well, since they don’t help this film. Pretty much everyone (save for maybe Cathey) just doesn’t work like they should: Reed is uninteresting, Sue is barely a character, Johnny has few character traits, Ben has no character whatsoever, and Victor might as well be invisible. On top of that, some of the dialogue is so bad and boring, which when combined with phoned in acting, results in either something stupid or something silly. There’s a moment where Reed quickly explains that they have to stop the world from being destroyed, and it comes off as being both silly and stupid, and it lead me to wonder: What movie am I watching?
Another huge issue is the lack of excitement or fun in this movie. I could continue to say it’s boring, but I’m not sure if words can truly express how sleep inducing this film is. When has a superhero movie ever been sleep inducing? Well, having an unexciting montage certainly helps, as does the already mentioned boring characters and acting. But shouldn’t it be at least sort of exciting when they have their powers and do superhuman things? As it turns out, the opposite is true: These characters become even less interesting once they’re able to do things such as look silly by stretching limbs, be on fire, and create force fields. They don’t do anything besides complain, pretend to be concerned, or show that they can do superhuman things. And speaking of things, Ben, who is now a rock monstrosity, is also pretty unexciting; he not only whines and hates himself, but he also doesn’t do a whole lot besides take up space. Ben being an interesting character, showing how he has to deal with his situation, and actually exhibiting emotions of one whose life is forever changed would have helped, but sadly none of this occurs. Also, just as a quick note, the action in this film is not only minimal but lacking in excitement (a scene involving Reed and some soldiers lasts only one minute and ends laughably).
Now, to be fair, the film has some cool concepts, but they’re executed in such a way that implies the want to get things over with. Ironic, considering there’s no urgency throughout the film until the finale, which is in fact too urgent as it comes and goes as quickly as a badly written third act. I’m sure the film would have been at least a little bit better with a longer run time, but as it is, we have not-so developed characters, a villain that is completely one-dimensional, and bad pacing, featuring little to no action, no chemistry between characters, and moments that lack anything fantastic.