“Okay…that’s it?”: Thoughts on “Fantastic Four”

Fantastic Four

There has been a lot said about the newest Fantastic Four film.  Most of what has been said has been bad…real bad.  As in horrible bad.  And giving the history of the making of the film, there is no surprise that is the case.  The reviews that came out just prior to its release didn’t help it at all.  Even the trailers didn’t give the film much help, especially the initial teaser trailer.

But given all that, I went and saw it.  Because A) it’s a superhero film, B) I for the most part like superhero films, and C) I had a gift certificate for a free ticket.  So basically, I was going to see it for free.  I didn’t really have anything to lose, except losing one free ticket.

I will try and not spoil the film but I will share some of my thoughts here.  The main thought that I had as I walked out of the theater was what the title of this blog was.  “Okay…that’s it?”  It wasn’t bad, or at least I didn’t think it was bad.  Was it good?  No, it was not good.  So it was not good and it was not bad so it lands in okay.

There is a story there.  Unfortunately, it feels like a half finished film.  The visual effects are great.  The cast is great.  I thought that Miles Tellar, Michael B. Jordon, Kate Mara and Jamie Bell did a great job.  The Thing actually looks like The Thing.  There is a lot of potential there.

The problem is like I said, it feels like a half finished film.  There are several points of exposition that don’t really connect well (or in some cases at all).  There are several points in the film where there are time jumps (one point it jumps seven years, another one year) and that has the potential (especially the second one) to kinda throw things off.  It hits a lot of the beats of an origin story movie but at the same time feels like it misses some of the connections that weave through it.  Reed and Ben don’t feel like best friends (hurt by the time jump).  Not much is developed as far as showing the connection between Johnny and Sue (but at least there’s more shown there than with the friendship with Reed and Ben).

Then there is Victor Von Doom.  Yes, he is the villain of the film.  They kinda make that obvious even before he is shown on screen.  And the first scene he is on screen does give off the impression of the rumors of him being a computer hacker (but he isn’t any of the sort).  But even though he’s the villain of the film…he doesn’t really feel like a villain for a lot of the picture.  In fact, there’s a decent amount of time where after he’s introduced, he’s not even in the movie.  The real villain is the guy who chews gum a lot and either is a board member of the Baxter Institute or a government official (or both? It’s not really explained well or I missed it).  This guy basically uses The Thing (and tries to use Johnny) on military assignments while Sue and Franklin (Johnny and Sue’s father) try to find Reed.  And where’s Reed?  Reed goes into hiding after escaping from the government facility where the group was transported following the accident that gave them superpowers.  He basically pulls a Bruce Banner, which doesn’t make sense to me.  If anyone would pull the Bruce Banner and run away, it would be Ben Grimm.  But they went with Reed doing it.

Another kind of a pet peeve, New York City is pretty much non existent.  Aside from a few exterior shots early on in the movie, the city doesn’t play a part.  Which if you know the Fantastic Four (or for that matter most Marvel comics and films), NYC is almost like another character.  But it is relegated to almost a Stan Lee cameo (which by the way I blinked and missed his cameo cause I didn’t see it).

So I mentioned the title of this post is “Okay…that’s it?”  Well the ‘that’s it?’ part comes with the ending of the film.  Or I guess I should say the final third of the film.  The film kinda builds up and then all of a sudden you get to the end of the film and it’s over…and it almost seems to easy or that there should be more.  Now I say this knowing the film is 1 hour and 40 minutes.  And yet, I still felt like the final battle could’ve been longer or broken up into multiple parts or something.  It was kinda like a piece of chewing gum that had a decent flavor but the flavor was gone pretty quick and you left chewing and thinking “That’s it?”  That’s what the ending felt like to me.  It also suffered from the “Marvel Movie Syndrome” of how to deal with villains.

To sum up, Fantastic Four is not horrible.  It’s not bad.  On the flip side, it is not good.  It is not up to the standards that Marvel Studios puts out.  It’s unfortunate that Marvel Studios does not have the FF franchise.  Because I’m sure, they would do a better job with it.  I do think it’s worth seeing.  But I’d probably wait for a matinee or the dollar theater if you want to see it in the theater, otherwise you could wait until it comes out on DVD.  There’s potential there but I guarantee that Josh Trank will have nothing to do with the sequel…and that’s more that likely a good thing.

Advertisements

The 25th Anniversary Edition: Comic Books

It’s time once again for the Anniversary Edition.  This is a series where we highlight the 25th anniversary of some of our favorite things.  These include movies, TV shows, video games, comics and music that came out during the year of 1989, the last year of the decade of the 80s.  A lot of big things debuted or made a huge impact that year and so we will highlight some of those in this series.

We have previously looked at the year in music, video games, movies, and TV shows in 1989.  For the final article in this series, we now turn to the year in comics in 1989.  Compared to other years, 1989 wasn’t the biggest year in comics.  However, there were some important characters and issues that came out that year.

Several comic book issues that were first published in 1989 that were influential centered around Batman.  The first of these was a story published under the DC Secret Origins comic.  This was a series that featured the origins of their superheroes.  Sometimes they published trade paperback versions of the comic that featured original stories.  One such story was “The Man Who Falls”.  This was a retelling of the origin story of Bruce Wayne as Batman.  It was significant as it would later be the inspiration for the film Batman Begins.  Another huge Batman story that debuted in 1989 was the one shot comic Gotham by Gaslight.  This comic would eventually be the first in a series of comics known as Elseworlds.  This series focused on DC characters in different eras or timeframes.  This comic had the Dark Knight in the late 1800s and the main villain is Jack the Ripper.

themanwhofalls-264x390batman-gotham-by-gaslight-000

On the Marvel front, there were several crossover events.  They included Inferno, which had initially begun its run in October of previous year.  It mainly dealt with the X-Men and featured Madelyne Prior, who was best known as Scott Summers’ (aka Cyclops) first wife.  Another crossover event was “Acts of Vengeance”.  This crossover event centered more around the Avengers and the Fantastic Four but featured many other Marvel characters including the X-Men and Spider-Man.

250px-UncanX2401989 Acts of Vengeance 01

There were several comic book characters that made their debut in 1989.  Two characters are prominent in the comic world.  One of these characters is Tim Drake.  First appearing in Batman #436 in April, Drake would become the third Robin character (after Dick Grayson and Jason Todd).  The other is Jubilation Lee aka Jubilee.  She is a mutant who debuted in Uncanny X-Men #244 in May.  She gained prominence because she was one of the featured characters on the 1990s X-Men animated TV show.

_9388503_origJubilee

There are many other comics and characters that were featured in 1989.  Is there an issue or character not listed that you enjoy?  Leave a comment and share them here.  Thanks for joining us this month during our trip down memory lane.  We’ll be back next year around this time to look at the 25th anniversary of things that happened during 1990.  Until then, break out the comic books and enjoy some classic reading.